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Live! - Culture

Twilight at V&A

Dec 03 2006 12:39
Nick Simpson
Twilight is the new photographic exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which explores the delights of evening light in various guises.
The free guide is unusually high quality

The V&A continues to display half the characteristics of a museum while still telling itself it is an art gallery. This new exhibit, Twlight, would sit better in Tate Modern than next to the Korean collection, yet the quality of photography on display is outstanding.

Comprised of small, dark bays dedicated to individual photographers, the installation is an experience to walk through with each section personalised to suit the works on display - a mixture of huge prints and tiny back to basic enlargements reminiscent of the pin hole camera era.

Probably the most well known photographer, and the first in the door, is Gregory Crewdson whose technique is more reminiscent of film production than taking photographs. Scenes are surreal and not too distant from the visions of Tim Burton in Edward Scissorhands. Other highlights include the intensely personal portraits of Bill Henson and the eerie forest scenes captured by Chrystel Lebas, a French photographer who's work covers much of Europe and probably the highlight of the exhibit for me.

In the same vein as Crewdson, Philip-Lorca Dicorcia's portfolio felt very controlled and composed, although in reality his approach is much more traditional than that of Crewdson. Meanwhile Ori Gersht provided a beautiful video, Boris Mihailov a mix of original and recreated scenes of Soviet Russia and Robert Adams modestly sized black and white photos of urban America. Last and by no means least, Liang Yue's washed out landscapes of Beijing in a sandstorm lack the richness of colour found in Dicorcia's and Crewdson's works but carried significantly more emotional weight.

As with all good exhibits it leaves one with a feeling of satisfaction but personally a couple of poorly exposed prints took the edge off of what is a collection of works which rightly deserves to pull quite a crowd.

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