As I’ve said in #12, photography is a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows and, recently, I was feeling in a bit of a dip. “What I need”, I moaned at the ever-patient Kirsten, “is a job that really gets my mind working”. Then Satan answered my call.
From 12-17 October, the Old Vic theatre has arranged for their newly aquired space in the arches underneath Waterloo station to host a show of artists’ interpretations of the underworld, “Hell’s Half Acre”. The owner of the gallery behind the event, London-based Lazarides, has recently said that his version of hell is the current coalition Government but thankfully, the artists involved had pushed the boundaries a little further and created a truly beautiful thing.
Not only did I get the chance to look around the show before the doors opened but it was also arranged just for AFP, meaning that there wasn’t the usual fight to get positions, copying of ideas and general stalemate that photocalls of this nature often become. After a handful of gallery and auction house photocalls this week, it was so refreshing to get to think about things for a little longer, come back to pieces that I had new ideas on and generally enjoy the shoot.
Including work by artists such as Conor Harrington, Vhils, George Osodi, Antony Micallef, Doug Foster, Todd James, Paul Insect, Mark Jenkins, Boogie, Ian Francis, Polly Morgan, Jonathan Yeo, Zak Ové, the aging arches naturally have the smell of damp and darkness to them that sit perfectly with the artwork on show. While some artists have gone for truly nasty concepts such as Marc Jenkins’ “Chrysalis 1-6” (identical female mannequins encased in shrinkwrap, hanging from the ceiling), others have opted for more satirical digs such as Vhils’ portrait of “Bernie Made Off” above.
Jonathan Yeo’s “For what we are about to receive” is another piece in the style of his regular work where fragments of paper from porn magazines are suspended in sheets of glass and hung from the ceiling, creating a whole new image when viewed from one angle and chaos from every other position.
The wonderfully helpful Julia from Purple PR proved a top help in the shoot as she posed with a live projection of a tray of maggots crawling on the screen in front of her. My requests to hold the pose for a bit longer due to a “maggot just crawling out of your nose” couldn’t even put her off the job at hand.
Having worked your way through the show, for a spiritual ending, you pass through the glowing fluffiness of heaven before you find yourself in the glamourous Station Approach. I consider myself well and truly uplifted.