I know I keep beefing on about this, but I remain less than convinced that the Photographers’ Gallery’s quest to be bigger and better has been a successful one – everyone I know still prefers the more intimate surroundings of the Great Newport Street premises.
Hoofing out the wonderful Billy and his long-serving cafe has done nothing to help, and I now rarely visit the new sleek’n'shiny – and more expensive – characterless replacement cafe.
That said, I still pay the occasional visit to the new gallery at 16 – 18 Ramillies Street, near Oxford Circus, and this time I actually enjoyed some of the work.
One thing you quickly get used to at this gallery is the stairs. There’s loads of them.
There’s not much to see on the ground floor so you have to climb the first lot of stairs to see a gallery – and annoyingly, the staff hog the second floor for themselves, so you have to climb another floor to continue the exhibition.
It’s not helped by the fact that there’s toilets opening on to the stairs at each level, and there can be quite a fruity whiff pervading the staircase at times.
Just about a whole floor is dedicated to a camera obscura which appears to open as frequently as a Titan Arum comes into flower. It was closed when we visited. Again.
The work I really enjoyed, however, was the Geraldo de Barros exhibition called ‘What Remains’.
A key figure in Brazilian art and design, he produced some striking experimental images, along with some delightful minimalist photographic work (see above).
Laura Letinsky’s ‘ Ill Form and Void Full (2010-11)’ series of large still life prints failed to move me much, although I liked the simplicity and space of the work.
Laura Letinsky, Ill Form and Void Full, Untitled 3, 2011. [Official site]
On the top floor is the ‘Perspectives on Collage’ exhibition showcasing eight approaches to collage.
I’m not the biggest fan of modern collage (Photoshop seems to dealt the art form a fatal blow), but mind how you go in, because it’s easy to trample on the work that’s laid out on the floor by the entrance!
Monday – Saturday 10.00 – 18.00
Thursday 10.00 – 20.00
Sunday 11.30 – 18.00
(*please check before setting out)