In Defence of the Poor Image

26 May 2017 – 1 Jun 2017

Event times

Monday-Friday 10am-4pm (closed Bank Holiday Monday 29 May)

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Avenue Gallery

Northampton, United Kingdom

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Work by four artists which, though rooted in ideas about the printed image, takes its final form in sculpture, drawing and installation, extending the language and parameters of print.


This exhibition, “In Defence of the Poor Image” marks the culmination of this year’s Print Fellowship, now in its third year. Artists Emily Birney, Dylan Fox, Rose Phillips and Alex Small have this year chosen a title borrowed from the influential text by notable artist, filmmaker and writer, Hito Steyerl. In the text, Steyerl surveys the value or economy of images and calls for a reappraisal of the poor image, the image subjected to circulation, appropriation, manipulation, reproduction and redistribution. Although many of the examples she offers in the text relate to cinema and film, one can identify how this might relate to the production and dissemination of images through print practice. 

Steyerl defines the poor image as “a copy in motion. Its quality is bad, its resolution substandard. As it accelerates, it deteriorates. It is a ghost of an image, a preview, a thumbnail, an errant idea, an itinerant image distributed for free, squeezed through slow digital connections, compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed, as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution.” 

In their own way, each artist in this exhibition has responded to the image. Whether a hastily-taken family snapshot bearing the sign of time’s passing; or the appropriated digital image chosen for its capacity to be manipulated without recourse to copy rite laws. Despite the origins of ideas as being rooted in the image, the exhibited works by these four artists take their final form in sculpture, drawing and installation, where they find other means of extending the language and parameters of print beyond a preoccupation with "the poor image”.

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Exhibiting artistsToggle

Alexander Small

Rose Philips

Emily Birney

Dylan Fox


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