In May, PCA Photography students presented their thesis exhibition A Line of Inquiry at Galerie Plateforme. In their work, these young artists explored the ideas of place and connections — how they are made, broken, remade, lost and found again — through their visual investigations of relationships, the city, bodies, identities or strangers, and by probing and questioning they find their place as artists. Throughout their work they all probe and question society and their environment, with the inquisitive and subversive regard of young artists.
About the work by Susan Bright
Family celebrations are often cemented in the mind of the young. They are concrete markers of time and family togetherness, but most importantly one of consistency. When this is disrupted, as in the case of Adam Wilkinson’s ‘Christmas with Alice’ those moments become all the more crystallized and important in a child’s memory. The elusiveness and unreliability of memory is what Wilkinson examines, as he has asks members of his family to remember that Christmas. Desperate for evidence, Wilkinson finds that he can’t find any and his search for resolution remains unresolved. Metaphorical links between memory itself and photography resonate throughout.
© Adam Wilkinson “Christmas with Alice“
Similarly, ‘At the Mouth of Cave’ by AGE also turns to family, but in this case a desire to find acceptance within it. Memory, life writing, love, desire, rejection and authority ricochet throughout the piece. As viewers we learn a little of Age’s family, her sexuality, their faith and the cracks that show when you throw all of these things into suburban America and compare how things ‘should be’ with ‘how things really are’. Age turns to photography not only to document but also to hold onto family members and lovers, and it is this love that permeates the work even through the ideological differences at play.
© AGE “At the Mouth of Cave“
Like many famous flâneurs before him, Beau Gomez walks the streets of Paris, inspired by the city and those around him in the ultimate urban modern experience. Susan Sontag said, “The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno ” Such words have been reclaimed by the gay community and Gomez cleverly combines all associations here by gently photographing men on the street that he finds attractive. These are not predatory candid snapshots however, more gentle encounters where an exchange and agreement has taken place, they are dignified portraits and Gomez is, to quote Sontag again, “adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flâneur finds the world «picturesque.”
© Beau Gomez “Fleet Fix“
Much has been written about the gender of the 19th century flâneur, the street being the domain of the male. Both Ella Strowel and Victorie Fontaine update this notion to the 21st century and use the street as their domain for shooting. Ella Strowel follows a rich tradition of finding treasure in somebody else’s trash, and through the act of photography turns the overlooked and abandoned into sculpture, forcing the viewer to look anew at the commonplace. Former MoMA Director of Photography John Szarkowski, when describing the work of Eugène Atget – stated, “In an ideal world there is a place for everything, but in the real world things tend to migrate to places where they do not belong.”Strowel’s work questions this as her street sculptures may not belong, but really they do as they do not jar or look out of place- they are quintessentially part of the city. It’s just we have failed to notice them.
© Ella Strowel “Untitled“
Walking her dog late at night, Fontaine follows her lead taking photographs of corners and alleys in the suburbs of Paris. The magic of the night transforms the overlooked into strange and unknown juxtapositions which Fontaine captures with a snapshot aesthetic, a bright flash and slightly washed out effect giving an urgency and particular urban beauty to the project. Strange patterns and coincidences occur in the nighttime walks, arrows lead nowhere. There is a strange beauty in the everyday, the repetitive act of seeing and photographing rendering the everyday surreal.
© Victoire Fontaine “Jin“
And finally the place of gender and body is explored in the work of Kseniya Piatrova. Working with the trans community, Piatrova takes staged portraits based on transgender case studies. She questions what we view as normal today and making her own statement by putting her personal point of view on the subject matter. The subtle yet dramatic lighting mirrors a cinematic look, with the added use of mirrors in most of her photographs the viewer is drawn to the male figure.
© Kseniya Piatrova “The Norm“