Brake photos in Stratford
Runs until 15 October 15 at the Percy Thomson Gallery.
The extraordinary exhibition, Brian Brake: Lens on China and Japan features 32 superb photographic images by Brian Brake. Selected from Te Papa’s photography collection, these images are considered by some to be Brake’s strongest work. Brake’s career largely began in the mid-1950s when he worked as a globetrotting photojournalist for the renowned Paris photo agency Magnum. Brian Brake: Lens on China and Japan offers two slices from Brian Brake’s long career; photographs of China he took in the late 1950s, and those of Japan in 1963 and 1964. These gained relatively little attention at the time, but today they firmly rank among his very best work.
Brake was one of a small number of Western photographers who gained access to China in the 1950s, and his photographs were eagerly snapped up by international magazines. They mainly focused on China’s leader Mao Zedong and political parades in Beijing, and while certainly topical and often spectacular, these made up of only a small portion of Brake’s China photographs. He travelled extensively throughout the country, and he took many photographs of everyday scenes. However it seems there was little interest in publishing images of daily life at a time when the US and China regarded each other with mutual apprehension and hostility. As well as the 32 prints, the exhibition includes documentary footage and examples of magazines in which Brake’s work appeared.
18TH INTERNATIONAL COLLAGE EXCHANGE
Percy Thomson Gallery until October 15.
For the past 19 years collage artists from around the world have each sent 13 collages to Dale Copeland in Puniho. One from each artist is shown in Stratford and offered for sale there and online. Another from each artist (called The Collection) is shown online forever, and will be sent to be part of the permanent collection of the Musee ArtColle in France. The other 11 from each artist are exchanged as fairly as possible, between other artists, and a package of exchanges sent back to each participating artist. Copeland keeps on doing it, partly as a service to artists whose chosen medium may not be mainstream, but mostly because she gets the excitement of unwrapping all this artwork, and, of course, of getting first choice of the exchanges.