The Work, Rest and Play: British Photography from the 1960s to Today exhibition presents a survey of over fifty years of British documentary, fashion and fine art photography. Arranged chronologically, the exhibition explores British society through changing national characteristics, attitudes and activities over the last five decades. Work, Rest and Play: British Photography from the 1960s to Today will be the inaugural exhibition in the new C2 Space, Shenzhen OCT-LOFT, China. The exhibition will continue to tour to Beijing and Shanghai at dates to be announced.
The Photographers' Gallery Press Release
Work, Rest and Play: British Photography from the 1960s to Today
9 May - 12 July 2015
The Photographers’ Gallery, London in collaboration with The Pin Projects, Beijing OCT-LOFT, Shenzhen and with support from the British Council present Work, Rest and Play: British Photography from the 1960s to Today. Featured as part of the 2015 UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange, this will be the first touring exhibition in China solely devoted to British photography.
This exhibition presents a survey of over fifty years of British photography through the lens of documentary practices. Featuring work by some of the most significant photographers and artists of the time, it reflects photography’s growing cultural position both within the UK and on the international stage.
Work, Rest and Play features over 450 images by thirty-seven acclaimed photographers and artists working across a wide range of genres and disciplines, including photojournalism, portraiture, fashion and fine art.
Arranged chronologically the exhibition explores British society through changing national characteristics, attitudes and activities over the last five decades. Multiculturalism, consumerism, political protest, post-industrialisation, national traditions, the class system and everyday life all emerge under the broader themes of Work, Rest and Play.
Working life finds expression and contrast through Philip Jones Griffiths’ photographs of Welsh miners in the 50s Anna Fox’s study of London office life in the 80s and Toby Glanville’s portraits of workers in rural Britain in the late 90s; Rest is depicted through landscapes and portraits of the British seaside from photographers including John Hinde, Fay Godwin and Simon Roberts; while Play features humour and the rise of popular culture realised in Martin Parr’s colourful chronicles as well as Derek Ridgers explorations of subcultures and Terence Donovan’s definitive images of British fashion.
Additional works included in this exhibition are by Shirley Baker, James Barnor, Cecil Beaton, Jane Bown, Vanley Burke, Jason Evans, Julian Germain, Stephen Gill, Dryden Goodwin, Tom Hunter, Harry Jacobs, Tony Ray Jones, Karen Knorr, Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, Melanie Manchot, Linda McCartney, Spencer Murphy, Mark Neville, Nigel Shafran, Paul Seawright, David Spero, Clare Strand, Jon Tonks, Lorenzo Vitturi, Tim Walker, Patrick Ward, Tom Wood and Catherine Yass.
Also on display is The World in London, a major public art project initiated by The Photographers’ Gallery in 2012 to coincide with the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. The project presents 204 photographic portraits, from both established and emerging talents, of 204 Londoners, each originating from one of the nations competing at the Games. It is a celebration of photographic portraiture as an artistic form of expression as well as the city’s rich cultural diversity.
Work, Rest and Play: British Photography from the 1960s to Today will be the inaugural exhibition in the new C2 Space, Shenzhen OCT-LOFT, China. The exhibition will continue to tour to Beijing and Shanghai at dates to be announced.
Brett Rogers OBE, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery said: We are enormously grateful to The Pin Projects and the British Council for all their assistance in making this project possible. As the primary venue for photography in the UK we hope to provide Chinese viewers with an introduction to some of the key themes and visual strategies employed by British photographers during this period of enormous social change.
Liu Gang, Executive Director, The Pin Projects said: Photography can best be understood in one of four ways – the photographic object, the photobook, the moving image and the exhibition space. Each offers a unique examination of the medium and its ability to convey a narrative and each represented within the scope of this ambitious exhibition, looking at British history and society over the last fifty years. We are honoured to be working with The Photographers' Gallery on brining this exhibition to Chinese audiences together with OCT-LOFT and with the generous support of the British Council, both of whose contribution will ensure the success of this splendid show in China.
Carma Elliot, Director, British Council China said: We want the 2015 UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange to offer fresh insight into UK creativity and celebrate the breadth of viewpoints and experience. This exhibition does exactly that, introducing the diversity and dynamism of photographic practice from the UK within a new creative context. We're delighted to be working with The Photographers' Gallery, in this important year for the UK-Sino relationship.
Photograph: Patrick Ward, Pearlie Family, East London, 1977 © Patrick Ward, courtesy of the artist