A few weeks ago I decided to go around galleries in central London and search for exhibitions that haven’t been advertised as much online. I came across Omer Tiroche Contemporary Art (OTCA) gallery exhibiting works by Thomas Mailaender. Prussian blue, Mailaender’s latest solo exhibition comprises a diverse selection of the artists modern cyanotypes, many of which have not been shown in the past. As a fan of developed photographs, I decided to take a closer look..
Prussian Blue is a collection of amateur photographers which Thomas Mailaender collected and developed into creative and visually interesting art works. The artist begun building up his archive back in 2000, collecting more than eleven thousand images from the internet and numerous markets around Europe. To elevate his findings, he used cyanotype; a traditional method where photographs are developed and edited producing a distinctive blue-hue print.
“Mailaender has employed his archive images to create innovative works that not only entertain his audiences with their amusing and candid content but at once highlight the changing parameters of art today”
What I firstly enjoyed about this show, is the play between the amateur and the professional work. Taking a closer look at the images exhibited, they look like they could have been captured by almost everybody, illustrating veryday life moments that we can all identify with. But this fact made you stop and think, why didn’t I take that photo myself? Why didn’t I capture that moment when I havd the chance to? This is the reason I believe makes this images special, the fact that although they represent something that comes from the everyday life, they have been presented in a way that makes us stop and think, consider and reflect on that photograph and suddenly, this fact for me is what transforms an amateur photograph to a work of art
Something that also appealed to me what the way the show was curated. The works were simply placed on the floor of the gallery. The fact that they were effortlessly placed by the galleries walls created a welcoming vibe to the audience and at the same time a connection was created again between the amateur (photographs/curation) and the professional (development/gallery space) Finally it is worth taking a closer look to the smaller and a little bit more personal works shown in the gallery space. I found it more intriguing to notice the artists technique by looking at these works, maybe because the colors were a little bit more vivid, maybe because you had the chance to take a closer look at them.
Leaving the gallery, I was pleased to have come across yet another unexpected exhibition. Walking towards my next art exhibition, I could not stop thinking about the concept of amateaur and professional art. Here is a show that illustrates the perfect marriage between amateur and professional treatment. And although Thomas Mailaender is an already established, professional artist could he have successfully completed his selection of works without the help of amateaur photographers? One could argue that he could have spent time on taking photographs himself, but what is certain is that the show would have not be the same.
Thank you for reading,