Four students and one tutor at Ffotogallery, Penarth, South Wales on Friday 22nd June, to complete two objectives; 1. See and discuss the exhibition of Adriana Groisman’s work ‘Voices of the South Atlantic’ and, 2. to have a tutorial with Jesse Alexander where we were to bring along work in progress ‘that is not too finished’ , so that we could all comment on each others work.
The morning was spent looking at the exhibition and work and listening to one of the curators about the show.
The work has taken Groisman 8 years so far and the exhibition was mounted to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War that these images commemorate. Many of the veterans from both sides, and the Falkland Islanders themselves, co-operated with the making of the series. Although the Ffotogallery exhibition is small, due to space constraints, it is extremely impressive and a second, simultaneous exhibition is being held in London with more of the images.
The upper hall is laid out with the two leading military leaders facing each other, either in confrontation or reconciliation depending upon the individual point of view. Other images of the former adversaries are laid out on one of the flanking walls and opposite them is the most impressive and very powerful piece of the exhibition; 504 individual tiles dedicated to the men who lost their lives at sea, laid out in a grid, in alphabetical order and without rank. Several blank tiles have been left at the end to cater for anyone who was later found to be unaccounted for, as can sometimes be the case in military conflicts.
Downstairs is the audio-visual installation where veterans speak about their experiences whilst footage of the landscape, the detritus of war, images from the time are shown, totally unconnected with the audio so no inference can be given to what the speaker is saying. Very moving and very powerful.
Discussion about the war itself, the effects and after-effects flowed freely and little of the technical aspect of the work was brought up.
The afternoon was filled with discussion about the work presented by each student with everyone giving their critique of what they saw. The time passed very quickly but it was still late into the afternoon before a halt was called.
A further event along the same lines was agreed and, I for one, eagerly await the announcement of the date and venue.