Photo50: Gravitas, curated by Christiane Monarchi

18 – 22 January 2017

London Art Fair, Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, London N1 0QH

Featuring the work of Madison Blackwood, Bronte Cordes, Sian Davey, Sophie Green, Frances KearneyBaptiste Lignel, Anthony Luvera, Melanie Manchot, Wendy McMurdo, Yvette Monahan, Spencer Murphy, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, and Abbie Trayler-Smith.

‘Gravitas’ refers to one of the core personal virtues taken by ancient Roman society as an important part of the expression of a purposeful life, a facet of the ideal and well-rounded citizen. It denoted depth as well as a seriousness and solemnity of character. The presence of gravitas signalled the transition of the Roman youth from the ranks of boyhood to become a respected member of society.

Artistic representation of the interior world of children and adolescents as they enter the adult world is fraught with challenges: not least the existence of taboos regarding the portrayal of children in the media under the age of consent. However, at a time when childhood itself comes under increasing pressure from society in many real and virtual arenas, the path through adolescence constitutes a fascinating journey worth illuminating for both artistic and sociological discourse.

As the gap between childhood and maturity fills with lived experience and memory, how (and when) does the adult present him/herself today? What are the guiding virtues for today’s children, for their emotional well-being, expression of self and play? How does the adolescent identity evolve within and navigate contemporary society’s mixed bouquet of tradition and counterculture? These questions may have multifaceted answers shadowed by their own rapid obsolescence. They provide a window into the world of adults-in-waiting, whose virtues and vices can appear as timeless as the lens-based image and its prosthetic imaginary, which freezes these fleeting moments in their development.

Christiane Monarchi