Hin Chau at The Third Floor Gallery

Exhibition of work at The Third Floor Gallery, Cardiff

Now that I am settled in after our recent move to Wales I’ve been taking some time to explore Cardiff and the photo galleries there.  One of my favourite galleries is the Third Floor Gallery located on Bute Street.  I intend to visit this gallery often and, whilst it may be too far for you to visit, I hope that you can learn about the photographers exhibiting there through this blog.

The Third Floor Gallery is actually located over two floors with the recently opened lower floor cunningly named the Second Floor Gallery.  It was set up by photographers Joni KarankaMaceij Dakowicz, and Bartosz Nowicki.  It runs only through the generosity of donations and it’s staff are all volunteers.  The main exhibitions run for about six weeks on the third floor and older ones are ‘demoted’ to the second floor to extend their exhibition time by a further six weeks.  Entry is free but donations and sponsorship are always welcome.

There were three bodies of work on display at the time of my visit, I’ve split the details down into three posts to make them more manageable.

Hin Chau

The main exhibition during this visit was by the photographer Hin Chau.  The inspiration for his work was a chance encounter in a rubbish strewn field:

“Several years ago, I found myself standing before a field littered with a kaleidoscopic multitude of plastic bags. A middle-aged couple was passing by; ‘Isn’t this absolutely ghastly?’ they announced with considerable consternation. I paused before making a remark that surprised both them and myself: it was one of the most wonderful things I’d seen in a while.” – Hin Chua

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This led to his series After the Fall.  The images in this series were taken at the edge of developed areas and attempt to show where the grey area between urban and rural/industrial lies.  Rather than just wandering around his locations Chau uses satellite imagery to scout a potential location before making a trip to the area.  Creating the series has proved a great excuse to travel and so far Chau has visited fifteen countries and hundreds of towns and cities.

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For me this series blurred the lines between artistic and documentary photography.  The abstract nature of many of the images in the series was appealing when seen as a collection but I only actually liked about six of the images.  The images were displayed in smaller sets of photographs, as can be seen below, and I liked the way that lines and curves ran through each of the sets.  In each of the sets there always seemed to be an image that just didn’t quite fit and I wonder if this was a deliberate artistic tool used to jar the viewer’s eye?

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I thought that the print quality of the images and the ‘pinned to the wall’ method of display distracted from the exhibition, but again this may have been the photographer’s requested layout/method.  Chau has also exhibited in Paris and the display method was different there, much darker and closer to the feel of the imagery as can be seen below:

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Due to space constraints only a small portion of the series has been put on display so I would encourage you to explore Chau’s work in more depth by looking at his website.

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