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Photos of Brightons inhabitants present them as “wild and indignant”


* 29 October 2003 *

Photos of Brighton's inhabitants present them as “wild and indignant”

A new exhibition at the Gardner Arts Centre features photos of Brighton's inhabitants that present them as "wild and indignant, possessed of fury", according to the University of Sussex art historian who has curated the display.

In images taken over the summer, renowned Ukrainian photographer Boris Mikhailov explores the social life of Brighton for his first commission in this country.

Curator Professor David Alan Mellor says the artist's visit in July 2003 was, in part, motivated by his fascination with the old and his questions about the fate of the elderly and their culture.

The images on show include a set of black and white photos of a women's bowls tournament on Hove seafront. "The spectacle of the mature lady bowlers, figures of a reserved purity dressed all in white, against the green turf and hedges, riveted Mikhailov," says Professor Mellor.

He describes the works as a "set of lyric narrative fantasies" in which Mikhailov presents Brighton's inhabitants as "wild and indignant, possessed of fury - even while playing bowls - but also ageing and clinging to insignias of power".

As well as photographing the social life of the seafront, the Ukrainian also took pictures at the Brighton station car boot sale and in London Road.

"His desire was to find some moment where both age and eroticisim were conjoined," says Professor Mellor. "Vivacity was the key for him as he photographed bright elderly women laughing at a bus stop on the London Road."

The exhibition continues at the Gardner Arts Centre gallery until 23 November. It forms part of the Brighton Photo Biennial 2003, which has received funding from the University of Sussex and for which Professor Mellor is chair of the board of trustees. See www.bpb.org.uk for details.




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