True Colours

Art

Photography

Atlas Gallery

Until Sat Oct 5 2013

  • Free

René Burri, 'Horse Pool and House by Luis Barragan, San Cristobal, Mexico', 1976 © René Burri. Courtesy of ATLAS Gallery.

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Chris Kirby

True Colours described as “a trans-historical celebration of extraordinary photography” opened at the Atlas Gallery in London’s Dorset Street on September 5th and runs until October 5th. All the photographs on display are by photographers represented by the Gallery with a particular emphasis on some memorable images by Rene Burri and Ernst Haas - but also including others by Paolo Ventura, Jonas Bendiken, Adam Jeppesen, Steve McCurry and Steve Macloud and a lovely print by Norman Parkinson ‘After Van Dongen’. There are seventeen in all. Due to the Atlas’s restricted gallery space this display can in no way be compared with the excellent William E. Ewing curated “Cartier Bresson – A Question of Colour” exhibition at Somerset House last year – a display of photography that truly warranted Atlas Gallery’s True Colours somewhat over exaggerated crib-line. Good photography though is good photography and it is always exciting to see work by the likes of Haas and Burri close to. But, the actual display of photographs at the Atlas Gallery, especially in downstairs space was poor. Here spot lighting caused such bad reflections on some works it made appreciative viewing almost impossible. A door from an office was also obscuring the view of two photographs - a real shame, and one that is really not excusable in 2013 for a supposedly top London Gallery. One wonderfully mysterious work by Haas called “Torn Poster – Red Blade” (selling for £14,500) has torn corners – which have been especially protected during the framing process. Was this just a worn photo or was this a deliberate ploy as an artistic gesture by Haas to go with the concept of the work? I asked the staff – they didn’t know. Not very good I thought. The prime objective of Atlas of course in staging a display like this is selling photographs to a discerning (and moneyed) clientele - prices of the photo-works incidentally ranged from £3500 to £20,000 for the Parkinson. All in all, some wonderful photography by some great photographers - but poorly displayed in part - and therefore my visit was disappointing. -