London Metropolitan University’s final-year photography exhibition has become a fixture in the East End artistic calendar, and this year the show has glided gracefully online at cassphotography.co.uk/exhibition.
Fortunately, photography is a medium that lends itself well to digital display. But as if one dislocation were not enough, London Met has had to front up to the recent backlash against slave trader John Cass, whose name had until recently been affixed to the name of their School of Art, Architecture and Design, and thus to the exhibition.
The university was adept in its reaction, expunging the Cass association promptly on 10 June in recognition that “the use of Sir John Cass’ name contributes to the redemption of a man without acknowledging the enormous pain he caused”.
These ruptures in the genesis of the
Cass Photography 2020 exhibition ripple across the images that make it up.
Dislocation, distortion and fragmented identities are themes that weave their way through a large proportion of the collection.
In other ways, the 14 photographers whose work is displayed vary considerably in their approach.
Oblique references to the pandemic can be found in the obscured faces of Ilaria Iannarilli, Florence Shaw, Stefani Stoyanova and Robyn Phillips.
Fractured identity is a theme of Mikah Arnold’s rich imagery of different approaches to Black coiffure, Ania Sto’s evocative double exposures that simultaneously depict the lives of Romanian migrants to London and their friends who remained behind, and Alessandro la Rocca’s dialogue between the values of religion and punk.
Those who keenly suffered from three pub-less months will find one of the most disturbing set of images to be Andras Andor Jambor’s archival photos of public houses juxtaposed with their latter-day conversions into housing, shops and cultural centres.
For sheer photographic virtuosity, be sure not to miss Sintia Stutina’s moving pictures of a single family in rural Latvia in the wake of the Soviet collapse.
If you have fifteen minutes to be taken to another place, you would do well to join the BA Photography graduates at their Photography 2020 exhibition.
The exhibition is available online here