By Faith and Industry/Overlapping

Lisa Oppenheim/Carlos Garaicoa
Open Eye Gallery (16th September – 26th November 2006, Tue-Sat 10:30-17:30, Sun 12-16:00)

Reviewed by Mark Langshaw

Both artists featured in the Open Eye’s Biennial exhibition use photography to create powerful reflections on the changes wrought by time on the fabric of a city.

Lisa Oppenheim is fascinated by archives, particularly the way they allow us to slip between past and present. Her installation, By Faith and Industry is based on the archive of local photographer Edward Chambre Hardman, using textual descriptions as accompaniment rather than the photographs themselves. Juxtaposing her own images with historical text, Oppenheim prompts us to consider the relationship between image and text, merging memory and imagination in a uniquely fluid portrait of change. The works are displayed through a rustically archaic 16mm film projector.

Havana-based artist Carlos Garaicoa manipulates the surface of his own photographs using threads and pins on lambada print, creating ghostly images of the past within the present. His photographs depict the buildings and streetscapes of Liverpool. Using archive images, the artist has reconstructed the buildings which occupied these locations in the past, superimposing their outlines over the modern day imagery. Garaicoa’s work explores the relationship between architecture, history and memory in a silent testimony to Liverpool’s continuing development.

The work of both artists is thought-provoking in different ways. Oppenheim’s is arguably more challenging but Garaicoa’s imagery is more vivid, doing more for the passive viewer. The common theme of the changing face of Liverpool is highly relevant in the run up to 2008 making this show a worthy inclusion for the 2006 Biennial.

To read Hana Leaper's review of this exhibition click here

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