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The Week Middle East - - Arts -

The Week re­views an ex­hi­bi­tion in a pri­vate gallery Ead­weard Muy­bridge at Bee­tles+Hux­ley

The pi­o­neer­ing work of Ead­weard Muy­bridge (1830-1904) in mo­tion pho­tog­ra­phy oc­cu­pies a sin­gu­lar place in art his­tory. The flick book­style stud­ies he cre­ated of hu­mans, horses and other an­i­mals in the 1870s and 1880s – us­ing mul­ti­ple cam­eras to cap­ture the briefest ges­ture – are seen as in­stru­men­tal to the de­vel­op­ment of the mov­ing im­age, and have been a key point of ref­er­ence for artists ever since. For the viewer, how­ever, the ap­peal of his work lies not so much in its tech­ni­cal ac­com­plish­ment but in its glo­ri­ous strange­ness. His hu­man mod­els are more of­ten than not de­picted naked, some play­ing ten­nis, some rid­ing horses, some wrestling on the ground (fa­mously, a di­rect in­flu­ence on Fran­cis Ba­con), grant­ing the images in which they ap­pear an al­most rit­u­al­is­tic qual­ity. Some of the many small im­age sheets in this show hold the at­ten­tion more than oth­ers, but it is nonethe­less a wel­come op­por­tu­nity to see so much of Muy­bridge’s work in one place. Prices range from £700 to £4,200. 3-5 Swal­low Street, Lon­don W1 (020-7434 4319). Un­til 2 Septem­ber.

An­i­mal Lo­co­mo­tion Plates 617 (top) and 720 (be­low), 1887

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