Raphael Preston: "Selfridges Oxford Street London 2014"
"Selfridges Oxford Street London 2014" by Raphael Preston.
"… their bodies were streaked … the dancing began ..."
Well, I haven't gone out dancing tonight (working too hard(!)) and I await the kick-off of the England World Cup match against Italy, so I have a spare hour to enjoy some writing! And here it is!
Raphael's graphic and dynamic account of window-shopping in London, invites the viewer to consider both the aesthetic and conceptual aspects of his photographic art-work. How much of the colouration is due to photo-editing and how much it was part of the display, I cannot say. However, the splattered paint seems too daring to be entirely the work of window dressers, even for a store such as Selfridges. Therefore I will assume there is at least, some editing.
The artist leaves comments refering to dancing and a battle. Conceptually, for me I can only conclude that Raphael intends to inform us about tribal dances and battles that are evoked by a shop display at a prestigious store in an affluent area of London. So, Western cultures are aspiring to tribal cultures! So much for the supremacy of the West, see Postmodern theory and globalisation/multiculturalism. I also note the cyborgesque nature of the mannequins in the series of photos. Photographers and artists who regularly reference mannequins are not only refering to the dehumanizing nature of capitalism, but the condition of "fluid indentities" and "fractured subjectivities", that we currently experience in the West. Particularly in large cities.
Well, England are kicking off soon, so after writing about the conceptual evocations of the work (and the series) I will briefly touch on the the aesthetic relevance of the work.
Like an automatic post-painterly, post-modern painting, dripping with haptic, layers of abstraction this photographic "accident" (art-concrete or "found objects"(?)) is a great example of contemporary, visual art. I resist using the term "avant-garde" because it is debatable whether there is such a thing anymore, perhaps "cutting edge" is less rigorous but more relevant?
Of course, these are my critical murmerings and they may not be what the photographic artist meant at all! I reckon I've touched upon some salient sentiments, but the artist knows best what his intentions were! I forgot to mention musicality; the energy and colour suggest a musical sensibility, but England are just about to kick off! So I'll leave you to consider this and I'll be off to watch the beautiful game....
This project keeps me on looking, and I hope it will do the same to others ….