London Art Reviews

Magazine of art press and reviews from London

5 Under 30 Competition at the Daniel Blau Gallery, London.

Thursday, 17th July 2014.

5-under-30-hi-res-513x659Every year Daniel Blau gallery conducts this competition aiming to support emerging photographers aged under 30 to gain recognition through our international renowned gallery.

The five winners of this year’s competition are Matan Ashkenazy, Oliver Eglin, Daewoong Kim, Ruidi Mu, and Sofia Valiente. Daniel Blau presents a selection of their work in a group exhibition in London this July. It is sponsored by Frontier Lager.

Matan Ashkenazy displays photographs from a body of work made in Switzerland which documents the physical border areas between different countries (Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Lichtenstein and France). Agreements within Europe have led to the borders being open, but there have been recent discussions about closing the borders and slowing down immigration. Matan’s work reacts to the possible changes to come, as the structures of the borders/checkpoints have the ability and potential to be closed in the future. The space depicted in these photographs remains unresolved.

Matan Ashkenazy completed his BFA at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, Israel. He is currently a candidate for his MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art, London. He has worked with Israeli and international artists including Jeff Wall and Nick Waplington in addition to developing his own practice. His recent work looks at the political use of the landscape and architecture as a controlled and policed environment.

Matan has participated in various exhibitions and projects in Israel, including a solo exhibition, and he has received a number of photographic awards and scholarships.

In the series of works entitled Markings, Oliver Eglin has photographed Ficus macrophylla trees in the Giardino Garibaldi in Sicily. This is the oldest living flora in Sicily and was imported from Australia in 1863. As Ficus macrophylla is a species of strangler fig, seed germination typically begins within the canopy of a host tree, where the seedling grows as an epiphyte until its roots have made contact with the soil. It then enlarges and subsequently begins to suffocate its host, before eventually becoming a freestanding tree of its own.

In Australia, Aboriginal peoples utilised the Ficus bark as pigmentation for their rock paintings. The Ficus trees of Giardino Garibaldi are scattered with contemporary engravings from visitors to the park. These crude markings mirror those of Paleolithic man and mimic the spiritual urge to leave a physical imprint on the earth.

Oliver Eglin is a 26 year old British photographer currently living and working in London. Raised in Staffordshire, he developed an early interest in both literature and film, which has subsequently informed his narrative and visual style. His work has been exhibited at Tate Liverpool, Foto8 and Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh. Oliver graduated from Middlesex University with a BA in Photography, having also spent time on exchange at The School of Visual Art in New York.

Following this, Oliver moved to Berlin where he spent the next three years developing his photographic study of the city. His work has since been published in Dazed & ConfusedHotshoe International and Pop. Kultur & Kritik.

The inspiration behind Daewoong Kim’s project beyond sustenance (Letter from Home) is the artist’s father’s grief over the loss of Daewoong’s grandmother. His father cannot escape a feeling of great sadness over his mother’s death and can no longer eat her food. In considering his father’s loss, Daewoong also considers the distance between himself and his own mother and reaslies that the most distinct memories of his mother are also encapsulated in food.

In this series, Daewoong Kim photographs foods that establish his identity as a Korean. His work explores the subject of loss by using photography as a means to access the past through the present. His still-life photographs invite contemplation by presenting an idea of something unmoving and unchanging.

Daewoong Kim was born in 1984 in South Korea. He is a graduate of the Seoul Institute of the Arts and has a BA in photography from the London College of Communication. He is currently a candidate for an MA in photography at the Royal College of Art in London. Based in Seoul and London, his main interests are portraiture and still life. He has participated in numerous exhibitions including the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize in 2012.

Ruidi Mu presents photographs from a series entitled Húlu. Húlu is the Chinese name for calabash. The calabash is also known as opo squash, bottle gourd or long melon. It is a vine grown for its fruit, which can either be harvested young and used as a vegetable, or harvested mature, dried, and used as a bottle, a utensil or a pipe. They come in a variety of shapes, and they can be huge and round, small and bottle shaped, or slim and serpentine and more than a metre long. In China, the Húlu is an ancient symbol for health and luck.

Ruidi photographed 100 individual calabashes for this project. Although they are the same kind of plant, they are each unique. She selected 9 photographs for this exhibition as in Chinese culture this number has special significance and symbolises infinity. This points towards the infinite number of individual differences in the calabashes themselves, as well as towards the innumerable differences between Eastern and Western cultures.

Ruidi Mu is a Chinese artist who lives and works in London. She was born in 1989 in Dandong City. Her BA in Fine Art was received from the Chelsea College of Arts. She is currently studying Photography at the Royal College of Art. Her work incorporates photography, painting, performance and video and is often concerned with identity and politics.

Sofia Valiente presents a work taken at the small community of Miracle Village, located on the outskirts of a rural town in an impoverished area of Palm Beach County, Florida – home to over 100 sex offenders. Florida legislation requires offenders to live a minimum of 1,000 ft. from any school, bus stop or place where children congregate, yet many municipalities extend this law with local ordinances that increase the distance to 2,500 ft. In reality, this becomes extremely difficult to abide by, and many offenders struggle to find housing and re-establish their lives in society. The village, founded by a church ministry, seeks to help offenders that have no place to go.

The range of crimes committed by the residents varies – from serious offences to consensual teenage relationships that had an age gap. The men are mixed in age, from various ethnic backgrounds, and they are all coming to terms with the permanence of living with this label. For over a year, Sofia Valiente has immersed herself in Miracle Village, where she has befriended, photographed, and lived among the residents. They have shared mementoes from their past life along with their stories of estrangement, solitude and rehabilitation.

Sofia Valiente is a recent fine art graduate from Florida Int’l University in Miami, FL. When Sofia was thirteen, her mother sent her to a reformatory boarding school in upstate New York. The experience of being isolated at a young age roused an introspection that has remained with her and is something that she continually seeks to understand through her photographic process. She is currently pursuing a residency in the Editorial Area at Fabrica, where Miracle Village is being produced. Fabrica is the communication research center of the Benetton Group in Treviso, Italy. Its Editorial Area investigates social and cultural changes through long-term journalistic projects.

5 under 30 will be showing at the Daniel Blau Gallery, Hoxton Square, London, until 31st July 2014.

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