Edward Woodman (b. 1943) is one of the foremost photographers in the history of British contemporary art. In a career that spans six decades, Woodman’s journey as a photographer has taken him from making portraits of movie stars in the 1960s and recording political rallies and riots in Brixton in the 1980’s to documenting Damien Hirst’s seminal exhibition Freeze in 1988 and overnight photoshoots in Zaha Hadid’s architecture studio.
During the 1980s and 1990s Woodman created some of the most iconic portraits of artists and captured some of the legendary exhibitions and fleeting installations of contemporary art in Britain. Celebrated by artists for his sensitivity to capturing sculpture as well as site-specific, ephemeral and performative works, these photographs often translated the essence of an artwork in one or two carefully composed and naturally lit exposures.
His photographs have become the enduring and recognisable images of some of the most important works of the late twentieth century. This exhibition is the first retrospective that spans Woodman’s photographic practice and celebrates his remarkable career.
Space, Light and Time: Edward Woodman, A Retrospective highlights Woodman’s deep and longstanding collaborations with artists including: Edward Allington, Phyllida Barlow, Helen Chadwick, Richard Deacon, Anya Gallaccio, Antony Gormley, Mona Hatoum, Michael Landy, Cornelia Parker, Rachel Whiteread, Richard Wilson, Julia Wood, and many more. Alongside these acclaimed collaborations, the exhibition also includes rarely seen examples from Woodman’s early career as a photojournalist up to his most recent and highly personal photographs that explore photography’s relationship with memory and illusion.
“Edward Woodman has an innate understanding of how the seemingly irreconcilable qualities of the physical interventions and interruptions of space, light, and time can be held within an image.”
“There’s a fundamental difficulty in trying to capture the power and weight of a three-dimensional work in a photograph, but Ed understands how sculpture works and it comes across in his images. He is able to communicate what the artist is trying to achieve, and that’s pretty rare.”
In 1999 Edward Woodman photographed Anya Gallaccio’s ephemeral installation All the rest is silence at Sadler’s Wells in London. His vertiginous photographs of this delicate installation are included in Space, Light and Time: Edward Woodman, A Retrospective.
To coincide with this exhibition Anya Gallaccio has recreated this extraordinary installation specifically for John Hansard Gallery. Indigo dye slowly suffuses 7-metres of chappa silk, suspended in front of the window that overlooks Guildhall Square below. The daylight fixes the indigo dye, echoing the process of analogue photography throughout Woodman’s exhibition of entirely hand-printed photographs.
“It’s fantastic when you find someone you connect with and you trust, and who can preserve, present, or reflect your work in a way that is meaningful.
Edward always listened to what I had to say or what I thought was important,
and then he tried to work out how to capture that in the shot.”
Edward Woodman: The Artist’s Eye
Edited by Gilane Tawadros and Judy Adam. Foreword by Phyllida Barlow, texts by Gilane Tawadros, Woodrow Kernohan.
Coinciding with the exhibition Art / Books, Art360 Foundation and John Hansard Gallery will launch the new publication Edward Woodman: The Artist’s Eye. This beautiful monograph presents work from Edward Woodman’s entire career, including artists' portraits, studios, exhibitions, installations and performances, collaborations with artists, social documentation and more recent and personal works. It also features texts on Woodman's practice and a critical assessment of his work in the history of photography, as well as contributions from some of the artists with whom he worked most closely.
Hardback, 192 pages, £30.00, ISBN 9781908970411, published by Art / Books.