Saturday, 30 May 2015

Designing ghosts

I do have a soft spot for a dodgy art exhibition. Just a few days ago I went to see a Moscow exhibition representing recent works of the British School of Design. I had no idea what to expect, which is a defence mechanism we have all developed. Modern art shows can offer you basically anything, from full marks to less than zero, and you should approach them blank and empty.

Inside, I saw a few scattered walls facing each other, with a bunch of photographs stuck to them. These photographs, you are led to believe, represent the interests/concerns/anxieties of the School’s students. The whole thing is rather unspectacular, but also intriguing in its own way. Young people’s ideas are rarely boring.

Yet the problem was obvious and very modern: absolute majority of these photographs are nothing without captions. Which is not the way photographs work: the counterpoint has to come the way of the image, not the way of a few words written underneath. Some of these words could be funny and witty and I do see the point of a good inscription, but this was like social network without the Internet.

One girl was good though. Sadly, I didn’t get her name and I probably violate the copyright in a rather ruthless manner here, but the photograph was too good to resist. The caption is just one word: “Ghosts”. Short and sweet. The girl has the style and the edge, and it’s evocative: you get an idea, you think of a song, you feel the vibe. Which I guess proves the point I’m trying to make: if it’s art, and I presume these works had to go through some serious selection process, the image should work on its own. This one does. 

Some others did, too. And even those that didn’t still had something to say. If only for a second or two, if only from a certain angle that might avoid you for the entire duration of your stay. Really, no art exhibition is entirely worthless.