Ian Jeffrey & Brett Rogers - Inscriptions and Inventions: British Photography in the 1980's

  • The British Council Visual Arts Publications, 1987
  • Soft Cover
  • 21 x 20 cm, 48 pages
  • Text in German
  • Condition: Very Good. General shelf wear to the cover of the book with some slight knocks at the top and towards the spine. Interior pages are bright and colourful.

This exhibition explored developments in British photography which reflected the fresh visual and conceptual energy that characterised the medium during the 1980s. The majority of the artists represented in the show worked in colour, either because of its inherent descriptive potential or for the opportunities it provided for a more subjective form of expression.

Whilst the selected artists came from disparate backgrounds and could not be seen as forming a coherent group or movement, they did have many common concerns. As well as rejecting the dominant mode of the 1979s, photographic formalism, they bypassed the more stylistic imports from across the Atlantic: the New Topographics. Instead, they demonstrated a keen interest in subject matter, whether scrutinising everyday object (Verdi Yahooda, Peter Fraser, Richard Wentworth); re-examining aspects of the vernacular landscape (Martin Parr’s New Brighton, Jem Southam’s Cornwall and Ron O’Donnell’s Scotland) or adopting a distinctly bizarre approach and constructing fictional environments (Boyd Webb, Ron O’Donnell). Whilst the latter experiments were conceived very much in the spirit of one-off fine art images, the remaining works often drew on the distinctly photographic convention of the photo-essay (Parr, Graham, Fraser, Southam , cutting) or series (Yaooda and Arnatt). Despite these links with the past, none of the work included in the show could be said to reflect the literary romanticism and monochrome documentary traditions which had been the mainstay of the British photography up to the 1980s.

The exhibition originated in 1987 and toured to Belgium, former Czechoslovakia, Denmark, German Democratic Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, former Soviet Union, Sweden and the former Yugoslavia; it was disbanded in 1992. A catalogue was published to accompany the show, with an essay by Ian Jeffrey, entries by Brett Rogers and biographical and bibliographical notes on the artists. Text in German