The second Brighton Photo Biennial, curated by Gilane Tawadros, brought together historical, contemporary and newly-commissioned photographic and moving image works. It featured works by artists who explore, in different ways, the thin line between past and present, fact and fiction, illusion and reality. In particular, through the placement of the main exhibition, Nothing Personal, in the Royal Pavilion and its gardens, links were drawn out between imperial Britain of the early nineteenth century and the imperial present of our own time. Around this core, throughout Brighton and along the South-East Coast were solo and group exhibitions of established and emerging international artists, presented across a number of distinctive sites including the Argus Building, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Brighton University Gallery, Charleston Farmhouse, the De La Warr Pavilion, Fabrica, Gardner Arts Centre, and Meta Gallery, including work by Alfredo Jarr, Fiona Tan and Henna Nadeem.
JS: The main exhibition takes its title from a collaborative book by Richard Avedon and James Baldwin published in 1964. Although the two were school friends, there is nevertheless something very odd both about the duo and the collaboration itself: in a book by Max Kozloff that Avedon managed to kill with legal action, he pointed to part of the oddity: Baldwin lashes out at the unmitigated nastiness of the American scene, but Avedon does no such thing. This impresario of haute couture at Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar lacked the credentials to offer any sort of critique from below. So can you say what you found inspiring about the book, and why you felt that it spoke particularly to the present?
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Published in Photoworks Issue 7, 2006
Commissioned by Photoworks