Unseen Photo Fair 2017
Amsterdam 22-25 Sept
British artist Jo Dennis models a Photo Palace tattoo in front of Laura El-Tantawy's photographs at Seen Fifteen
Stephen Gill: Untitled, 2017 from the series 'Night Procession' at Christophe Guye, Zurich
British artist Stephen Gill has been living in rural Sweden since 2014, enabling him to make the 'Night Procession' series of infra-red forest photographs, remotely triggered by animals' night movements. Gill adds to the environmental resonance by treating the print with liquids extracted from the vegetation surrounding the 'trap', then fixes the effects by photographing the result to make the final image.
WeiXin Chong: Beige Dreams, flesh skin surface. 4, 2017 - digital C-print on aluminium at A.I., London
The most striking works at both of the most established English galleries at Unseen featured seaweed. Susan Derges' uses a tank custom-built in her studio to allow her to photograph from under and over the water with full control of its contents and lighting and their subsequent combination. For the 'Turn' series, seaweed evokes rocky pools, but we don't know where we are, which way is up and which down, nor where we'll arrive as the world turns with the tide...
Esther Teichmann: Untitled from 'Mondschwimmen', 2015, gelatin fibre based print at Flowers Gallery, London
Theo Simpson: Vanden Plas, 2017 – Layered aluminium mounted chromogenic prints bonded to 18–gauge steel sheet (British Leyland Cashmere Gold body colour / laquer) in mild steel angle iron cases at Webber, London
Theo Simpson made a splash by winning the outset unseen exhibition fund award of a 2018 solo show at Foam, Amsterdam with a series which reflects on the decline of the British car industry in which his father worked. This image combines a landscape scanned from a 1970's Rover advertising campaign (which was full of futuristic optimism even as British Leyland struggled) with Simpson's own recent image from an area still affected by the closures. The steel mounting is sprayed in a body colour used on the upmarket SD1 3500 Vanden Plas.
Maya Rochat, shown by Seen Fifteen, in performance
Carrying on with the chemical aspect of natural transformation, Nathaniel Mellors, best known for the extravagant visual and narrative absurdity of his films, also has a long-running series of photograms. He sees them as cave paintings of sorts, the cave being the darkroom in which archetypal objects are captured, only for the physical result to be folded, burned and unfolded, so that unpredictable effects take over. In this case the primordial nude of a Venus of Willendorf is melted towards abstraction.
Sybren Renema: stills from the video Discovery, 2017 at Dürst Britt & Mayhew,The Hague
The Hague's Dürst Britt & Mayhew showed a project by the Glasgow-based Dutch artist Sybren Renema which engaged with the seminal chapter in British history: video and photographic presentation documented the ascent and descent of a small fragment of Captain Scott's polar ship 'Discovery' (now in Dundee) as it rose 32 kilometres before falling to ground in Carlisle. Is space the new south pole? Was this relic giving the finger to escapism?
Polly Tootal: #43389, 2014, from the 'Unknown Places' series at Galerie Intervalle, Paris