In an uncertain era defined by political, environmental and social tragedies – including Trump, Brexit, climate change and social turbulence – the need for comprehension becomes heightened. How can creative practitioners articulate these issues in significant ways? Zeitgeist, an exhibition opening at Turner House, Penarth, in celebration of photographic agency Ffotogallery’s 40th anniversary, holds up a mirror to current events, providing new perspectives on global issues and questioning established norms.
César Dezfuli’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017 winning Passengers, a series of profound images of migrants that offers a personal perspective on an overwhelming situation. The works, which depict individuals rescued from a rubber boat in the Mediterranean Sea, invite the viewer to connect on a human, emotional level, rather than through media broadcasts and screen-dominated platforms. Tackling similar concerns, Medhi Bahmen’s Entre Deux (Interval) unearths the rise of hate crime and right-wing populism in Europe, revealing the anxieties of Museum and Arab refugees and immigrants feel as a result of recent international events.
Exploring waste and wider ecological dialogues, Marta Mak’s Value transforms discarded items into gold. The artist draws attention to mass consumption and the environmental impact of landfill by spray painting cartons, egg boxes, tins and bottles gold. This act, alongside the of exhibiting them in a gallery space, adds conceptual and cultural worth. As David Drake, director, notes in the last words of Aesthetica issue 81: “It is a piece that explores how, like alchemy, we can create new value out of packaging, transforming waste into a social resource.”
These emerging artists, who each submitted in response to international festival Diffusion 2017’s Open Call, use the medium to provide unique, meaningful responses set apart from everyday information streams. Other contributors include: Alexander Anufriev, Blazej Marczak, Demetris Koilalous, Hiro Tanaka, James A. Hudson, Phil Hatcher-Moore, and Verena Prenner.
Until 31 March. Find out more here.
1. From Value © Marta Mak