The FORMAT festival, Derby is a bianual event. Work is spread throughout the city and can be enjoyed for a month. All sorts of talks and various events are held but we were only there for a few hours so had to rush around to see what took our fancy.
We began at the QUAD to see the exhibition by Erik Kessels, Album Beauty. The work consisted of an enormous collection of found family album images. This is the description of the work as found on the FORMAT website:
“Album Beauty, an exhibition of found photographs curated by Erik Kessels, is an ode to the vanishing era of the photo album. Once commonplace in every home, the photo-album has been replaced by the digital age where images are now jpegs and live online and in hard drives. These visual narratives are testament to the once universal appeal to document and display the mundane. Often a repository for family history, they usually represent a manufactured family as edited for display. The albums speak of birth, death, beauty, sexuality, pride, happiness, youth, competition, exploration, complicity and friendship.”
I enjoyed how the work was exhibited. It was almost as if you had stepped into a giant album. The whole thing was very interesting. I particularly liked the blown up prints of which you could sift through at your own leisure.
We then moved on to The Chocolate Factory. Janet Delaney’s work was the first to grab my attention.
“I Am Your Address Of Happiness is a project which investigates the place where the past meets the future in India. 90% of India’s economy is built on independent workers. As Wal-Mart and globalised commerce enters the economy, a long established workforce will be dismantled. The guards of Delhi represent a sector of that vulnerable workforce.”
The artist I was hoping to see was also situated at The Chocolate Factory, Edward Burtynsky and his series, China. Unfortunately only one image was on display but the large print captured me enough to be satisfied.
“In Deda Chicken Processing Plant, Burtynsky focuses his camera and artist’s eye on the human servitude and control needed to produce food on a factory basis, in which cost is the defining factor.”
The work looks at the manufacturing industry in china, focusing on the vastness of the industry, its cheap labour and costs. Burtynsky captures the industrial landscapes of the world in his visually time consuming (in the best possible way) images. I could stare at any of Burtynsky’s work for hours.
There was much other work but nothing that really grabbed my attention. though a lot of the work was displayed in some interesting ways. Overall a great variety of work on show across the city and well worth the trip down.