Sunday, 19 May 2013

Private View of Estuary at Museum of London Docklands

Earlier last week I received an invitation to be at the private view of this new exhibition opening at the Museum of London Docklands.  The opening of the exhibition was scheduled to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the opening of this museum.

The party was indeed a tremendous affair with a tremendous variety of food, clearly themed to reflect the Estuary, and plenty of wine.  Finally, after a speech by Sharon Ament, Director, the doors to the exhibition were opened and we were invited inside to view.

The exhibition is very much multi-media, with artwork alongside film, Photogravures, slide projections and photographic prints on paper.

12 artists were invited to participate:

Thames FilmWilliam Raban
Seafort ProjectStephen Turner
Thames Painting: The Estuary and Study for The Estuary, Michael Andrews
Purfleet: from Dracula’s Garden and Dagenham, Jock McFadyen
Horizon (Five Pounds a Belgian)John Smith
Southend Pier 2011, from the series Pierdom, Simon Roberts
MedwayChristiane Baumgartner
51º 29′.9″ North – 0º11′ East, Rainham BargesBow Gamelan Ensemble
The Golden TideGayle Chong Kwan
JauntAndrew Kötting
Thames GatewayPeter Marshall
Portrait of a River, 2013 Nikolaj Larsen

I have always been very much captivated by the forts which had been constructed at the mouth of the Thames Estuary and these are featured in two of the exhibits, by William Raban and Stephen Turner.  I have included below a still from the film Thames Film by William Raban.

Stephen Turner creates a documentary using two slide projectors, based on his experience in living alone on the derelict searchlight tower of the Shivering Sands Seafort for 36 days.  This was certainly a great example of how to construct such a documentary.  I will have to go back to it to view it without the hubbub of the reception guests!  It certainly was not a comfortable stay, with extensive leaks needing to be repaired with plastic sheet and gaffa tape.  Below is one of the stills from the presentation.

In this shot, Stephen Turner has captured one of the towers in, I think, evening light, giving it a tremendous glow.  This is very different from the Black & White still, above, which is shot under overcast skies.

Gayle Chong Kwan brought a very unusual installation of perhaps 50-60 photographs to the exhibition.  She photographed the various flotsam which was washed up on the river's shoreline which included rusting hairbands, toys, the ubiquitous shopping trolley and, according to the exhibition guide, cocaine wrappers, referring to all of this as the Golden Tide.  More can be seen by following below, but I have included a typical image here.

Her installation was originally commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella to mark the Charles Dickens bicentenary in 2012.  As she took these photographs she uploaded them to Instagram and applied various filters to create an analogue look.  I am not certain whether this look adds to the individual and to the whole, but it does give a uniformity and an aged feel to the images.  She certainly transforms the mundane into something meaningful, individually the images do not do much, but as a whole viewed on a wall, they do provide a powerful message.  She is certainly a photographer who has aroused my interest and I need to follow up by researching her work of which more can be seen on her website.

Peter Marshall's prints are inspiring me to explore the area covered by his set which records the landscape of the stretch of land on both sides of the Thames running from East London through to the Isle of Sheppey.  I recommend seeing more of his work by following the link to his blog below.

Overall, I connected with this exhibition, and, as it is not far from work, I intend returning to it for another, more considered viewing.


Museum of London Docklands: Estuary

The Golden Tide, 2013 - Gayle Chong Kwan

Gayle Chong Kwan

Peter Marshall

Simon Roberts

1 comment:

  1. Stadtlandschaften scheint ein gutes Subjekt zu sein. Und es gibt soviel zu malen und darzustellen, gut für Dekoration und um der Wand das gewisse Etwas zu verleihen. Dieses Gemälde wurde von dem amerikanischen Maler Charles Sheeler gemalt,
    , und passt sicher an viele Wände. Das Bild können Sie auf betrachten und dort auch bestellen.