Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Instant history

This weekend I went to the Polaroid 126 exhibition in Yokohama Museum of Art. (Of course, I took my own Polaroid camera along for the trip, but little chance in the 35 degree heat that the out-of-date Impossible Project film, uncertain in its use over 25C, would develop correctly!)

The exhibition consists of 126 Japanese photographers/artists contributing to a memorial/celebration of the old Polaroid. (The new Polaroid digital-cum-instant-print camera was promoted. I don't get it, however: it's about as useful as purikura – old "print club" – imagery and has no "Polaroid" quality.) Apart from a few blown-up individual shots, and the Lady Gaga portrait by (non-Japanese) Maurittsuo Garinberuti, each photographer had six images on display, framed in two rows of three. I'm not sure why: just to give the presentation of the works a theme, I suppose. The structure seemed a little unnecessary.

There was a mixed bunch, the best of which, it seemed to me, were those that played most with Polaroid's qualities of indistinct image, changing light and colour, and/or a feel of the "instant" preserved. Standouts including renown photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto's Anish Kapoor-like red and black abstracts (apologies for scanning the photo from the promotional leaflet, above). Some were as disposable as Polaroid can be, others – a skyscape, prints which were drawn on, a group of legs which circled round the six-grid layout – were more impressive.

Leading the show, was the good (and acknowledgedly derivative) portrait of Lady Gaga, which exploits another Polaroid plus, the instant mosaic. With Lady Gaga backing it all – somehow she's become Polaroid's creative director – it is all part of Polaroid planned "comeback" (using Impossible Project film.) A rebound success, or indestructable niche?
While on the theme: here's an interesting Polaroid project by Carlo van de Roer photographing "auras".

1 comment:

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Best, Paul Giambarba