PhotoLondon, free photographic gesture by Claire Aho
#LONDON The string of small rooms, like small boxes hosting a few jewels, photographic in this case, is undoubtedly what makes the added value of PhotoLondon. The 2019 edition of the British Photo Fair is now in its fifth year at Somerset House on the banks of the Thames.
From year to year and from fair to fair, we still find ourselves searching on the gallery walls, like a treasure hunt, for an author who would surprise us or whose signature would not be confused with that of another. Because it is clear that it is not by crossing the sleeve that you will have great emotions. The quality of the works, the precision of the prints, and the diversity of the formats are, certainly, with the appointment but nothing revolutionary, which shakes up, as one could be recently with other media, in particular in New York, where the ingenuity and the hybridization of the medium drawing were disputed your glance.
And it is at Dellasposa, a London gallery renowned for its works by great masters such as Matisse, Picasso or Lichtenstein and curiously located in the “Discovery” section, that our appetite and interest is sharpened with the discovery of Rad Husak’s work. The British artist, recently graduated from Royal Art College, offers a selection of works on paper on the borderline between photography and engraving, meticulous portraits of dark and intriguing men. Still in the Discovery section, which definitely bears his name, we focus on Jonny Briggs’ acid work on the NContemporary stand, where we recently discovered in Monaco the subtle work of Nina Carini.
And then, here comes the meeting… expected but which has been delayed. It happens, by chance. We had vaguely heard about it, we thought: Okay, colour photographs from the 1950s in a Finland that oscillates between tradition (black and white) and projection into the future (colour). However, the work of Claire Aho, a woman photographer, is undoubtedly of an unexpected freshness, of a very feminine beauty despite her rigorous framing. Black and white or colours, the prints reveal themselves in a refined contrast with balance, the subjects seem to spring from a desirable elsewhere, and the staging, soft and humorous, demonstrate a great maturity and mastery of light.
It is not only the vintage aspect of the prints that stands out and seduces, in this large melting pot visual that we can see on the fair. But also the feeling of being able to appreciate a free and liberated mastery of the photographic gesture, a spontaneity and an absolute, present in each image of Claire Aho… and of which, by contrast, seem almost devoid of all the other images that we will meet from then on.
From 16 to 19 May 2019
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA
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