Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness at Whitechapel Gallery
American artist Christopher Williams’ beautifully composed exhibition, The Production Line of Happiness, transcends the boundaries between the roles of film director, picture editor and art historian. It explores the very essence of photographic art by investigating the use of photography within the movement of modernism. Since its debut in 1981, it has left a trail of astounded audiences in its wake.
The exhibition in its entirety is intended to feel like one complete piece. Upon entering, green blocks of paint on the walls guide the audience through the various galleries that are situated over two floors. Although the photography itself is meant to be examined closely, the rough, unfinished edges on the walls around the images illustrate how the exhibition itself has been put together. Another unique element is the lack of captioning for the pieces; this further indicates Williams’ intention to make this a complete experience in which the audience must observe the photographs as a whole.
The subjects of the photographs vary from architecture, exhibition design, books, posters, videos, cameras and their inner workings, vitrines and signs. All of these illustrate the use of photography in every-day commercial life by demonstrating the extent to which publicity structures rely on such imagery.
From Williams’ various studies into botanical specimens, to his hyper-realistic, deeply colour-saturated photos of kitchenware in 2014, his exhibition truly shows the power of photography. This collection of work has been put together so that the audience can really immerse themselves in a visually engaging venture, making them question the role of photography within the world today.
Amaliah Sara Marmon-Halm
Photos: Stephen White
Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness is at the Whitechapel Gallery from 29th April until 21st June 2015, for further information visit here.