Matter of Life and Death: An Exhibition of Photographs from the University Collection 16 May – 9 September 2016 at the School of Art Gallery, Aberystwyth University

Final poster copyMatter of Life and Death was an exhibition of black-and-white photographs from the School of Art collection at Aberystwyth University. About sixty photographs were selected for display by a group of School of Art undergraduates who were enrolled on the module Curating an Exhibition.

In a series of seminars, the student curators debated how to interpret the photographs and relate them to each other to develop a narrative. Only the medium and the general theme – life and death – had been decided by the module coordinator, Dr Harry Heuser, beforehand.

Many of the photographs had been not been exhibited in our galleries since the 1990s. This was also the first exhibition at the School of Art to feature works by the Welsh photographer Angus McBean, who is best known for his ‘surrealised’ portraits of British and American stage actors and screen stars.

IMG_3023The photographs on display ranged from mass marked travel photography of the late nineteenth century to a personal photo album. Some photographers are famous (McBean, Walker Evans, and Mario Giacomelli among them); others are unknown.

Photographs of farmers in 1930s Alabama are shown alongside photographs of miners in 1980s Sardinia. Life in Aberystwyth is featured next to scenes observed in Palermo, Osaka and Bangkok. These images communicate the experiences of the young, the aged, the dying and the dead.

How do we measure the importance of a life? Who is worth remembering and what is worth preserving?

IMG_3005It is now easier than ever to produce and share photographs. Subjects diversify. Perspectives broaden. Yet images are also more readily manipulated. Realities are filtered and faked. The photographs in this exhibition predate our digital age. They were intended to exist as prints.

There is no particular order in which the photographs on show should be experienced. Themes were suggested through display and interpretation, but the aim of the exhibition was to raise questions and provoke debate rather than to offer conclusive statements.

As in life, material circumstances limit the gallery visitor’s choices, yet the paths viewers forge are their own.

IMG_3004Curators: Megan Evans, Rebecca Fletcher, Suzanne Fortey, Emma Game, Emily Griffin, Elizabeth Kay, Kirils Kirijs, Michael Kirton, Maria Lystrup, Kate Osborne, Amy Preece, Georgia Record, Emma Roberts, Samantha Robinson, Emily Smyth, Bethany Williams, Gemma Woolley; support from Harry Heuser (text and concept) and Neil Holland (staging and design)

Works from the School of Art collection featured in the Matter of Life and Death exhibition:

Processione/Innocenza (1955/56)

Carlo Bevilacqua (1900–1988)

Fin de Siècle (c. 1973–1976)

Carlo Bevilacqua (1900–1988)

 All the Best People Eat at the Pavilion Restaurant (1954)

Angus McBean (1904–1990)

 Italy 1958 (Album)

Angus McBean (1904–1990)

Barcelona Gypsies: Kissing (c. 1985–1992)

Dave Daggers (b. 1956)

Aberystwyth Holiday Resort? (1984)

Gwyn Martin (1921–2001)

Breakwater, Aberystwyth, South Beach (1984)

Gwyn Martin (1921–2001)

Allie Mae Burroughs, Hale County, Alabama (1936)

Walker Evans (1903–1975)

Floyd Burroughs and Tengle Children, Hale County, Alabama, Summer (1936)

Walker Evans (1903–1975)

Photographers’ Window Display, Birmingham, Alabama (1936)

Walker Evans (1903–1975)

Roadside Stand, Vicinity Birmingham, Alabama (1936)

Walker Evans (1903–1975)

Worlds Apart, Penrhiwceiber (1986)

Leslie Price (b. 1938)

Barry Island (1986)

Leslie Price (b. 1938)

Mountain Ash (1986)

Leslie Price (b. 1938)

The Vestry (1983)

Leslie Price (b. 1938)

Miss Bennett (1984)

Leslie Price (b. 1938)

Untitled (1988)

Priamo Tolu (b. 1957)

Untitled (1988)

Priamo Tolu (b. 1957)

Untitled (1984)

Priamo Tolu (b. 1957)

Untitled (1992/93)

Priamo Tolu (b. 1957)

Untitled (1992/93)

Priamo Tolu (b. 1957)

Untitled (1992/93)

Priamo Tolu (b. 1957)

Untitled, from the series Lourdes (1957)

Mario Giacomelli (1925–2000)

Untitled [“Scanno Boy”] (1957), from the series Scanno

Mario Giacomelli (1925–2000)

Untitled (1957), from the series Scanno

Mario Giacomelli (1925–2000)

Untitled (1957), from the series Zingari

Mario Giacomelli (1925–2000)

Untitled (1957), from the series Scanno

Mario Giacomelli (1925–2000)

Untitled, from the series Un Uomo, Una Donna, Un Amore (1960)

Mario Giacomelli (1925–2000)

Untitled, from the series La Buona Terra (1964/65)

Mario Giacomelli (1925–2000)

Untitled (1950)

Francesco Ferrucio Leiss (1899–1968)

Bridge Street, Morning (1965)

Gwyn Martin (1921–2001)

Plastic Death, Tanybwlch, Aberystwyth (1975)

Gwyn Martin (1921–2001)

Wet Prints, Borth Beach (1968)

Gwyn Martin (1921–2001)

Storm, South Beach, Aberystwyth (1958)

Gwyn Martin (1921–2001)

Morning Departure, Bad Forecast, Aberystwyth (1984)

Gwyn Martin (1921–2001)

Budapest, 1956 (1956)

Erich Lessing (b. 1923)

Street Scene with a Young Child, Osaka, Japan (1980s)

Rudy Lewis (b. 1939)

Bar girls in Bangkok, Thailand (1980s)

Rudy Lewis (b. 1939)

A Street Photographer, Cuzco, Peru (1980s)

Rudy Lewis (b. 1939)

Crescendo in fretta – Palermo 1957 (1957)

Elio Ciol (b. 1929)

Amaro Pane (c. 1950)

Toni Del Tin (1915–1973)

Vogue (1950)

Toni del Tin (1915–1973)

Serenità (1951)

Toni Del Tin (1915–1973)

Untitled (1940s–1970)

Toni Del Tin (1915–1973)

Schwarzwald Bäuerin (c.1936)

Erich Retzlaff (1899–1993)

Zwei Temperamente (1931)

Erich Retzlaff (1899–1993)

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s