First published, with photography, by T Magazine on 19 May 2016
The second edition of Photo London, the international photography fair launched last year, takes place at Somerset House this week. For the event, 85 galleries — including the city’s biggest homegrown institutions, and dozens from across Europe, Asia and America — are exhibiting old and new photography for sale. The show also includes the Discovery section, which showcases work from new and emerging galleries — as well as 50 satellite events taking place around the capital. Below, a handful of highlights at this year’s fair.
Subversive Portraits, From Russia
In the West Embankment Galleries at Somerset House, the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, presents a solo show by Sergey Chilikov, a key figure in the subversive “Sots Art” scene that emerged in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Chilikov’s “Provocation” series focused on liberating his subjects during the strict Brezhnev era by encouraging them to express themselves; the result is an intimate, uneasy glimpse into private lives.
A Recreation of the Masters
In the new book “Looking for the Masters in Ricardo’s Golden Shoes,” debuting at Photo London today, the photographer Catherine Balet and her collaborator Ricardo Martinez Paz have restaged iconic photographs to explore authorship and context, with Balet behind the camera and Martinez Paz stepping in as the subject. He appears in homages to Diane Arbus’s “A Young Man in Curlers at Home on West 20th Street,” Robert Doisneau’s “Picasso and the loaves” and Martin Parr’s “Luxury” series, among dozens more. It takes a second glance to spot the impostor, but Martinez Paz’s expressive face makes a lasting impact.
Perspectives on Old New York
In the fair’s Discovery section, Germany’s Hardhitta Gallery stands out with a selection of artists who share an interest in New York. Arlene Gottfried’s black and white 1970s snapshots concentrate on a diverse array of the city’s inhabitants. One image captures a nude Jewish bodybuilder posing next to a fully dressed Hasid on the beach at Coney Island. Also on view are two vivid pictures of life in 1980s Spanish Harlem, taken by the documentary photographer Joseph Rodriguez.
Martin Parr’s Real Food Van
To mark the publication of “Real Food,” a collection of Parr’s images of garish meals, Phaidon is collaborating with the Art of Dining, a company run by the chef Ellen Parr (the photographer’s daughter) and the set designer Alice Hodge, who have carved out a reputation for hosting creative culinary events in London. The Real Food Van, parked on the River Terrace of Somerset House, is serving food — such as Glasgow’s meat pies and Toronto’s lamb-shaped cookies — all inspired by the book.
Wolfgang Tillmans’s Political Statement
The most overtly political work at the fair is “Between Bridges,” an installation from the German artist Wolfgang Tillmans, which serves as a one-man campaign in favor of Britain remaining in the European Union. The U.K.-based Tillmans has designed 26 posters with slogans such as “We are the European family” and “Rupert Murdoch can buy the British government. But not a union of 28 countries,” which he is encouraging the public to share and distribute.
Photo London runs May 19-22 at Somerset House, London, photolondon.org.