Sunday, 22 January 2012

Diane Arbus

A comprehensive retrospective of her work at the Jeu de Paume - get your skates on it closes on 5 February. Famous images (trannies, circus performers, nudists, scary-eyed patriots, even scarier old women and odd-looking children) and the almost unknown such as the Hallowe'en parade of Down's children and young adults.

Titles are striking in their political in-correctness. Today we would not note ethnicity or religion so boldly, yet the Down's children are all 'Untitled'. This provoked a discussion with my companion as to whether PC is too PC and whether I am trying to hard. One favourite was Germaine Greer sticking a finger at the world, curiously just titled as 'Feminist', but in a book I riffled through later it is titled with her name. I wonder why this was changed? Curious.

Favourite Arbus quote on photography: 'They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they are still there looking at you.' Just so.

A haunting exhibition. It was good to see all these images gathered together. Well worth 8.50 Euros of anyone's hard earned. Go early as there was no queue before noon.

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