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Scenes from the Art World is a major exhibition of photographs by Dafydd Jones, hosted by the Idea Generation Gallery in London. “A leading pioneer in society photography, Dafydd Jones has been photographing key art world names for the past three decades,” the organisers say. “His social reportage is a visual record of the art world’s transformation from small and unknown gallery launches of the nineteen eighties to the large scale celebrity haunts of the contemporary art market.” On show from 6-16 October, the exhibition features photos of Lucian Freud, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Jay Jopling, David Hockney, Nicholas Serota and Gavin Tuck as seen through the lens of Dafydd Jones. The Idea Generation Gallery is located at 11 Chance Street, London E2 7JB.
Idea Generation Gallery Press Release
Scenes from the Art world
30 years of Gallery culture by Dafydd Jones
Idea Generation Gallery, London
Exhibition: 6th October – 16th October
Private View: 5th October
Lucian Freud, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Jay Jopling, David Hockney, Nicholas Serota and Gavin Tuck feature in the first major exhibition by arts society photographer Dafydd Jones at Idea Generation Gallery
A major exhibition of British photographer Dafydd Jones comes to Idea Generation Gallery on October 7th.
A leading pioneer in society photography Dafydd Jones has been photographing key art world names for the past three decades. His social reportage is a visual record of the Art world’s transformation from small and unknown gallery launches of the nineteen eighties to the large scale celebrity haunts of the contemporary art market.
Working in London and New York Dafydd has witnessed the Art world change beyond recognition. From decadent aristocratic fancy dress parties in country houses, to celebrity filled Hollywood Oscar night parties, the Turner Prize announcement and Brick Lane’s more alternative spaces, Jones has documented key figures at the most unexpected and candid moments.
First published in Tatler, Dafydd Jones’ work has illustrated the pages of publications such as Vanity Fair, New York Observer, The Times and The Sunday Telegraph. Bridging the gap between attendee and paparazzi he is now an integral part of the social scene, witnessing key moments in art for the past thirty years including the first Frieze Art Fair and the opening of Tate Modern.
Dafydd trained as an artist in the 1970s where a nihilistic scene saw conventional artists struggling to break into the industry. He began to work as a photographer and set up his own studio in Oxford. In 1980 he was a prizewinner in the Sunday Times photojournalism competition for a set of pictures on The Return of the Bright Young Things. When the pictures were published he attracted the attention of Tina Brown, then editor of Tatler Magazine.Brown hired Dafydd to get the inside scoop on the London party scene documenting the excess and success of nineteen eighties Britain. He photographed early events in the London art world such as the Chelsea Arts Club Ball, the Cork Street Summer party and art dealer Kasmin’s birthday party.
“Pointing a camera at someone at a party and getting something that isn’t banal is difficult. I wanted to take photographs that recorded the memorable moments and described what was happening. I found that I liked taking the pictures that weren’t expected. I was clicking the shutter at that wrong moment, often the worst possible moment. It was reportage photography but with a paparazzi edge.” Dafydd Jones
With only a handful of galleries during the nineteen eighties, Dafydd entered a world traditionally closed to the photographer’s lens, capturing memorable and intimate moments.
Into the noughties
“I wonder about the constant round of parties where Tim and Sue, Polly, Mat, Keith, Grayson and Tracey are such familiar faces. Is it a distraction? Does it make money and bring in commissions? How does everyone keep up? Tracey Emin was defensive when I greeted her with a comment that she’d been at every party I’d been to that week.” Dafydd Jones
Into the noughties these events have become big business. With more than 150 commercial galleries in London alone and many commercial brands vying for a piece of the action artists now embrace the photographer as an integral part of the party. Highlighting this change Dafydd uses unique panoramic shots to capture the reality of the art celebrity media circus. Each image layers famous faces, hosts, commercial branding, waiters, bodyguards and paparazzi, creating a mirror image showing all perspectives: the VIP, artists and hosts alike.
“The benefit has been that for the last 10-15 years its been possible for artists living on the breadline in cheap studio spaces in London to go out every night, look at each others work and socialise with other artists - What could be better ?” Dafydd Jones
Scenes from the Art world
The exhibition entitled Scenes from the Art world: 30 years of Gallery culture will bring together a hand selected series of images from Dafydd Jones’ extensive catalogue. A panel discussion on the nature of artist as Celebrity will run alongside the exhibition and the images will be available for purchase from the Idea Generation Gallery store, affording a rare opportunity to buy some of Jones’ finest work.
“The art world knows how to party and make the most of having a good time. A party of rich bankers would inevitably be dull. But the mixture of suits, Russian collectors, socialites, young artists, the newly rich, hangers on, models, starving artists and journalists makes for a good party and a great set of shots. It’s a formula that’s worked for 30 years.” Dafydd Jones
Eloise Rowley, Gallery Manager at Idea Generation Gallery commented on the exhibition: “Dafydd’s photographs capture the art world players, away from the prepared speech, managers and PR professionals. He has become and integral part to these events and continues to produce extraordinary imagery.”
Photo: Lucian Freud at Lord Antony Lambton’s book launch, London, September 1983 © Dafydd Jones