Flowers Gallery – Rebecoming

Rebecoming – Flowers Gallery
Curated by Tim Clark of 1000 words
10 Sept – 11 Oct


Founder of Photography publication 1000 Words Tim Clark has curated Rebecoming, an exhibition at Flowers Gallery exploring the experiences of immigrants around Europe. The exhibition is made up of four photographer’s work; Tereza Zelenkova, Henrik Malmstrom, Virgilio Ferreira and Lucy Levene. Each photographer works with his or her personal experiences with migration. In contrast to the assumed documentary approach to such a subject, this exhibition take a more personal, stylized look at the uncontrolled mix of feelings and experiences of individuals who have left their home countries to start a new life in a new land.

Tereza Zelenkova’s work comprises of photographs taken from her Girls & Gloves project shot in the former London Brick Factory in Bedford where thousands of Italian immigrants were in employ. The photographs portray the remnants of a run down factory, home to the last pieces of evidence that people ever inhabited the environment. The black and white photographs of empty gloves and worn images reminiscent of page 3 of the Sun are both empty and loaded with feeling at the same time. The suggestive nature of the collection of images is punctuated with an installation of a photograph of a man that is mounted to a pallet on the floor. A brick hangs of the celling directly above his crotch. The tension of suggestion works successfully in this collection, leaving the viewer’s imagination to play its part in what is seen.

Lucy Levene’s photographs also look into the lives of Italian immigrants in Bedford, her work is however more personal, photographing at family events and within people’s homes. The result of this was that she worked closely with the families’ she photographed leading to her wish to challenge stereotypes though playing with the conventions of portraiture. The awkward positioning of her subjects is constructed through her staged photography, drawing parallel on the constructed representations often formed of immigrants.

Being and Becoming by Virgílio Ferreira is perhaps the most stylized work in the show, using multiple exposures and diptychs loads his imagery with metaphor and nostalgia. This is more reflective of the emotional response to leaving your home; over and under exposed black white photography reflects well the complex experience of homesickness.

Life’s Work, the short film by Henrik Malmström, reflects on the mundane situations of various Portuguese immigrants living in Hamburg. Malmström follows those who’s lives often go unseen; cleaners, sex workers, launderette staff and commuters. These everyday lives are glimpsed into with a poetic eye leaving the viewer with a alternative view onto the lives of others.