Human Relations at Imitate Modern ǀ Exhibition review
Guests arriving at the opening of Imitate Modern’s latest show Human Relations were greeted by models in black lace underwear – a glamorous introduction to this showcase of erotic photographs curated by Sascha Bailey.
The pieces in Human Relations are the outcome of a project by Sascha Bailey, the son of renowned 60s photographer David Bailey, who worked with two photographers – his brother Fenton Bailey, and Mairi-Luise Tabbakh – to create a set of photographs exploring the theme of human relationships, both sexual and platonic, described as “a portrayal of seduction and beauty…love and passion”.
The photographs included in the show are large-scale, and the majority are monochromatic. It is clear that they have been carefully considered as the models explore a range of poses. Some of the photographs fit into the body landscape category, while others are taken in a documentary style, or are more traditional portraits.
The pictures are alluring, but upon closer examination a possibly unintentional darker side becomes apparent. While in many of the photographs the models look empowered, in others they appear vulnerable, or devoid of control.
In Fenton Bailey’s Bath Tub (2011), a girl gazes upwards at the camera from the bath tub where she lies, covering her chest with her arms. Her face is almost expressionless – perhaps she is covering herself to tease her lover? But her stare also causes the viewer to take on the role of intruder in what should be a private scene.
The notion of voyeurism is central to the show, and in a set of three photographs entitled ID (2009) by Mairi-Luise Tabbakh, a girl walks down a moonlit corridor in nothing but her underwear, her breasts exposed. The series prompts several questions: Who is this girl? Whose room is she letting herself into? And what will unfold once she’s inside?
Human Relations is a show with many levels as it blurs the boundaries between fantasy and reality, modelling and real stories and messages. The show is already gaining publicity due to Bailey’s fame, however, presented anonymously, these photographs would still hold the same resonance. A thought-provoking if controversial exhibition, Human Relations is recommended for anyone interested in photography, relationships or the human form.
Photos: Allie Suwanrumpha
Human Relations is at Imitate Modern until 1st June 2013. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.