Saw Paul Kenny’s extraordinary work at the charming Customs House space in South Shields. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me that there is a very serious man, with a camera, making images as tender and poetic as this. When you have had enough of death, destruction, banal snap shots and the fringes of society, along comes a photographer like Kenny and give you fresh hope.
Further ‘up the road’ saw the Hiroshi Sugimoto show at Edinburgh’s wonderful duo of modern art museums, The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (One & Two). This was one of the most important exhibitions of my life, I came away totally enthused and challenged. Sugimoto’s truly magnificent prints of Fox Talbot’s work have a presence and gentle power which is awe inspiring. How could a technical pioneer have put his finger on the essence of photography right at its birth? It is almost as though he had the images in him and he just needed photography to realise his art.
Sugimoto’s work with electrical charges recorded directly onto photographic plates without lenses or cameras unlock something profound and fundamental about, nature, knowledge, exploration and photography itself. They are surprisingly engaging and draw the viewer into the surface with their fine subtle morphing worlds of detail. Don’t think you have seen these if you have seen reproductions, the actual prints are a different order of experience. Sugimoto is also a remarkably articulate photographer, writing with clarity from a fresh accessible, philosophical perspective.
One of the rewards of driving to Scotland is the coast road between the border and Edinburgh. The ‘exploding heart’ was a twig found on the beach. The Anthony Gormley sculpture buried in the sidewalk is at the entrance to the Museum in Edinburgh and the Bud bottle top embedded in ashphalt was spotted in a side road off Princes’ Street.