I’m very fortunate to have the Turner Contemporary less than half an hour away from home. Prior to the new exhibition I planned a visit to the Yinka Shonibare Exhibition as part of the 14-18 NOW programme of WW1 Centenary Art commissions.
The Turner Contemporary has two levels and stunning views across the towards the North Sea. The light is simply fantastic and I have been countless times to photograph the sunsets and heavily influenced by Joe Cornish and use of filters for my favoured long exposure work. I can see why Turner was drawn to the town of Margate and it’s views across the coast.
Immediately entering the front of the building I was presented with several walls and shelves of vivd wax wrapped patterned books with gold inlay titles. The colours are the artisit’s signature. The spines whilst not immediately obvious are the names of immigrants who in someway have enriched British Society. I was struck by the sheer amount of names from Phil Lynott, George IV to Jenny Lind, Opera singer who settled in England in 1855.
The narrative states, “The British Library reminds us that the displacement of communities by global war has consequences that inform our lives and attitudes today.”
Turning the corner with the most stunning views out to the sea was a new sculptural piece “End of Empire”, which explored how alliances were forged in the First World War ultimately changed British Society forever, and continues to affect us all today.
I turned to my own thoughts of conflict and the scenes I witnessed in the RAF and my overseas tours of Kuwait post Iraq in 2001. The devistation was almost everywhere I looked not only at the airbase I was stationed at Ali-Al Salem but in Kuwait City. I was fortunate to make good friends with an Kuwait Sergant who escorted us to ‘Al-Quarain Martyr’s Museum’ where the Iraq army during the invasion bombed and fought freedom fighters for 10 hours.
The memories of Kuwait as are as strong today 15 years on and the descriptions of accounts by servicemen who fear of being taken to Iraq identified their bodies by self inflicted scars so their families could identify them. The hardened aircraft shelters bombed by paveway missles and scrawlings on the walls by captive Kuwait airmen were reminders of war.
The sculpture of two figures with brightly coloured dress seated on a victoriam see-saw, the entire piece moving slowly in the gallery space as described, ‘a metaphor for dialogue, balance and conflict, while symbolising the possibility of compromise and resolution between two opposing forces.’
Taking the opportunity to photograph the sculpture and utilising a combination of Lee 6 Stop and 10 Stop filters and wide angle lens I was able to slow the motion and create a sense of movement not just of the sculpture but those who passed through it. Time almost stood still yet passed slowly all captured by the sensor. I intend to use some of the images in EYV Project 2 – Collecting with a theme of “Motion”.
I’m looking forward to the new exhibition opening on Saturday 21st May – Sunday 26th Sep. 2016 ‘Seeing around Corners’. I have been told that photography may not be permitted but I feel this is worthy of a visit and combine with some of Margate’s landscapes and galleries.