To celebrate Photo London’s fifth edition and with the generous support of the Royal Photographic Society and Sea Containers London, this year’s Pavilion Commissions programme takes the theme of Women in Photography. It celebrates the work of three very different women photographers – Susan Meiselas, Mary McCartney and Rachel Louise Brown.
Susan Meiselas presents her most recent work, A Room of Their Own which explores the lives of Black Country women who are survivors of domestic abuse.
Mary McCartney presents unseen work from her seminal series Off Pointe – A Photographic Study of the Royal Ballet After Hours, which captures ballet dancers in unguarded, behind-the-scenes moments as they prepare for performances at The Royal Opera House.
Sea Containers London presents Simulations by Rachel Louise Brown, a body of work created over a four year residency at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre, Florida.
Somerset House will be playing host to over 100 galleries during Photo London 2019.
While there are fantastic photographers aplenty at the fair, I recommend visiting these two photography exhibitions that will be on in London at the same time.
My first thought on seeing this photograph by Paul Thompson is it resembled a lampshade. However, it’s proximity to the water made me think it could be an art installation – neither proved to be correct. For those who spend some time on the seas they will recognise these objects as navigational markers and Thompson has gone round snapping them for his exhibition at Wren London – a young photography gallery in East London.
As well as acting as a gateway to a world most of us won’t know about, there’s something timeless about these sentries looking out towards open water. Only activated by passing ships these objects have a timely resonance with Brits as they mark out the edges of the island at a time when Britain is becoming more politically isolated from its neighbours across the water.
To simply categorise Jane Ward’s artworks at Bearspace gallery in Deptford as photography is to do them a disservice. The works start off as digital photographs that Ward then breaks apart into tiny elements and then digitally collages back together to create fantastical cities and landscapes, with a touch of editing by hand as well.
The result is cities and mountains that invert and fold in on themselves. In these Inception-esque worlds it feels like the rules of physics break down and we could walk up walls if we wanted to.
Masterpiece London will bring together some of the finest artists, whether their craft is fine art, jewellery, furniture or design.
While up in Oxford, an exhibition will be questioning the very role of the artist, what it means to be an artist and what future awaits artists. Ai-Da, the world’s first humanoid Artificial Intelligence (AI) artist, will be unveiling her artworks in an exhibition at St. John’s College.
Can AI can be an artist?
It raises the question of whether an AI can be an artist. Nobody asks whether a camera is an artist, as it’s the photographer who is the visionary and the camera merely a tool. Is Ai-Da any different, and should the coders behind it be the ones classified as the artist?
Is Ai-Da’s ‘inspiration’ any different from the processes on our smart phone that sharpens up our images or is it similar to how our brains work – and what’s the difference between all three?
Does giving Ai-Da a human face and arms make it/her more identifiable as an artist than a rack of servers would be? Can a person ever feel an emotional attachment to a work when it’s known that a human didn’t create it, but something humanoid did? Will our homes eventually be adorned with work created by machines?
These are all important philosophical questions that this exhibition won’t answer, but it can act as the trigger for us all to give further thought to the role of AI in the creation of art. If Hollywood is to be believed, we may be looking at our future masters.
Masterpiece London | 27 June – 03 July 2019 | The Royal Hospital Chelsea becomes the meeting point of creatives and collectors during Masterpiece London.