Art History Student-ing

As part of Photograph as a Socio-Political Document – basically my main art history-ish course of this semester – I have to complete a formal analysis of a photograph. Pretty standard assignment. Also, one of my least favourites for so many reasons that I could moan about for hours but hey, I won’t bore you with my ranting here, for once!

One of the bright sides to these assignments is the fact that I have no choice but to go to a museum to prepare – such a hardship, right? And because my class all have the same task, albeit with different images, I usually get to go with friends. I love having museum visit partners!

This time it was off to Foam which is Amsterdam’s photography museum. Considering the course, that museum choice was no real surprise.

I’m always torn about Foam. Do I like going there or not? I like the fact that, when we’re assigned a visit, I end up looking at things that I generally wouldn’t choose to. I like the fact that they often have some quite difficult concepts and political commentaries running through their exhibitions. I also dislike it because if you don’t grasp (or agree with) the point they can just be downright weird. I guess you can tell that I’m not a modern art enthusiast in general. I also find Foam really inaccessible with my vision problem, from stairs that I simply struggle with beyond belief to rooms full of projections to rooms that are so crowded with small patterns that it causes me physical discomfort. It can be pretty nightmarish.

That said, the exhibition that we were visiting this time I really enjoyed. It was a small one – three rooms, from memory – about Albanian studio photography. For those of you who might want to visit, it’s called Dynasty Marubi and is on until 27th November. It’s got a really nice range of photographs showing different aspects of society over a fair span of time. Seriously, it ranges from carnival themes to postmortem photography. What you end up with is a fascinating look at both the art form, the artists and the surrounding cultures. There was information about the images (given in a non obtrusive fashion) and about the process. In addition, there were both negatives and blown up photographs on show. All in all, it was thoroughly enjoyable and I would recommend giving this exhibition a visit!


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The English translation of the introductory video comes in audio form while the Dutch is textual. There’s only one set of headphones. These are the faces of a pair who are aware they look silly, are aware they are being photographed and are still trying to concentrate… and loving every second!

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