From Cuba to Israel….
In the autumn, the Richard Saltoun Gallery was showing a fascinating exhibition by the Cuban artist Gustavo Perez Monzon (born in 1956); now it has moved to Germany with an exhibition of the work of ULAY, born over a decade earlier in 1943, who has used the Poleroid photograph as a trademark art medium.
Yes, we all remember the Polaroid. When I was young, it was, in some ways the anticipation of the 21st ‘selfie’ that gave photographers, both professional and amateur, new and immediate technology. You could have a print seconds after taking the photograph – how amazing was that!
And all of a sudden, it was gone, the mobile phone arrived with its mass culture for ‘selfies’. No-one prints off photographs anymore; we send them by WhatsApp, email, facebook and messenger…
At the heart of the exhibition is an art-heist, which, from the photographs is so realistic that you can envisage that it was real. It is, however, an imagined portrayal, but happens so frequently in the real world that you can imagine that this was indeed a true documentary, rather than imagined….. And, then, in alcoves and looking out towards the street, other photographs link out with the street scene of Mayfair, a far cry from ULAY’s life and background.