Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pretty Ugly

Last Friday I found myself in a dark back street in a rough part of London. Not a great combination.

The V22 Ashwin Street Gallery in Dalston - Murder Mile I'm told it's known as - was the venue for artist Jasper Joffe's latest exhibition.

A peculiar (and kind of enchanting) venue, Joffe's paintings of women in underwear, some of them absolutely huge (the paintings I mean), were quite interesting.

Part of the fascination was the idea he had of splitting the two rooms into a place for pretty people and ugly people. The choice was yours (although having to walk through the pretty room to get to the ugly room kind of inhibited the concept).

For stunts like this, Joffe has previous. He once asked critics to review his exhibition before they had seen it. Interesting, yes. Publicity stunt, definitely. Still it kind of worked: I was there.

I Had planned to do some three-quarter length portraits of pretty/ugly people. But, because of the sheer scale of Joffe's work, I decided to photograph people standing next to, or in front of, the artworks.

The result? Not the set of specific portraits I intended, but a (fairly) interesting documentary of the kind of people who attend on exhibition opening like this. And it was very kind of Jasper to make me feel so welcome.

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