Monday, 1 November 2010

BATTLESPACE - unrealities of war

Battlespace: The environment, factors and conditions, which must be understood to successfully apply combat power, protect the force, or complete the mission. This includes the air, land, sea, space, and the included enemy and friendly forces, facilities, weather, terrain, the electromagnetic spectrum, and information environment within the operational areas and areas of interest.
—US Department of Defense.

Battlespace, an exhibition of photographs from Afghanistan and Iraq that brings together the work of twenty-five photojournalists around the world, comes to London this November.

The exhibition presents an unsanitised view of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to a public that has been shielded from disturbing images of war. Battlespace questions the perceptions, agendas, and narratives of the military and the media, and attempts to offer an unfiltered account from a group of photographers who saw it firsthand.

These photographs were made in Afghanistan and Iraq, but they don’t claim to depict either country. They are glimpses of an alternate reality built upon those countries. The images do not provide a comprehensive account of these wars, or an understanding of these nations or their peoples. They are fragments, seen in off-moments behind the walls of concrete super-bases, or outside them, through night-vision goggles and ballistic eye shields.

Counter insurgency theory, once again fashionable, holds that the prize of modern warfare is not the territory but the minds of the population within. The battlespace is not solely defined by map lines or grid squares, but also in the areas of perception and illusion. In this shifting, human terrain, there are no facts or truths, only competing agendas. Messages are shaped and transmitted, from bunkered press officers to journalists who report from behind blast-walls and cubicle partitions. Unpleasant, complex, or off-message images are filtered by both sides, and war stories are recycled through the echo chamber. Battlespace aims to present unfiltered and uncensored images and thereby give the viewer a real opportunity to discover, for themselves, the realities of war.

BATTLESPACE – unrealities of war
Photographs from Afghanistan and Iraq by
Andrew Cutraro, Ashley Gilbertson, Balazs Gardi, Ben Lowy, Christoph Bangert, Eros Hoagland, Ghaith Abdul Ahad, Guy Calaf, Jason Howe, Jehad Nga, Lucian Read, Luke Wolagiewicz, Moises Saman, Petervan Agtmael, Rita Leistner, Stefan Zaklin, Stephanie Sinclair, Teru Kuwayama , Yuri Kozyrev

Battlespace runs from November 9th to 30th 2010 at Great Western Studios, 55, Alfred Road, London W2 5EU. Monday – Friday: 10am – 6pm, Saturday & Sunday: Noon – 5pm

Battlespace will be accompanied by a programme of talks, film, poetry and Q&A events related to the exhibition and its subjects. Details TBA – Watch this space for full details:

For further information, please contact / 07984 462 358 or / 07814 862 834 ,

Teru Kurayama, the show’s original curator and a participating photographer is available for interview until Nov 8th, when he’ll be traveling back to Afghanistan.

In association with the Photography Course and Media & Communication Department at Coventry University, Great Western Studios & The Frontline Club

Monday, 18 January 2010

EPOH BEECH: 'The Marriage of the Thames and the Rhine'

For Epoh Beech’s latest solo exhibition in London, the accomplished fine artist has created 45 ethereal charcoal drawings, and a hand drawn animation, inspired by Wagner’s The Ring, and Francis Beaumont’s 17th Century tome The Masque of the Inner Temple and Gray’s Inn, Gray’s Inn and The Inner Temple: This Jacobean ‘masque’ was performed at Whitehall Palace in 1613, forming an integral part of the nuptials of the daughter of King James I to Frederick V. The pairing was a metaphorical marriage of Germany with England, and a symbolic union of the Thames and the Rhine.

Beech’s drawings are an investigation into the historic relationship between the Rhine and the Thames. Central characters in Beech’s narrative are Hermes, in the form of a seal, and Pegasus the mythological horse, both bearing witness to the voyage of the imagination, unhindered by the straightjacket of history and time.

An expert draughtsman who trained as a fine artist at Studio Simi in Florence, Beech’s drawings posses an innate romanticism which betrays literary influences such as Goethe, and a passion for music which has encompassed 9 years of violin practice and a passion for Wagnerian compositions. William Kentridge, Anselm Keifer and Samuel Palmer have also been powerful influences on Beech’s practice. The use of charcoal to create such heady imagery is symbolic, and highlights the transformation of dark matter into the light, with a debt to the 15th artists of the Italian renaissance that Beech came across during her studies in Florence.

The fragile, spindly trees featured in Siegfried in the forest are reminiscent of Klimt’s nature paintings, whilst the moonlit mountains described in Pfalzgrafenstein Island evoke the German Romanticist Caspar David Friedrich. Beech has made a natural progression from the series of still narratives, to a 3-minute animation. The animation will be projected in the gallery, and forms a perfect visual compliment to the series of charcoals.

The animation has a dual meaning; it is both symbolic meditation on a journey into the unknown through the eyes of Pegasus and the seal, both on a quest to heal old wounds and create a sense of unity in their universe; and also an exploration of the geographical history of the Thames and Rhine, which at the end of the last ice age formed one single river. Pegasus not only represents justice and wisdom, but also acts as a muse to the Poets.

Beech is currently creating 8 murals in the crypt of St Luke’s Church in London’s Sydney Street. Beech’s training in Florence has infused her work with a Florentine tinge, whilst there is a strong use of narrative, combined with an investigation into the relationship between images, colour and the subconscious. Beech also studied in Cheltenham and London, trained as a specialist painter with Jim Smart, a pioneer of the specialist painting trade, and spent 4 years at Chelsea School of Art. Beech currently lives and works in London, out of the ACAVA studios in West London.

The meditative quality of Beech’s drawings is perhaps a result of the time she spent at a Tibetan Monastery, and her studies in Art Psychotherapy. Previous exhibitions include; Shakespeare and Globe theatre (1998 Shakespeare poem exhibited in Oxford at OUP); Walking 600 miles to Santiago de Compostella across Spain (2002 exhibition); Walking along the Rhine from source (on going) (2004 exhibition). Beech has spent time working in a hospice and prison as an art teacher, has an MA in Art Therapy, and runs art workshops.

2-7 March, 2010
50 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DP

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10am-6pm
Thursday 10am-8.30pm
Saturday 12-7pm
Sunday 12-5pm