Art in London, Current Exhibitions London, Events in London, travel
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Raskols and Sing-Sing


Stephen Dupont at JACK BELL GALLERY
276 VAUXHALL BRIDGE ROAD
LONDON SW1
March 25th – April 25th 2010
http://www.jackbellgallery.com

Over the past six years, Stephen Dupont has traveled to Papua New Guinea, photographically documenting its changing face and the impact of globalisaton on this Melanesian society. Shown at Jack Bells new Gallery are the resulting images. This is a well curated show and the photographs are striking and beautifully printed but I also found them confusing to interpret. Stephen Dupont used Polaroid 665 producing an immediate print that can be offered to the subject. Were these portraits made at the request of the subjects, are the subjects artists themselves collaborating on this project, or did Stephen Dupont find the last peoples of a tribe?
At first glance the images act as a reminder of the exotic and primitive. But I could not see beyond the subjects themselves for lack of ethnographical context and background. Exoticism is a western cultural construct come into being in colonial times, and one that today’s ethnographers, and anthropologists are at pains to rewrite and interpret. But given the context of Stephen Dupont view of documenting the arts and not the ethnography of this particular Papua New Guinea community, things began to make more sense and this exhibiton becomes insightful and captivating. It communicates how creativity in this part of Papua New Guinea is stunningly raw and performed with integrity to traditional symbolism and ritual. Inevitably the accoutrements of globalism as shown in some of the photographs are becoming part of the changing lives of the community and reflect on the changing living arts. The distictions between the real and the theatrical and ritual are blurred. This is intriguing and makes me want to know more about the real peoples behind the mask.
Jack Bell, recently opened this gallery with the idea of making available and giving us an opportunity to go and see and experience contemporary art from unfamiliar places.
Recommended.
JACK BELL GALLERY
276 VAUXHALL BRIDGE ROAD
LONDON SW1
THURSDAY – SUNDAY
11AM – 6PM
OR BY APPPOINTMENT

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