contemporary art / history of art

Exhibition: Tim Porter – Fotografia

Contemporanea 2
Via Ugo Foscolo 6, Florence, Italy

23 July – 31 August 2019

Once again, Antonio Lo Pinto invited an external gallerist to curate an exhibition in his Florence based gallery Contemporanea 2. This time Didier Devillez came from Brussels and brought oeuvres by the Canadian, in Tokyo based photographer and filmmaker Tim Porter. The show presents two contrasting photo series.

In the main exhibition room, there are polaroids portraying the artist’s wife. These nudes are remarkable, because the – by the technique given – small format reflects the intimate atmosphere of the origin. The observer needs to approach the images closely. Thus, the contemplation becomes also very intimate. Moreover, the picture’s dimmed lightning, with its yellow to brown shades intensifies this effect. Composed by sparsely light and shadows, one sees only body parts of the model, which poses in uncommon postures. The head is rarely visible. These positions often lead to a tension of the body. In consequence, bones and curves are emphasised and illuminated. At the same time, these elevations produce shadows, which make other areas of the body disappear.

These intimate polaroids were made at the end of the 1990s, when digital photography was not yet common. It might be a disadvantage that the technique of the polaroid only allows one precise shot. In addition, the “development” of the photo proceeds directly and in short term after the recording of the image. The photographer has to decide instantly, when to pull away the chemicals bearing foil. No retouching is possible. Nevertheless, the images are highly composed and balanced.

In contrast to these nudes stands the series “Paradise: The Gardens of Tokyo”. Made around 2005, these digital photos are larger sized and in black and white. Here Tim Porter had the time to choose the picture section and wait for the right lightning. He even repeated the same motive at different seasons. This very systematic work allows the visitor to take a refreshment of the Florentine summer heat and look onto snow-covered Japanese gardens. Though the polaroid nudes were created in a private atmosphere, we are now in public space, although no human beings are visible. However, the motive of intimacy remains present, if not by the hanging in the smaller separated space.