From the Arts Council Collection and the British Council Collection
A document of British photography from the late 1960s until the late 1980s, No Such Thing As Society draws from the collections of the Arts Council and the British Council to give a radically new picture of these two turbulent decades.
The early 70s saw the emergence of new and independent approaches to documentary photography which focused on social realism. The leading exponent, Tony Ray-Jones, captured the comedies of social class and the absurdities of human behaviour within the constraints of British culture.
The human costs of de-industrialisation and globalisation were the great central themes of the documentary photographers active in the North of England in the late 70s and 80s. The social disasters captured in Chris Killip’s work extended into the darkly coloured, claustrophobic interiors of DHSS offices photographed by Paul Graham, and Martin Parr’s lividly coloured documents of holiday makers in New Brighton, Liverpool.
By the end of the 80s, the status of photography within the artistic context had been established. Motifs of intense political dissatisfaction spread across the urban vistas of Ian Dobbie, while more conventional forms of photo-journalism of urban conflict in the North of Ireland and the streets of South London were employed by Philip Jones-Griffith and Paul Graham.
Curated by David Alan Mellor, Professor of Art History at the University of Sussex. David Mellor has written and curated extensively on aspects of post-war British art and photography, including Antonioni’s Blow-Up, London 1966 (2006), Liliane Lijn, Works, 1958-1980 (2005), Interpreting Lucian Freud (2003), and The Art of Robyn Denny (2002).
Keith Arnatt, John Benton Harris, Ian Berry, Derek Boshier, Victor Burgin, Vanley Burke, David Butterworth, David Chadwick, Tarik Chawdry, John Davies, Ian Dobbie, Peter Fraser, Gilbert & George, Paul Graham, Brian Griffin, Christine Hobbeheydar, Alexis Hunter, Phillip Jones-Griffiths, Chris Killip, Bob Long, Markéta Luskačová, Ron McCormick, Peter Marlow, Daniel Meadows, Peter Mitchell, Raymond Moore, Tish Murtha, Martin Parr, Gilles Peress, Tony Ray-Jones, Jurgen Schadeberg, Graham Smith, Chris Steele-Perkins, Homer Sykes, Paul Trevor.
This exhibition toured to the following venues:
15 March – 27 April 2008
Aberystwyth Art Gallery, Aberystwyth
10 May – 13 July 2008
Tullie House, Carlisle
19 July - 31 August 2008
Art Gallery, Leeds
12 September - 1 November 2008
The Exchange, Penzance
14 November 2008 - 4 January 2009
Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw (Poland)
31 January - 31 May 2009
Arbetets Museum, Norrkoping (Sweden)
4 July - 4 October 2009
National Museum and Gallery, Cardiff
31 October 2009 - 7 February 2010
Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle
For more information please contact Alison Maun firstname.lastname@example.org
Top image:Tony Ray-Jones, Beauty Contest, Southport, 1968. Courtesy the artist. © the artist 2007.
Bottom image: Paul Graham from Beyond Caring. Boy and window bars, Handsworth, DHSS Birmingham, 1985. Courtesy the artist. © the artist 2007.