[How Looking Gets in the Way of Seeing]
Marie Angeletti, Gabrielle Le Bayon, Bryan Dooley, Margarida Gouveia, Damian Griffiths, Michael Hammond, Eugenia Ivanissevich, Anne Schuhmann, Terry Smith, Richard Williamson & Tereza Zelenkova
Curated by Damian Griffiths
Twelve Around One presents [How Looking Gets in the Way of Seeing] an exhibition of new work from a group of artists who met in the Photography Department at the Royal College of Art.
The problems of photography are well documented. The film is never a blank slate and the lens is never passive. In combination, the equipment, its processes of production and the agency of the users make the photograph infinitely plastic. It was this that made the photograph the great Modern medium.
We could say the photograph is never innocent and yet, we still call the photograph evidence, beyond all reasonable doubt. It is this tension that makes the photograph the resistant medium of today. That which liberates equally serves to inhibit and where that which is antonymic is found to be simultaneous. The language of this photography is the perpetual contention of the medium and subject. As Georges Didi-Huberman notes:
It is not all a matter of choosing one piece, of cutting through – knowing or seeing […] but of knowing how to remain in the dilemma, between knowing and seeing […] In no case is it a matter of replacing the tyranny of a thesis with that of an antithesis. It is a matter of proceeding dialectically: of thinking the thesis with its antithesis, the architecture with its flaws, the rule with its transgression, the discourse with its slips of the tongue, the function with its dysfunction, and the fabric with its rend…
Although there is no singular unity in the work presented, much of the work begins with the dialogues of The documentary style and/or New Objectivity. It seeks to find grounding in its material distantiation – the photograph as an object declares a particular certainty. Where the innocuousness of a subject is inescapable from its socio-political, historical, cultural and economic associations. Its form announces its content.
However, truth, knowledge or versions thereof are not the explicit agenda of the work. The work instead aspires to the significance of poetry. The medium which reveals itself in its own dissolution.