Mexican photographer Roberta Marroquín Doria has created some outstanding work including series of photos which play with long exposures and lighting.
Oleg Videnin takes wonderful portraits of Russian people in the tradition of the great early to mid 20th century photographers. It is a shame though that the work on his site can only be viewed at such a small size.
Sara Salahub takes beautiful photographs of desolate landscapes, abandoned factories and derelict buildings. Her work is haunted by an absence of life and yet there is something vibrant and living within the photos.
The story of the Vorticists is an interesting one. A British art movement in the early years of the 20th Century, founded by Wyndham Lewis and named by Ezra Pound, as an alternative to Futurism and Cubism. It only lasted four years. With the onset of the First World War the movement floundered. Key artists in the movement went to fight in the war. Some, such as Gaudier-Brzeska, were killed on the front lines. Others returned, changed and traumatised, to find their work had been destroyed. The movement had aimed to idolise the machine but when that machine became a tool for mass slaughter in the war “idolisation of the machine seemed hopelessly naïve”
Jacob Epstein – Rock Drill
Unfortunately I found the back story more interesting than the art on display at the Tate’s current exhibition. The best two pieces of art come early – Rock Drill by Jacob Epstein (the piece on display is actually a resin recast in the 1970s) – a large sculpture of a man in a welders mask with a drill but such that they are one and the same machine; and Gaudier-Brzeska – Heiratic Head of Ezra Pound – on one side a sculpture of the head of Ezra Pound, and on the other a phallus. Later in the exhibition I liked Alvin Coburn’s photographs (or vortographs) of Pound. But apart from that I found the exhibition repetitive. Much is made of the movement’s publication “Blast”. It may have been shocking and challenging on publication (only two editions were published) but nearly 100 years later it was hard to see what the excitement was about.
Alvin Coburn - Vortograph of Ezra Pound, 1917
From this exhibition I failed to understand the movement. To my untrained eye there was little to distinguish it from futurism and cubism. I felt little from the art other than coldness (maybe that’s the point) and I was left feeling that Vorticism was nothing more that strong branding hiding a rather weak product.