Global Creativity

Global Creativity

Art fairs are a microcosm of creativity from across the world. Key events such as Art Basel, Frieze London and The Armory Show display the breadth of work made by visionaries both past and present. Some are multidisciplinary events, whilst others focus solely on one particular craft, showing the multitude of approaches that different practitioners can take when it comes to working with the same medium. This May, Photo London gives visitors the opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring scope of lens-based art, from 1840s vintage prints to contemporary contributions coming from Iceland, Japan, Peru and Taiwan.

Somerset House welcomes over 100 exhibitors from 44 cities, reaching across four continents. It’s truly a sprawling showcase of the world’s most significant prints throughout space and time, covering the dawn of the camera to today. Highlights include rare 1950s colour photographs from the esteemed American image-maker and cinematographer Helen Levitt (1913-2009). In one shot, we see a man reclined over a car bonnet as his feet dangle over the pavement below. Elsewhere, emerging Ghanaian lensman Kweku Yeboah captures what he refers to as “daily occurrences in the Accra scene.” In Prophecies (2023), a figure leans back with one arm out-stretched beyond the frame and head bent towards the sunlight.

Elsewhere, we gaze out at Guiseppe Lo Shiavo’s (b. 1986) serene oceanscapes through wide-open windows. Based between London and Milan, the award-winning visual artist is internationally recognised for using new technologies – ranging from virtual reality (VR) to infrared systems – to bridge the gap between art, science and popular culture. The Windowscapes (2023) series explores how recent advancements have expanded our ability to explore reality and see the world from new perspectives. These are photorealistic 3D works created with cutting-edge software to simulate the real world. Viewers are drawn into the through Lo Schiavo’s use of anamorphic perspective, where only specific vantages point brings the full image into view. We look out into a sea of possibility, both metaphorically and physically.

These are tranquil moments that resonate thematically with Albarrán Cabrera’s series The Mouth of Krishna (top). Here, sinuous black twigs burst into scarlet blossoms against an indigo sky. The piece is soothing, despite its vivid colours. It was captured by duo Anna Cabrera (b. 1969) and Ángel Albarrán (b. 1969), who have worked together since 1996 to create visuals that “trigger subconscious associations in viewers based on their memories.” This year’s event is set to be an ambitious display that celebrates the enduring allure of the medium. The sheer variety of inventive conceptual and stylistic approaches results in an impressive visual feast that Director Kamiar Maleki says is as “thought-provoking as it is beautiful.”

Somerset House, Photo London | 16-19 May

Words: Diana Bestwish Tetteh

Image Credits:

  1. Albarrán Cabrera. #60133 (2015) from the series The Mouth of Krisha. Courtesy Ira Stehmann Fine Art.
  2. Kweku Yeboah_Everything Has Beauty, but Not Everyone SeesIt_2021_Bright Gallery.
  3. Kweku Yeboah_If Music is a Place — Then Jazz is the City, Folk is theWilderness, Rock is the Road, Classical is a Temple._2021_Bright Gallery.
  4. Helen Levitt_New York_1974_© Film Documents LLC, courtesy Zander Galerie, Cologne.
  5. Giuseppe Lo Schiavo_Selene and the Ocean_2023_Spazio Nuovo.
  6. Giuseppe Lo Schiavo_Hypnos and the Ocean_2023_Spazio Nuovo.