OUT OF FOCUS: PHOTOGRAPHY

18 Jun

SAATCHI GALLERY, LONDON, 25th APRIL-22nd JULY 2012

Generally speaking I would say that Saatchi’s taste in painting, sculpture and installation art (or perhaps more accurately that of whichever of his lickspittles are tasked with handling the aforementioned) is absolutely bloody horrendous. I don’t think I can ever forgive him for the YBAs, among quite a large number of other things for which I also can’t forgive him. But I actually rather enjoyed a lot of the work in this exclusively photographic exhibition.

Katy Grannan’s heroic, dignified portraits of raddled, freaky Californian lowlives deserve their reverential presentation; Sohei Nishono’s composite, subjective, experiential dioramas of New York, Paris and Tokyo are fascinating; I love the simplicity of concept but complexity of texture in Andreas Gefeller’s photomerged top-down views of artists’ studios; Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou’s portraits of Yoruba spirit guides from Benin in their bizarre, gaudy costumes are surreal and elegant; Mikhael Subotsky’s photos from what looks like an almost apocalyptically bleak town in South Africa are beautiful and devastating. Even the work related to the Google Photography prize is of a pretty high standard.

And then there’s a lot of blurry or gratuitously weirdly-coloured shit, and a significant number of female artists who really want everyone to stare at their tits, or at somebody else’s tits, because it’s like post-feminist, and showing you some tits is like a statement yeah? but there doesn’t seem to be anything anyone can do about this unfortunate phenomenon until we can find and shut down the secret factory that relentlessly manufactures these narcissistic, needy, psychologically damaged, imaginatively impoverished Electra-complex saddos, and then turns at least one of them loose at every single art school in the word.

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