DAMIAN GRIFFITHS 'In the Way of Things'

30 Oct 2008 – 23 Nov 2008


London, United Kingdom


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  • 8,67,149,242,243,388
  • Liverpool Street / Old Street and Shoreditch High St. overground

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‘In the Way of Things' considers the photograph simultaneously as image and object. Despite working within the methodology of documentary photography Damian Griffiths' works are seldom narrative, topographic, or even accurate evidence - they slip between various technical and conceptual strategies, to enable the reading of the photograph to shift from what is directly recorded into a more metaphorical language, existing without the frame. In installation these photographs are questioned further when elements of scale, variations in mounting and juxtaposition come into play, bringing sculptural elements into the equation, helping to create new poetic forms. The photographs are taken with as little inflexion or falsely rhetorical flourish as possible so that we can be absolutely sure when our assumptions are thwarted: things are not quite what they seem, slippery reality intrudes. Our certainties about the ‘actual' in a photograph are misplaced. The ‘subject' hovers above the green of a roof tile as much as any leap into the void. Just off-centre a symmetrical building is subtly de-stabilised, throwing our glance to the edge where an incidental element suggests another photograph outside this frame. And again within the exhibition itself, the photographs - hugely enlarged or almost facetiously reduced - similarly destabilise their role as recording medium, becoming objects that demand and yet parry our attention. To talk of some of these images as unpeopled sets is to go a little way to establishing the desire Griffiths has not to manipulate. The action has not yet taken place, but nor are we waiting for it. We are allowed to examine the world without having to worry about any plot development. ‘The building draws its own picture' as Fox Talbot put it of his first images, and we are generously allowed to draw our own conclusions. These are indeed action shots even though the action need never occur - Griffiths has found himself at just slightly the wrong place at exactly the right time and exposes the ‘decisive moment' as a sleight of hand antithetical to the medium. Each photograph's self-questioning is so lightly explored that we catch our selves speculating upon how it could be no other way.

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