The Modern Lens

Expectations  figure prominently in the experience of this exhibition, currently on view at Tate St.-Ives. You can just admire the images, of course, and there is a lot to admire.  The print reproduced here is a case in point.  But that in itself won’t help you figure out what ties it all together. The crucial information is that the exhibition draws on Tate’s own collections.  The organizers might have just submitted meekly to this restriction, and produced something less risky and less interesting.  Instead, in addition to occasionally showing off the collection’s strengths, they’ve tried to choose objects that offer various sorts of challenges to what visitors are likely to expect, challenges to the most widely-accepted “story” of  photography as modern art.  For example the Still Life just mentioned looks somewhat familiar and was made at some point between 1930 and 1939.  But was made by Shikanosuke Yagaki, a Japanese photographer Tate St.-Ives visitors are unlikely to know.  And that kind of news becomes in invitation to rethink many assumptions about the whos and wheres and hows of modern photography.  My review of the exhibition will appear in the next issue of Source Magazine (Belfast). For more, see:

Yagaki Still Life

Author: Nancy Roth