It is always a pleasure to represent our great patrons, the greatest of patrons, Cook Rice + Kitty Toye, at events in London, Europe, and indeed around the globe. This time around we had the pleasure of leading a crit at Turf in Croydon. Unfortunately Cook + Kitty were busy attending a steering committee for a biennale in Brasilia, but we informed them of our endeavours via text message. During the crit, resources could have been a common theme, popping up again and again, but rather than focus on limitations the group found synergy in approaches to image making. We later managed to conference call Cook and Kitty after juggling about some time difference calculations.
Edited transcript between:
Cook Rice & Kitty Toye talking to
Antonio de la Hera & Owen Lacey
Cook: Hello Darlings! How did the critique go? Did you shape any future stars?
Antonio: Goodmorning! It was great. A really ambitious group! We had three photographers show and discuss their work.
Kitty: Only photographers? What are the chances?
Owen: Yes! It was quite nice though, it seems like a strange coincidence looking back.
K: It seems to be a trend now. With studio spaces being so expensive, a camera and a laptop can become your entire studio!
C: So who were these mystery photographers then, boys?
A: We had three artists starting with Liliana Zaharia. She presented her project ‘43 Miles’. During a period of convalescence after surgery, Liliana walked a 43 mile stretch along the Thames path in couple-mile sections until she had recovered. She photographed the
landscape and architecture of the journey, her personal narrative subliminally written into the images. She really managed to capture the development of the environment as you entered and left the knot of the city, and eventually returned to a more natural landscape.
C: Sounds like a long walk!
O: It was! She had made some really beautiful prints with a metal pigment which was really iridescent. Ideally though, she wanted to make it into a book, but is, like all of us, limited by resources. It was also interesting to present the project since Liliana usually makes intimate portraits, often of her family members.
K: I would love to see some of her other work.
A: You should commission her. She tends to spend a lot of time with her subjects, and develops strong emotional bonds to the subjects and images that she produces. With her 43 Miles project she seems to have deliberately thrown distance between herself and the trajectory she mapped or documented, seeming slightly unresolved out of the book format she was after. Liliana said she would probably not photograph landscapes again, preferring portraits.
MOBILE PHONE RINGS (Ringtone is Jurassic park theme tune)
C: Oh god sorry about this It is old Nick Serota, he won’t stop calling… Do you mind if we take 5? I have to take this.
K: For god’s sake Cook, that Nicholas is insatiable. Make it quick.
5 MINS LATER
C: Sorry! He sure can talk, so much free time now he has left the Tate. Ok sorry boys, where were we?
O: No worries. After Liliana we saw work by Louise Gough, who is an aspiring architecture photographer. She surprised us all with an abstract image of a building in Croydon which we all needed some time to decode. Everyone was speculating around the room, until someone pointed out a small corner of a window that jutted out between a series of concrete pillars, which could otherwise have seemed like steps or the rows of benches in a sports stadium.
K: Oh sounds very intriguing, I’d love to see that!
A: It was really mind boggling! Louise was keen to work out how to push it further to develop her practice to make it her main gig in life: She wanted to photograph great buildings, moments before the ribbon was cut by the mayor. As s group we wondered how the dialogue between her creative freedom and the vision of the architect would combine. Would she be restricted by someone who had been working for so long on a project that they dictated how it should be photographed?
MOBILE PHONE RINGS (Ringtone is All Star by Smashmouth)
K: Oh sorry boys! That’s mine.
C: Oh Kitty, what are you like. Who is it?
K: Ugh it’s Nick Serota. I’m gonna leave it. This is getting ridiculous, I will have a word with him later. Sorry boys, carry on.
O: Another questioned arose from what strand of her practice to follow. The abstract compositions seemed to appeal the group the most. They were quite playful, disguising what we called the ‘memes of architecture’, that is to say, all the mematic elements of buildings such as doors, windows, stairs and fire escapes.
K: What do you meme?
C: Oh Kitty, that was terrible.
K: Haha! Only joking. Carry on.
O: Well, Louise seemed to play with the representation (or lack of) in her images to confound the directness of what is otherwise straightforward architecture quite successfully. We ended up at the Helsinki Bus Station Theory… Stay on the bus.
C: I always take the number 9.
K: Cook, we all know last time you took you didn’t even know what an oyster card was…
C: Might as well call my credit card an oyster card, with the amount sea food of dinners we go though!
K: Oh Cook, you are terrible. Who was next boys?
A: Last but not least, Raquel Yago Boj presented works from a series that she’s been working on for some time, and had presented at a previous crit at TURF. Raquel’s images look like she’s visited another planet. On barren desert landscapes alien geometric bodies present themselves in fluorescent hues. What initially seemed like a photoshop construction turned out to be a real prop that Raquel had brought to the otherworldly terrain of Fuerteventura on the Canary Islands.
O: That is, if you believed her. Raquel dived right into conceptual art’s history with photography as an unreliable medium for documenting reality. We talked a bit about Ed Ruscha, especially Rocky II, which seemed like a parallel or antagonist of sorts… When taking a photograph, decisions of cropping and timing play a part in image making, but manipulating the image has never been easier than with digital technology.
C: Yes quite rightly said, I am often baffled by these things.
A: Someone in the crit brought up the work of Artie Vierkant, who also plays with this post-internet condition. As an audience we weren’t quite sure where the work existed, or what the final form was since none had seen the work in person… which seemed like the point.
K: another mind bender it seems!
C: The mind boggles. Well thank you for the update boys, stellar work as usual.
K: Yes boys Keep up the good work, these committee meetings for the Brasilia biennale are truly awful. But one must carry on, for the greater good.
O: No worries, hope your both well. See you at Frieze.
A: Try not to eat eat too many Oysters!
C: Ha we can’t promise anything, catch up soon.
K: Chow boys, don’t do anything we wouldn’t do!
… Smashmouth and the Jurassic Park theme are heard mixing in the background moments before hanging up…
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