In Performing for the Camera, the Tate Modern showcases works by over 50 seminal photographers in order to explore the performative side of photography. With sections ranging from the documentation and staging of performance pieces to public relations and performing real life, the museum does a wonderful job of thematically organizing a sprawling medium.
The exhibition is packed with thought provoking combinations of and reflections on the intertwining relationship between artist and camera. One example of this is the inclusion of the art historically significant image Self Portrait as a Drowned Man (1840) by Hippolyte Bayard and the performative Instagram images of Amalia Ulman. Both works validate and give context to our selfie-obsessed culture at different ends of photography’s technological evolution.
With over 500 works including photographs from art world superstars such as Andy Warhol and Cindy Sherman next to lesser known photographers, the exhibition is incredibly informative and entertaining. The thoughtful curation manages to draw strong connections globally and temporally while forcing the viewer to confront their own involvement in today’s world of widespread amateur photography.
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Performing for the Camera Tate Modern, 18 February – 12 June 2016
Installation views of Performing for the Camera, Tate Modern
18 February – 12 June 2016
Courtesy of Tate Photography: © Joe Humphrys, Tate Photography
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