Uncertain States, Oct 2012
The founding trio behind Uncertain States, Spencer Rowell, Fiona Yaron Field and David George, not only manage to keep publishing a quarterly photo broadsheet and organise monthly discussions open to all but still find the time to top things off each year with an annual show. This year the host venue was Espacio Gallery on Bethnal Green Road, its two floors crammed with diverse imagery and people on the buzzin' opening night.
As a showcase for the work of 25 contributors there was a surprisingly strong sense of cohesion when both intent and subject matter varied widely. A quick perusal of biographical details and it is evident that the fruits of a whole lot of photo-education are being represented here; numerous graduates, several MA's, a few lecturers, most with handfuls of exhibitions and some with awards to their name. Defining factors of the show were the depth of commitment to the medium which was apparent, and the subject matter, which was, on the whole, heavy.
One of the things UCS has come to stand for is an interest in the way that the photograph can be used to articulate psychological or sociopolitical concerns. As a result the gallery, for the duration of the show, is therefore effectively a lair/layer of various subconscious and critical drives manifested in these complex works. Happily this was in complete contrast to the almost celebratory vibe at the private view. I have to admit that the meaning behind so many people (including women) wearing false moustaches eluded me. I could have asked for an explanation but an unfathomable mystery can have its own appeal.
(UCS: until 24th Oct 2012)