EDINBURGH.- Stills' Social Documents
programme continues with Allan Sekula's photographic and filmic mappings of modern life. Whether documenting labour conditions, the material flow of goods or protest movements, economic themes have dominated Sekula's work since the early 1970s. Informed by both conceptual art and the history of social documentary photography his 'critical realist' approach brings together text and images to examine the complex social realities produced by the globalisation of economic structures.
In 1995 Tramway presented Sekula's epic photographic installation Fish Story which explored the worlds of seafaring, ports and harbours in the era of advanced capitalism. For Stills he returns once again to the subject of maritime space to present his recent series of photographs Ship of Fools alongside his award-winning documentary film The Forgotten Space. Together, they examine the sea as a space of trade, work, exploitation, activism and the sublime.
As a prelude to this exhibition a retrospective of Sekula's moving image works will be screened in the gallery in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Spanning over three decades of his practice, the films will be both projected at set times and available to view on individual monitors. From early performance-based works to a meandering video essay inspired by the Scottish economist Adam Smith's thoughts on the concept of risk, these films give a unique insight into the development of Sekula's practice.
Social Documents is a trilogy of exhibitions that examines the re-emergence of documentary modes and tropes in contemporary art since 1990. The programme began in 2010 with The Ethics of Encounter (2010) and will conclude next winter with another group exhibition entitled ECONOMY.
Focus Space - Richard Williams: United States 12 November 2011 - 18 March 2012
Staying with the theme of the sea, Richard Williams will exhibit a series of photographs and artefacts that examine the past, present and future of the once glamorous ship, the SS United States. The last - and fastest - ocean liner built by the US, its decaying 990-foot structure is now moored opposite an IKEA store at Pier 82 in the great port of Philadelphia, a place full of ruins from the industrial age.