Situations vacant

Next week, 2008’s pendulum will be set rocking by the London Art Fair, as 100 British galleries unveil their displays of contemporary art. Beyond the booths, it’s worth checking out the Photo 50 exhibition, dedicated to contemporary photography put together by the Curating Programme at Goldsmiths College. Called Untitled Tales, it draws connections between artists whose ambiguous imagery prompts us to imagine narratives of our own. One master of such an art is Jason Oddy, although his work plumbs greater depths than the theme suggests. The London-based photographer’s ongoing studies of the built environment are an inquiry into the uneasy link between human creativity and the desire for control. Oddy has written of how he is intrigued by architectural spaces, and how they represent our continuing desire to shape space, and in doing so to mould human experience. Gaining access to such emotive centres of power as the UN Headquarters in New York, the Pentagon in Washington DC or even a former Soviet sanatorium in the Ukraine, he enables us to imagine the layers of lives that these places influence. With compositions that often linger on sitting spaces, Oddy implores us to fill his images with human tableaux, and imagine – at times with fear – the man-made order they impose. These pictures are more than just invitations to tell stories, they tap into an ambiguous, unsettling aspect of being human.

Photo50 – Untitled Tales is at London Art Fair from 16-20 January, at the Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, London N1

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