I spent part of the weekend debating about a London trip on Monday, which would be extraordinarily bad timing and like when am I going to get any more work done when most of this week is blocked out and next has its own awkwardnesses. On the other hand, it'll get done, apparently, I don't see Roger that often and I have seen Istvan and Ettie for three or four years, maybe longer.
I also knew it would involve much attempted interrogation of Transport Direct, which would much rather default to the High Speed line and have you walk between stations than give you the journey you really want. There are options, but I'm not clear I picked the right one.
If I leave my house at 9.30 I can get to West by 10.00, usually grabbing a bus for laziness, and queue to get an £18 ticket to St Pancras which then gets me to London for 11.25. By the time I've walked to the Northern Line and gotten a tube to London Bridge it's gone 11.45, and that's by sitting at the front of the train. The Tate is a fifteen minute walk. There on the dot of noon, and we'll skip over the description of a cafe being on the ground floor but really being level 2.
If I leave my house at 9.30 I can get to East by 9.40 and queue to get a £13 ticket. This time last year this would have got me to London for 11.50, but they brought the departure time forward to 10.02 and added 10 minutes to the journey. Arrival at Victoria 11.40. I need a tube to Southwark, which is one change but claims to be a seven minute journey. I suspect you'd get there just gone noon. The next nearest tube is Blackfriars but supposedly that's a ten minute journey and besides is shut. Mansion House is a longer journey, but may be I can investigate Temple.
It still looks like I have to pay significantly extra to get to the the Tate before noon. And then I come home via St Rood so as to get a train back to East.
Anyway: the exhibition: Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera
is a photography exhibition which trie to do too many not quite related enough things, but is mostly good. It begins with candids - Philip-Lorca DiCorcia's large photos taken of people who do not know they are being photographed. There's a moral and ethical dimension here, which presumably needs to be addressed in the catalogue as it isn't in the gallery. From these c. 2000 it jumps back to 19th century street scene portraits and factory photographs, all black and white, although it seems as if many of them are looking at the camera. The caption makes a distinction between annoying nonprofessionals and acute amateurs, without necessarily explaining the distinction (it looks as if it's a professional v nonprofessional opposition being set up). It then shifts to celebrity photographs - Monroe, Taylor and Burton, a nineteenth-century countess, Paris Hilton and the Alison Jackson parodies. There's no Diana among the pap stuff, but two old looking tabloids from the period after the crash.
It's perhaps a leap to desire - whilst there are voyeuristic photographs (most strikingly ones taken of sexual and drug related acts taken from next door to a seedy club), some of these are posed. There's a distinction between deciding to exhibit and being taken. There are some fetish shots, one Mapplethorpe, relatively tame, but the most striking images are the Japanese dogging/daisy chaining sequence (although in fact I think it's more of a third party intervening in a couple's sex without their knowledge) by Kohei Yoshiyuk. I didn't watch much of the Nan Goldin film, of various sexualised encounters between her friends.
Again a leap, to photographs of hangings, lynchings, shootings and death camps. Some very strong material here, very disturbing, and probably triggery for some. Iconic stuff by Weegee (who is featured elsewhere) and stuff by Lee Miller and Larry Clark. There's an infrared painting of a lynching, viewable via a video monitor, to implicate you in the picture (h'mmm). Some early war photographs, and the iconic Vietnamese girl screaming.
The final leap is to surveillance - some post 1991 Gulf War pictures whose inclusion seemed a little tenuous, many photographs of listening posts and watch towers, with landscapes tending to the abstract. There were two striking series: a photographer who posed as a chambermaid and photographed guests' property, and a daily photograph of a square taken of the artist via a security camera.
I think I spent two hours going round and could have spent longer, if stamina allowed. I shall pop back to pick up the catalogue. I do recommend it, but with a strong health warning in terms of the sex and violence on display. £5 with Art Fund card, £10 without, £8.50 discount.