Thursday 6 September 2012

Pre-Olympic traces

Jason Orton

Currently at the Photofusion photography centre in Brixton, Residual Traces is a wonderful small exhibition of work by six photographers, curated and published by Troika Editions, capturing some artefacts and atmospheres destroyed in the orgy of 2012 Olympic construction. It's work that takes the mind and heart and senses on a sad, deep journey in many moods and directions through a decaying, improvised, marginal cityscape just before its final disappearance.

This was - still is? - the Lea Valley of East London, as eulogised in anger and in sadness by Iain Sinclair (here's his latest essay for the LRB, along with links to earlier work) and by the Chinese poet Yang Lian (read some of his Lee Valley Poems in translation here).

This has never been part of 'my London' - it's such a vast city, but perhaps I know where its mourners are coming from: paradoxically, they take me back to 'my Leeds', the slivers of tumbledown red-and-green industrial landscape that I fell so deeply in love with when I moved to that city in the late 1970s.

All six very diverse photo series are very fine and strong. My favourite, I think, is by Gesche Wuerfel: interiors of sheds on the much-loved allotments mown down by the Olympic monster in its early days. These are small prints in deep, vibrant colours - pretty, poignant, sad still-lifes that I shall not easily forget.

Photofusion is a great place. The last show I saw here, Voices of the South Atlantic, was also memorable.

Gesche Wuerfel

Jan Stradtmann


Les said...

Wow. What gorgeous photographs. Wish I could see them in person.

Lucy said...

Thanks for all the interesting links, Jean. I enjoyed some of Yang Lian's poems, which seem to have much the same mood as the Jason Orton photo, which is a bit like a Whistler nocturne.

London's other, more elusive rivers, have always been rather fascinating.

I like the feel of the Photofusion site, looks a good place.