A new online exhibition
5 August, 2021 – 5 February, 2022
Open Doors Gallery is delighted to present Shapeshifters: The Image in Flux, a group exhibition that brings together ten contemporary artists who investigate photographic images in various states of transformation. We’re proud to include work by Ibrahim Azab, Cecilia Bonilla, Anthony Gerace, Ricardo Miguel Hernández, Kensuke Koike, Kíra Krász, Alexandra Lethbridge, Joseph Staples, Miriam Tölke and Constanza Valderrama.
Deriving from the mythical notion of ‘shapeshifting’, a person or being that holds the ability to change their physical form at will, this exhibition marks a growing curiosity into the multitude of forms emerging within contemporary photography. In the first instance, the concept of the photograph shapeshifting is seemingly alien and irregular, as tradition dictates we must believe it to be a didactic and solitary medium, one with a singular optical view and representation. But photography, today, is far more slippery; it’s in constant flux and searches to occupy new worlds and dimensions.
The artists introduced in Shapeshifters, liberate and defy the perceived boundaries of photography and seek to position images as building materials within their practices. In the creation of their works, various physical and digital processes are employed: folding, cutting, ripping, sticking, stitching, merging and collaging, alongside techniques of scanning, printing and rephotographing. Through physical, tactile interventions on surface, and often contextual, archival explorations, they work to excavate and generate new meanings from photographs.
Download the exhibition catalogue
About the artists:
Ibrahim Azab is a London based artist and curator, who shifts between sculpture, performance and photography. Ideas of process, perception, and information form the centre point of Azab’s practice whilst surrounding research of his work investigates the relationship between the subconscious and reality, material and immaterial within a hyper-consumer and visual culture. His work explores the photograph as object, through digital and physical intervention, with a focus towards the movement and transfer of visual language as abstract information. Significantly the work of Ibrahim Azab is concerned with failure and representation within the photographic medium, playfully surfacing the act of seeing and unseeing through phenomenological understanding of the surface.
Cecilia Bonilla is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice spans across collage, photography, video and sculpture, through to large-scale installations and site-specific interventions. In her compositions Bonilla often appropriates mass-produced imagery from sources such as discarded books, fashion magazines and catalogues. Taking this existing imagery she subverts its original meaning through subtle alterations or amendments which reconfigure, distort and dismantle the original image source. Throughout her work, themes of domesticity, the ideals of beauty, ‘lifestyle’ and other social constructs are questioned, corrupted and undermined through minimal, yet skilful assemblage and modification.
Anthony Gerace is a Canadian artist residing in London. His work is primarily concerned with the effect of time on objects and images, and relies on collage and landscape as its two foundational pillars. The grid is an ongoing conceptual and aesthetic device found within his practice, that works to blur the distance between foreground and background, reinforcing surface, layer, and materiality of images themselves. Gerace thinks of collage in terms of typology, exploring how systems can become amplified through repetition; seeing how, and if, meaning can be derived with and through minimal change.
Ricardo Miguel Hernández is a memory researcher. His work considers the role of authenticity and ambiguity within historical memory through different aesthetic exercises such as photography and video. He works to distance himself from the original photographic document, to turn it into a new artistic construct, a new historical memory. Hernández is interested in communal narratives, and through his playful investigation into images and archives, he seeks to articulate a myriad of Cuban identities and histories.
Kensuke Koike is an acclaimed Japanese artist who creates unique artwork by manipulating found vintage photographic material. The resulting sculptural works are often witty, dynamic and abstract. Kensuke’s approach to the medium revolves around the idea of using the assets found within an image, creating something new and contemporary. The process for the artist often starts as a puzzle begging to be solved with each image setting its own unique challenges.
Kíra Dorottya Krász was born in Hungary in 1995, she currently lives and works in Pécs, Hungary, having graduated from the University of Brighton with BA Photography, 2019. Her work is focused on the interplay between images and their physical properties. As an artist, she is curious to explore the possibilities of photography by experimenting with printing techniques, layering, textures, and installation. Krász physically interacts with her work in its creation, cropping and cutting printed images, placing them into different contexts and orientations.
Alexandra Lethbridge is a conceptual artist working with photography and installation. Her practice includes the use of found and appropriated imagery, sculpture and moving image. Recurring themes in her work are deception, misdirection, misinformation, visual truth and the cognitive processing and consumption of information. Lethbridge is drawn to ambiguities, the gap between this and that, interpretations, and misalignments of ideas and to how we consume visual culture. She grounds her work with scientific research and contrasts these theories with experimental image-making.
Joseph Staples is a collage and photographic artist living and working in Vancouver, Canada. His work focuses on the copy, repetition, and the relationships we have with images. He has shown in streets, galleries and museums across North America and in Europe.
Miriam Tölke was born in 1977 in Bielefeld, she completed her painting studies at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart in 2000, and then moved to Berlin. During her time in Stuttgart, she began to collect discarded things: magazines, notebooks, books and catalogs. Materials that were deemed useless by others, but for her of significant meaning and value. The artist began a process of treasure hunting throughout various cities in her life, which she continues to this day. In the studio she rediscovers, reconstructs and rearranges found imagery to form new expressions and narratives, inspired by the relationship between urban and rural life.
Constanza Valderrama is a Chilean artist currently based in Patagonia. Her understanding of photography as a material thing has allowed her to explore the properties with which photographic images intertwine, a process that she refers to as ‘photographic incarnations’. These are processes in which images and materials coalesce. Consequently, her work renders visible that every copy or visualisation of a photograph is always unique and unrepeatable, even if its nature is digital. Through diverse material experimentations, Constanza’s practice aims to expand the limits of photography, not only to question the conventional ways of doing photography but also discussing the idea of reproduction that traditionally links to it.
You can now view all the works in this collection at the Shapeshifters online exhibition.
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