The Barbican Art Gallery present the first major UK solo exhibition of British contemporary photographer Vanessa Winship. The acclaimed photographer was the recipient of the prestigious Henri Cartier-Bresson Award in 2011 and this exhibition features over 150 photographs by Winship, many of which have never been seen before in the UK, as well as a collection of unseen archival material.
Vanessa Winship lived and worked in the region of the Balkans, Turkey and the Caucasus for more than a decade exploring ideas around concepts of borders, land, memory, identity and history.
Her two major series Imagined States and Desires: A Balkan Journey (1999–2003) and Black Sea: Between Chronicle and Fiction (2002–2006) explored some of her concepts on the frontiers of Eastern Europe. Many of these areas were coming to terms with the fall of the communist states and conflicts alongside ethnic and political lines. Winship often shows that these major transitions have a considerable impact on individual’s identity and their relationship with the local landscapes.
Another series, Sweet Nothings (2007) show portraits of school girls from Turkey, Winship’s formal portraits draws the attention to the the affectionate messages or ‘sweet nothings’ which are embroidered on their lace collar or bodice of their uniforms.
Winship’s award of Henri Cartier-Bresson Award in 2011 which enabled her to undertake a new photographic series in the United States. She dances on Jackson (2011–2012) is a series photographs made at the time of economic recession and decline of many American industries. In similar ways to the Balkan series, these pictures show how individuals come with economic and political decline.
A similar theme is illustrated in the series Humber (2010) in which the photographer explores the area close to where she was born.
Winship goes back to Eastern Europe with her series Georgia: Seeds Carried by the Wind (2008–2010), Winship finds a country where the people are struggling to come to terms with the post-Soviet economic collapse.
To coincide with the exhibition, Winship has conceived a new photographic series, And Time Folds (2014-ongoing) which includes a number of objects and represent something of a departure from previous series.
This interesting and thought provoking exhibition explores the often the fragile nature of individual’s relationships with their landscape and wider society. Winship illustrates how much we are tied to our collective and individual histories and how conflict and ideological changes can lead to severe strains on our identities.
Vanessa Winship: And Time Folds runs at the same time as the Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing exhibition.
A ticket gains entry to both exhibitions.
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended
For more information , visit the Barbican website here
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