Having visited several galleries across Cardiff we turned for home. The traffic was pretty poor and so we took a detour which turned out to run right past another Diffusion venue: Chapter. I’d never heard of the place before but it will be on our list to visit more often. It has a ‘cool’ vibe to it and is a mix of cinema, theatre, gallery, workshop, and cafe space. There were a lot of people drinking lattes and typing away on their Macs (so if you hate that sort of thing then give it a big miss!).
There were three exhibitions here:
Gideon Kopple’s BORTH
“a film installation filmed in the west Wales’ town of Borth – a curious and extraordinary place where the infinite horizon of the sea collides with a random collection of architectures; where epic landscape is playfully juxtaposed with the intimacy of human gesture.”
Maurizio Anzeri’s But It’s Not Late It’s Only Dark
“His first solo exhibition in Wales features newly commissioned and previously unseen works, alongside a selection of his critically acclaimed ‘photo-sculptural’ pieces. Anzeri uses found photographs and embroidery to create subtly sculptural pieces in which strangers are given new identities; complex and mysterious. Anzeri sees photographic portraits as landscapes, exploring them in order to layer them with his own maps or orientation to invent what he describes as “other possible evolutionary dimensions for the people pictured”. Labyrinths of forms and colours create intriguing geographies of faces, histories and souls with eyes that stare enigmatically from the centre of their ‘masks’. Alongside this established practice, Anzeri will show new works that utilise embroidery and personal photography to create imagined or psychological space; private reality that becomes public fantasy.”
Anzeris talks about his work:
Emma Bennett, a selection of works
“Appropriating imagery from historical Dutch and Italian painting, Bennett immaculately renders bowls of ripened fruit, bouquets of blooming flowers, dead game and swathes of rich fabric that reflect this long tradition of still life painting – of apparent naturalism underpinned by compositional artifice, and of time suspended. Emerging out of the midnight–black void of her canvas, the subjects allude to the transitory nature of existence; to life, death and the after-life.”
I really love documentary photography and tend to avoid art photography with as wide a berth as possible. Despite that I was determined to see what these three exhibitions had to offer as inspiration can come from any source.
Whilst individual frames of the Borth installation were interesting we were not prepared to commit 50 minutes of our lives to watch the whole thing – and the sound was broken and so we watched in silence.
Anzeri’s work is definitely “different”, lots of black and white images with hundreds of threads running through them. I didn’t understand it at all despite looking through the several thousand word accompanying pamphlet that we were handed on our way in.
Emma Bennett’s images were a refreshing change and the influences of early painted works was obvious. I don’t think using the main hall was the best use of space for these works but it was nice to see such large images on display. These were paintings and not photographs and so it seems it was a clear win for ‘traditional’ art over photography, the new pretender.