Single author exhibition of his works: paintings, sketchbooks and photographs: both b/w and colour.
I went on my own: up to the sixth floor with a broken ankle on my crutches because the lift was not working – the engineer was on his way!
Venue: The Photographers’ gallery, London.
Date: Sunday, 24th January, 2016.
Curators: Brigitte Woischnik (in charge of the Leiter archive) & TPG’s curator Eva Eiker.
Location, setting, atmosphere: TPG: Excellent space on the top floor allowing room to stand back but, as always: you can never see the whole image because of the interference of the reflections generated the lights on the reflective glass covering the image. I found this very frustrating – non-reflective glass exists for this very reason, why don’t the curators use it?
Three positives of the exhibition:
- Excellent variety and flavour of his work. I had never seen his paintings or his painted photographs:
- His notebooks & mini box series were a good insight in to how his photos developed & reminiscent of the work of Mark Rothko.
- The info panels were insightful and added to my understanding of his m.o.:
One wish: that the curators had used non-reflective glass on the images.
Example of the work:
I was not aware of his black 7 white work so I found that his work stripped of colour, is just as thought-provoking as his colour work for which he is most well-known:
- the discovery of his black and white work.
- the discovery of his paintings and his painted photographs.
- looking at how he worked: his notebooks were very small & the use of colour is important.
- I found that his fashion photography on display revealed a voyeuristic element that I had not assumed in his street photography which has a very subjective element: these images have an asymmetrical composition, as does much of his street photography, with large areas out of focus, which appeals to me greatly:
What I took with me about the work:
- These images are not of a spectacular moment nor does Leiter try to capture objective reality: he purposely interferes with his images to propound his own interpretations of what he has seen.
- Letter does not try to capture a significant social situation. he captures the seemingly insignificant impressions of everyday life.
- A quotation above his painted photographs: “If we look and look, we begin to see and are still left with the pleasure of uncertainty.”
- His handling of colour & composition creates a tension and balance in his images.
What I took away with me about me / my work:
- The “pleasure of uncertainty” somehow releases a whole lot of tension about my image making: I don’t have to be explicit about what is before me: I can choose what is in focus and what isn’t; I want to leave symmetry to mathematical theory – yes, it is beautiful but it is not the only way of seeing beauty.
- I need to take time over my image making: it is not all about that moment – that moment can assume significance later.
- I can paint over my work & make it not just about the pure photograph.
- Thinking about creating an impression rather than a reflection of what is in front of me.
- look at shapes, shadows, surfaces and textures = lean towards the abstract.
- how can I apply this to landscape ? Does it exclude social landscape?
Star rating: 4* – too many reflections on the glass obscure what I can see.