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Exhibition Review : Performing for the Camera at Tate Modern – 18th February to 12th June 2016

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Tate Modern explores the relationship between photography and performance in their exhibition, Performing for the Camera.

Since the invention of photography in the 19th century, the genre has been concerned with showing art and performance, the exhibition brings together over 500 images spanning 150 years which document  performance works such as Yves Klein’s Anthropometrie de l’epoque blue 1960, a live painting event using the bodies of naked women, as well as key 60s performances by Yayoi Kusama, Marta Minujín and Niki de Saint Phalle.

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Some of the earliest works in the exhibition look at the way that photography began to used showing famous performers acting out their characters from the stage. Photographs from Nadar’s studio in 19th century Paris show the famous mime artist Charles Deburau acting out poses as the character ‘Pierrot’ and famous actress Sarah Bernhardt in a series of roles.

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Later works drawing on this same idea include Harry Shunk and Janos Kender with their photographs of dancer, Merce Cunningham in 1964. Eikoh Hosoe’s Kamataichi, a collaboration with the choreographer and founder of the Butoh movement Tatsumi Hijikata in 1969 is one of the first to have given equal authorial credit to the performing subject and the photographer.

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Ideas of self-identity are explored through works by Claude Cahun, Man Ray and Cindy Sherman, as well as projects like Samuel Fosso’s African Spirits 2008 where the artist photographs himself in the guise of iconic figures. The exhibition also looks at the ways that portraiture has been used by photographers like Lee Friedlander, Masahisa Fukase and Hannah Wilke.

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Marketing and self promotion have always played a major part in photography and recent masters of the form, artists Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol illustrate how identity can be formed and distorted for a particular event.

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In many ways, most of the exhibition illustrates the photographer and the photographed as two separate entities, however, the modern world of social media and selfies offers the subject as photographer which raises a series of questions about the lines between photography and performance. A recent work staged on Instagram by Amalia Ulman illustrates the ways that people are using their poses for photographs to seemingly find ways of validating their identity.

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Performing for the Camera is an interesting and thought-provoking exhibition that explores the relationship between photography and performance. From the earliest days of photography, there seems to have been an element of performing for the camera. Over the last 150 years, this performance has led to a wide range of applications from serious performances to more informal humour and improvisation. The exhibition provides of plenty of evidence that photography’s influence has grown considerably till it has now become a constant presence in the lives of millions, many now recording their own and others performances each day.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Performing for the Camera

Tate Modern: Exhibition

18 February – 12 June 2016

Adult £16.00 (without donation £14.50)

Concession £14.00 (without donation £12.70)

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the Tate Modern website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Exhibition Review : The World Goes Pop at the Tate Modern – 17th September 2015 to 24th January 2016

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The World Goes Pop exhibition at Tate Modern reveals how artists around the world engaged with the spirit of Pop art, from Latin America to Asia, and from Europe to the Middle East. Around 160 works from the 1960s and 1970s are brought together at Tate Modern, the great majority of which have never been shown in the UK before. The exhibition considers Pop art as a global phenomenon rather than just an Anglo-American phenomenon dominated by artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

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The exhibition also reveals the role of Pop art in the many protest movements that developed in the 1960s and 1970s. Whilst the predominately American consumerism was celebrated by some artists, others chose to subvert the medium to challenge what they saw as American cultural imperialism.

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Walking into the exhibition was a reminder that colour and image was a transforming part of the era, the grey drabness of the 1950s in many countries made way for a colour explosion in a cultural revolution that began to challenge many of the old orthodoxies. Pop art played its part in this revolution by providing visual messages to appeal to the mainly disaffected youth.

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In the exhibition, the Austrian Kiki Kogelnik’s anti-war sculpture Bombs in Love 1962, and the commercial logos of Boris Bućan in Croatia are clear examples.

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Some artists such as Joe Tilson reproduced some of the radical magazines of the time as art, however some of the messages were more subtle, Ushio Shinohara’s Doll Festival looks to the past using for inspiration old Japanese woodblock prints.

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Women began to challenge some of the gender perceptions in the wider society especially the idealised female body, artists like Brazilian Anna María Maiolino, Slovakia’s Jana Želibská and Argentina’s Delia Cancela all tried to distort this perception as did Evelyne Axell, Eulàlia Grau, Nicola L, Marta Minujin and Martha Rosler.

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The exhibition illustrates that this period was largely a bi polar world with the great ideologies of capitalism and communism carrying out the constant struggle for hearts and minds. Pop art played its part in this ideological struggle, whereas many of the American Pop icons were individuals like  Marilyn and Elvis,  other artists were more drawn to the power of the collective to demand change. Icelandic artist Erró’s American Interiors 1968 showed crowds of Chinese workers invading domestic Western scenes, while Brazilian Claudio Tozzi’s Multitude 1968 and Spanish-based Equipo Crónica’s Concentration or Quantity Becomes Quality 1966 show the power of the crowd.

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This exhibition is visually stunning and provides evidence that many of the artists featured have been largely ignored by mainstream art history. Pop art was part of a period of tremendous energy and conflict, the different strands developed locally often as a response to the perceived hegemony of American consumer culture.  It is these local responses that are the main focus of this intriguing and enjoyable exhibition.

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For people born after this period, it is difficult to imagine that mass marketing of commercial brands and the power of advertising we are all familiar with, did not really exist in the same way before the 1960s. The dominance of Television as a mass communication tool only reached its potential in this period and many people viewed the technology negatively as a brain washing tool of the masses. One of the particularly interesting part of the exhibition is to see how artists behind the Iron Curtain were assimilating the messages of the West and creating their own responses even under considerable censorship.

Visiting London Guide Rating  – Highly Recommended

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the Tate Modern website here

The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop
17 September 2015 – 24 January 2016
Tate Modern, The Eyal Ofer Galleries, Level 3
Open daily 10.00 – 18.00 and until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday

Adult £16.00 (without donation £14.50)
Concession £14.00 (without donation £12.70)
Under 12s go free (up to four per parent or guardian)

 London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here