1+1=3, Collaboration in Recent British Portraiture, curated by Susan Bright
20 April to 26 May 2007
Featuring the work of Emma Critchley, Anna Fox, Sara Haq, Paul Jeff, Wiebke Leister, Anthony Luvera, Melanie Manchot, and Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin.
‘This exhibition takes as its foundation the nature of collaboration. What exactly does collaboration mean and how does it manifest itself? Does collaboration really mean equal partners as one might originally presume or are the delicate power balances inherent in portraiture still very much at play? All of the artists represented in this group exhibition question what the term means and undertake collaborative work in a variety of ways. A collaboration is often seen as a working arrangement between an artist and another person, group or institution. Present throughout art history, collaborations are considered unusual today when artists tend to be valued for their individual voice and contribution to society. Some artists form long-term working partner ships with other artists—these are seen as distinct from collaborations which are often temporary.All the work here can be defined under the genre of portraiture – be that of one person, a group or a society. Laden with ambiguity and uncertainty, the portrait is perhaps the most complex area of artistic practice. Used by contemporary artists to explore issues of identity, national, personal or sexual, it has moved away from its commercial roots to become a powerful encounter of exchanges between artist, sitter and spectator. Motivations and desires are never really clear, and relationships and reactions to a portrait can vary enormously. To one they can be exploitative, engaging, ethically uncertain, and to another tender, informed and noble. These tensions make it one of the most compelling of artistic genres and also one of the most popular.The ambiguities of portraiture and the rigour of a collaborative approach are highlighted in this exhibition. Bringing together some of the most exciting artists and photographers working in Britain today this show does not aim to be a definitive survey of contemporary portraiture but more a cross section of diverse photographic strategies and processes which offer insight into the complexities of photographing the human figure.’