On 3 September 2009, seventeen award-winning photographers unveiled their new work in Dying to Know
at P3, a major venue in central London. For the third year in a row, London's first and only independently and professionally curated degree show showcases the best work from graduates of the MA Photographic Studies at the University of Westminster.
A degree show, an independently curated exhibition and a highly anticipated event in the London photography all in one, Dying to Know is a unique venture. The title references the urgency and excitement of discovering the work of these seventeen early- and mid- career artists, who have exhibited individually around the world, and highlights the exhilaration of such a large reveal.
The venue indicates the ambition of the exhibition: they not only created the work filling the 14,000 square feet of the venue, they built the walls that the works hang on. Their ideas have been incorporated into the exhibition design, which showcases each exhibitor's work to its greatest advantage and respects the exhibitor's vision for their own displays, for which they are ultimately responsible.
Unintentional themes inevitably arise in a group show of this size. Some treat questions of alienation and exclusion, including a mother's observations of little girls lost in a distant world, a granddaughter documenting her efforts to research the grandfather she never knew, portraits of foreigners near tangible memories of home, cinematic portraits of strangers in the street, panoramas of disused WWII-era tunels that are inhabitable relics of a now alien cultural moment and images of elegant tableaux vivants reenacting the photographer's dream.
Others reclaim objects that have been discarded or that were created to be unnoticeable, with discarded Post-it notes meticulously catalogued as if they were scientific specimens, drab elements of the visual culture of office life celebrated for their ubiquity and decontextualised plastic devices presented as mysterious sculptural objects. Still others juxtapose powerful elements of nature with human activity: there are series of carefully selected jet trails set in enormous (and otherwise unblemished) expanses of sky; allotments in urban areas; workers apparently overtaken by magnified dust from their work environments; foot commuters exhausted by their morning run into work; and Eastern European factory workers arriving for the early shift in the purple light of dawn.
However, these are false, accidental groupings, and this exhibition has no overarching argument. It is organized to let each exhibitor's work speak for itself and to highlight the originality of each project and installation.
Dying to Know features work by Andreia Alves de Oliveira, Milcho Andreev, Estéfani Bouza, Ting Ting Cheng, Assunta Del Buono, Petter Garaas, Mikael Gregorsky, Brett Killington, Radi Konstantinov, Angela Leonidou, Despina Papachristoudi, David Penny, Lisa Phillips, Chantal Riekel, Kathrin Spirk, Sarah Swenson and Joanna Zylinska.