This exhibition of photographs taken during the 1970's of working class estates in the poorer areas of liverpool, demonstrates how significanty things can change over a relatively short period of time. Despite the impoverished conditions, the families and people living within the area seemed to be having a happy and content life. Families are seen to live together in apparent harmony, with a strong community spirit. The photos are captured honestly, documenting a moment in time that was not staged nor posed. Whether or not this was an accurate depiction of the general mood of the people living within this era is unknown, but the photos ultimately illustrate that happyness is found in relationships, not necessarily in the aquisition of material goods that modern times suggest will make us happy.
"In 1975 Paul Trevor came to Liverpool to document inner city deprivation for the 'Survival Programmes' project. His remarkable photographs tell a different story however. Their backdrop may be the dereliction of post-war Liverpool. But these images go beyond this bleak cityscape and get close to his real subject: families and children.
Paul's direct and honest street photography shows life as it was lived in a community defiant in the face of poverty, unemployment and the state of their surroundings. He depicts a place where the streets and wastelands became playgrounds, the family was a constant, and where children seem fun-loving and free.
Paul returned to the same Liverpool communities in the summer of 2010. After a lively reunion with local residents, one said:
"Paul, it's like you’ve never been away!" - Walker Art Gallery
The Quay Brothers
I was advised to go and see this exhibition by a fellow art student (shout out to Reuben), as he felt the work had the same 'atmosphere' as my final installation. The work consisted of a series of box setups that were dark and surreal. The Quay Brothers create stop-motion animations within these sets using puppets. The films avoke half-remembered dreams and long suppressed childhood memories. I have a massive urge to start making puppets over the summer, but have no knowlegde about film, and wouldnt know where to start with a narrative. I could always cross that brigde when i came to it. I think im a 'maker', i've always enjoyed creating physical objects, and creating film within box with dark puppets would really push me to try new things, and could be an interesting development of my previous work.
A few photos of installation.
I found it particularly hard to take photos of my installation due to the low levels of light. As soon as i used a flash it bleached everything, and made the room look corporate and bland again. I edited these abit to enhance them, but decided to film the work aswell. I slowly walked round the space as the viewer would and recorded it simply on my camera.
For the first hour on our opening night there was a general sense of tension, we all had our doubts as to whether people would actually show up. I also felt pretty nervous about how people would react to my work, however the turn out was pretty good, and everyone was positive about my piece (at least to my face). I got mixed comments regarding my installation, generally along the lines of 'its really creepy in there'.
A friend kindy gave me some feedback which has been really useful, thanks stuart...
'My first thoughts are of spiders - a good image, they're very lyrical creatures. Probably because there are so many legs. Not only the abundance of tied-up and dangly things (as if in a web), but the dolls' limbs reminded me either of dismembered flies, or the multiple legs of spiders. Again, in my eyes, this is all good, ok?
I liked the arresting nature of the room - the sound of the ventilator outside forced me to concentrate on whether it was a soundtrack, traffic, or ambient noise - i decided on the latter, but it seriously complemented the atmosphere, which i think i've said was very effective.
As for your qualms about the plugs, i found that, with the door to my left and the dangling fishnets, i could line them up so that the socket was obscured, and - as far as my perspective was concerned - the room was entirely analogue, which fit with the overall 'affekt' one of the first half of the Twentieth Century being summed up, not as fifty years or five consecutive decades, but one block of fashion.
Particularly arresting were the newspapers around the room. I don't know if you intended it, but no headlines were left unobscured, and so the identity of the funeral's subject had to be either deduced or simply guessed. Similarly, the pallet of yellowing paper, wood, and blue was really well-balanced. The only tiny tiny tiny tiniest point would be that some more lighting, perhaps more spread out, or more from below, would have really added to the already quite expressive shadows cast from the low-level lamps.'
(My space turned into quite a social envionment, with people chosing to come in and sit on the floor, which can be seen in photo above)