Monday 25 October 2010

Pictures of polaroids

A recent article in The Guardian inspired today's trip to the Colnaghi Gallery to see the current exhibition of Julian Schnabel's work. He uses a 1970s handmade polaroid camera to great effect:

"It is as if you were Xeroxing your own face. The pictures have such physicality: their surface is like fine leather, stained from chemicals. Each one has a body and is more than an image."

The pictures that he creates are extremely varied, some in sepia, some are covered in paint to greater or lesser effect. My favourites were two of Mickey Rourke looking surprisingly unlike his public image and one of a man (possibly the artist) painting in a garden.

Why the art review? Partly because I felt like it. But the IP twist on the tale is the gallery's attitude towards photography: "No flash and not too many." Use on a blog was "ok." Hence the couple of pictures uploaded here. This strikes me as a perfectly reasonable standpoint and contrasts with my experience of a number of museums and galleries who have attempted to restrict photography on the basis that to photograph their pictures and in some instances the building itself would be copyright infringement. More often than not both the paintings and the buildings are hundreds of years old.

No one wants to wander round a gallery while every second person is taking a photo rather than appreciating the art but to outright ban photography in the name of intellectual property has long been a source of personal annoyance. Particularly where the art in question is based on a number of sources and may even directly copy other images. My photographs are not good quality but they will serve as a reminder and an illustration.

Julian Schnabel's Polaroids exhibition is at Colnaghi gallery, 15 Old Bond Street, London W1 until 12 November 2010.

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