Simon Cunningham, Idris Khan, Maiko Hatano, Martin Newth, Katy Woods
Open Eye Gallery, Wood Street
30th September - 26th November 2005

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Following a couple of disappointing exhibitions earlier this year at the Open Eye, they have returned to form with an impressive group show featuring five young UK-based photographers.

With their work they explore the relationship between time and the photographic image.

"Using a range of techniques", said gallery manager David Williams, "from multiple and time exposure to the creation of composite images and sampled loops, they compress and distil time, stretch it out and reduce it to fragments."

Their apparently mundane scenes and images - rush hour in the London Underground for example - take on other almost otherworldly and abstract forms.

This is particularly the case with the photography of Idris Khan, which are my favourite set of images in the show.

He uses a combination of digital and analogue photography techniques to create a single image from a sequence of pre-existing or found images.

This is particularly effective in the way in ‘every...photograph taken whilst on the top of the Empire State Building 2004’ he has reduced hundreds of his holiday snaps to create a triptych of very abstract scenes.

Equally fascinating - and using a similar process - is the large sized black and white image which blends together a series of photographs of four sisters taken over decades of time by American artist Nicholas Nixon. It has a ghostly effect.

Martin Newth - in his ‘Rush Hour - London Underground’ set of pictures - has made hour-long time exposures of commuters travelling to work in various stations. This very long exposure time leads to crowded escalators looking deserted. Very strange.

Maiko Hatano also uses a railway, but in a vastly different way. She photographed the same station throughout a span of 24 hours. Her 'light spread' pieces combine the two images of day and night, and she uses back lighting to make them fade, with the viewer almost not noticing when light fades and darkness appears.

Fragments of films - including the scene where Steve McQueen is on a bike in 'The Great Escape' - are re-edited by Simon Cunningham as loops that trap the action in an endless, repeated sequence. They almost produce a trancelike, hypnotic quality.

Katy Woods - in ‘Adios, Arrivederci, Au revoir, Auf Wiedersehen’ - uses a set of holiday slides found on a street in Manhattan to produce her own slide-show. Williams describes the effect as like "...taking its intensely personal, long-lost story with it."

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