Unlikely Celebrity and Glamour …in an East End Smokehouse
Now this has to go down as one of the most interesting venues for an art exhibition I’ve ever visited. Never mind the exhibition in a church crypt I once went to, the countless warehouse spaces and pop up galleries in freight crates, no this space beats them all.. it’s in a working smoke house. For those unfamiliar with a smoke house this is where they smoke meat and fish.. . told you this was good.. and even more interestingly, especially juxtaposed with this extremely stylised exhibition, it works!
When we approach the space it looks very grand and well maintained, like any other uber cool cutting edge east end converted warehouse, this one nestling under the shadow of the Olympic stadium. We walk thought he door and are immediately greeted by the sight of fish hanging in the smokehouse – quite a quirky welcome to say the least, and lots of information about the alternative use of the space other than as a gallery space. A great talking point on the way tot he main event.
Reaching the top floor we enter the gallery space to view the exhibition. As I mentioned previously the exhibition couldn’t be further away from the premise of a smokehouse if it tried! The three photographers being exhibited here have made their name by photographic stellar celebrities or incredibly stylised and stylishly suggestive and glamorous still lives. Much like the photography, such a stylish exhibition housing itself in the smokehouse cleverly continues the surrealism and sometimes tongue in cheek humour that many of the photographs portray, and this is to its credit.
The well established photographers are very well matched. The talent of the photographers shines through undoubtedly. With respect to the portrait photographers; Alistair Morrison, John Stoddart, the seemingly simplest portraits give a great dialogue between the subject and the observer, t testament to great understanding of the subject and confidence and sometimes playfulness to communicate some unsaid discourse. Brilliant! Its simple to see why both photographers have been so successful. Sitters like Catherine Zeta Jones, Daniel Craig, Daniel Day Lewis have been snapped thousands of times but these portraits add something else to anything I’ve seen that’s for sure.
The stylised surreal world of John Thornton is quite something to behold. These photographs compliment the portraits so well, the surrealism of his images alongside the surrealism of celebrity is well presented. His images are sexy, suggestive and dreamlike. Gorgeous people in obscure set up scenes, like someone’s salacious fantasies as made over by Vogue. Fabulous.
What more can I say – such an enjoyable corner of personal, sexy in the smokehouse, glamour in the most unlikely of settings. Get down there and be inspired!
Emma, Heart London Magazine