New shows at the Centre for Contemporary Photography

Geoff Robinson

I attended the artist talks last Saturday at the CCP. Not all galleries have scheduled artist’s talks, but I find them to be the best time to find out more about the artist’s works without the hustle and bustle of openings.  

The new exhibitions at the CCP feature photo prints, installation, and video. I was fascinated with the installation by Geoff Robinson in Gallery 1. I particularly liked the use of colours in his show. I’ve got chromophilia. What’s interesting is how Robinson mapped sounds from 12 different sites off Suomenlinna Island (Finland) and transformed it into something tangible and visual such as the poles. Robinson said there is no particular correlation between the colours and the sounds. The colours are definitely a contrast to the Nordic winter tones. The link to photography is found in the video installation accompanying the installation. I think Robinson found an interesting way to share his experience in Finland, enabling the audience to closely interact with their senses.It reminds me of Olafur Eliasson’s use of the elements in his installations. With Robinson’s show, you feel transported right on site with this installation and the sound recordings. The winter scenes take me back to my Canadian winters.

On a different note, the works in Gallery 2 & 3 deal with memory. ‘Lost and Found: family photos swept away by the 3.11 East Japan tsunami’ involves Japanese artists Munemasa Takahashi and Hiroshi Hatate, and the Australian artist, Kristian Haggblom. Behind the faded anonymous images and the earthy tones, there is a confronting sadness, loss, and trauma. Haggblom said he had to remove one photo because of recognisable content. In the other gallery, Eliza Hutchison displays a series of images, some of which are distorted, which explore recollection. At times, I found the content of her series ‘Hair in the Gate, a biography’ difficult to decipher without reading the titles for each photo. The way the prints are displayed is intriguing for the way the artist arranged her diptychs and triptychs.

The next work in Gallery 4, ‘Témoin oculaire: shelter or prison: a meditation on incarceration and madness’, is a perturbing yet powerful piece by the artists Julie Davies and Alex Rizkalla. The title of their show reveals it all.

On a lighter note, Charlie Sofo's night projection video, just like Robinson's exhibition, is less emotionally charged than the rest of the CCP current shows. Sofo was part of NEW 12 at ACCA earlier this year and I appreciate the similarities between his CCP and ACCA projects. Definitely worth seeing.