London Art Reviews

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“Finders Keepers” celebrates twenty years of Michael Hoppen Gallery.

Finders Keepers” celebrates twenty years of Michael Hoppen Gallery.

H. Aldous Brandisher – Thursday, 13th December 2012

“offers a unique journey through captivating photographs”

Unknown Photographer, Tornado, USA, 1950s, Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery

Unknown Photographer, Tornado, USA, 1950s © Michael Hoppen Gallery

The Michael Hoppen Gallery opened in 1992. To celebrate its twentieth birthday, the owner has organised the exhibition “Finders Keepers”.

Michael Hoppen displays his own private collection of photographs. The exhibition shows work by famous lensmen alongside to the unheard artist, as well as several images by unknown photographers.

Michael Hoppen unveils the gallery’s largest public exhibition to date. Presented over three floors, “Finders Keepers” brings to light photographic gems, handpicked for their fascinating narrative, masterful technique and historical relevance, ranging from anonymous 19th century pictures to iconic post-war snapshots. “Finders Keepers” offers a unique journey through captivating photographs, full of beautiful and bizarre stories that reflect Hoppen’s personal interests and passions, and his extremely focused appreciation of the image.

Reducing from thousands, “Finders Keepers” brings into 130 images the extensive collection of Michael Hoppen where traditional landscapes and abstract photographs are very few.

Michael Hoppen was collecting before opening the gallery in Chelsea. He worked as an editorial photographer before he became a curator and dealer.

Michael Hoppen basically, collects the photographs he likes. The formation of his collection has grown out of two elements: a strong

James Nasmyth and James Carpenter, Plates from 'The Moon', 1885,

James Nasmyth and James Carpenter, Plates from ‘The Moon’, 1885 © Michael Hoppen Gallery

and passionate interest in photography, and a deep and addictive love for collecting. It has never been simply about ownership. The hunt for and discovery of an image has always been more important and exciting than its acquisition.

While the collection features some contemporary photographs, it is mostly comprised of exquisite vintage works, covering a wide variety of genres such as anonymous photography, evidential photography, boxing images, travel and anthropological photography. This vast range of images exemplifies Hoppen’s eclectic taste and collecting style; photographs were never envisaged as part of a larger ‘collection’ but rather attained for their own individual merit.

Remarkable and surreal images in the collection include Charles Jones’s lovely, luminous peach; Nikolai Kuleschow’s surveillance balloon; Fredrich Seidenstucker’s uproarious trio of kitchen maids; Anton Stankowski’s photogram of a ghost-like baby; striking anonymous images of birds on wires; fireworks like mysterious handwriting in the sky, and the forensic close-up of a pistol pointed directly at the viewer.

Other artists represented in the collection include Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Roger Ballen, John Deakin, Garry Winogrand, Lee Miller, Ernest J Bellocq, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Hunter S Thompson, Boris Savelev, Tod Papageorge, Terry Richardson, Sarah Moon, Desiree Dolron, Polly Borland, Weegee and Enrique Metinides, amongst others. A significant part of the collection testifies to Hoppen’s interest in and knowledge of Asian photography, with works by Nobuyoshi Araki, Daido Moriyama, Kishin Shinoyama and Shomei Tomatsu.

Louis Pierre Rousseau, An early pair of images of a 19-month old Lioness's jawbone, 1853,

Louis Pierre Rousseau, An early pair of images of a 19-month old Lioness’s jawbone, 1853 © Michael Hoppen Gallery

To accompany “Finders Keepers”, the gallery will publish a limited edition book of the same title. Rather than being organised by date or genre, the photographs are arranged by date of acquisition, with each page including annotations by Hoppen about their discovery and the history behind the works. “Finders Keepers” offers the reader and the public a fascinating and engaging mix of visions from far-flung places and other times, a world in which beauty meets the grotesque, fantasy meets reality.

Michael Hoppen, born in South Africa, has been interested in photography since the age of eight. Educated in the UK since arriving in 1961, Hoppen attained a BA Honours in photography, film and television in 1980 at the LCC, and then did a year at the Royal College of Art in London. He then ran his own studio as a commercial photographer which he closed in 1991. The Michael Hoppen Gallery opened in 1992, and then Shine Gallery (now Michael Hoppen Contemporary) opened in 2000. Both galleries are committed to photography in all its guises and hold regular exhibitions in 19th, 20th and 21st Century photography.

The gallery deals on a regular basis with museums such as the Victoria & Albert Museum and Tate Modern in London, The Pompidou Centre in Paris, The Albertina in Vienna and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, finding museum quality and rare photographic material for acquisition. The gallery also advises many companies on their collections and visual merchandising strategies, such as N.A Rothschild, British Airways, GAP, Polo Ralph Lauren, Pfizer, Citibank and Deutsche Bank, to name a few.

Hoppen sits on the Tate Modern Photography Committee, The Coesia/GD4 Art Committee for the new photography museum in Bologna, Italy, The John Kobal Foundation Committee and the Advisory Committee for the Renaissance Photography Award.

The Michael Hoppen Gallery also runs a limited edition publishing house called ‘Guiding Light’, which publishes small run (1000 copies) high-quality photography monographs for estates and contemporary photographic artists.

From 12th December 2012 until 30th January 2013.

At the Michael Hoppen Gallery, 3 Jubilee Place, London, SW3 3TD.

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This entry was posted on December 13, 2012 by in News, Private Galleries and tagged , , .

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