Maja Daniels, Stephen Gill, Sophie Ristelhueber, Luke Stephenson, Peter Watkins & Tereza Zelenkova. Curated by Ciara Hickey - 15 March to 26 April 2013
The perceived veracity of a photographic image, combined with its ambiguity, creates a unique space where fiction and truth intertwine. It is at this permeable border between reality and fiction that a photograph becomes a threshold to an infinite series of meanings.Thresholds explores the relationship between truth, fiction and fantasy within documentary photography. All of the artists included in the exhibition have created a body of work documenting a specific subject or site. Each image poses a challenge to our expectations of reality, and resonates with the realm of the imaginary.
Maja Daniels documents twins Monette and Mady as they go about their daily routine in Paris. The women live their lives as a performance in which they pose as the mirror image to each other, rarely appearing in public separately and never without identical clothes, hair and accessories. Daniels becomes complicit in this performance and her photographs transform the banal rituals of everyday life into a finely crafted spectacle of the uncanny.
Stephen Gill’s series Hackney Wick, also shows the ability of photography to transform the everyday into a theatre of the surreal. His photographs represent the people and objects that inhabit the area of London in which Gill lives. The ease with which the photographer encounters his subject enables him to capture the transient moment and the changing patterns that emerge and disappear in an otherwise familiar place.
Sophie Ristelhueber’s photographs, Eleven Blow Ups, are at first glance instantly recognisable as scenes from a contemporary scene of conflict. These photographs are in fact elaborate fictions, digitally manipulated by the artist. Ristelhueber has used real footage of bomb craters in Iraq, and imposed these onto stills from her earlier work in Turkmenistan, Syria, Iraq and the West Bank. These images highlight the homogenising gaze of the media and actively provoke the viewer to question the veracity and authority of a photographic image.
In An Index of Time, Peter Watkins and Tereza Zelenkova present a collaborative documentary project on the Byci Skala cave in the Czech Republic. This particular cave is a rich source of local mythology and folklore. During the process of documenting the cave, the photographers were struck by the influence that these old tales had on their work. Watkins and Zelenkova explored this further by commissioning a series of short stories to be written in response to the photographs. The accompanying stories de-contextualise and de-stabilise the photographs and open up a dialogue on the interpretation of documentary photography.
Luke Stephenson is interested in documenting subcultures within British culture. In his series An Incomplete Dictionary of Showbirds,Stephenson has photographed birds commonly kept as domestic pets in the U.K. that are entered into ‘showbird’ competitions. The flattened spatial dimension and uniform background of Stephenson's images remove any trace of either the birds’ natural environment or the living rooms and competitions where they are found in the U.K. In fact, the photographs eradicate any sense of the birds as real, living creatures. Instead they are presented as purely decorative, fantastical forms, to be viewed in the same way that one might look at depictions of birds of paradise on the pages of an illustrated book.
Friday 15 March 3pm
with curator Ciara Hickey and Thresholds artists: Maja Daniels, Luke Stephenson, Peter Watkins and Tereza Zelenkova.
Thresholds Creative Writing Workshop
Saturday 20 April, 14:00 - 16:00, Free
This workshop is facilitated by Belfast based writer Emily Dedakis.The workshop will use the photographs in Thresholds as the basis for several creative writing exercises
To book a place contact us on E: or T: +44 (0) 28 9023 0965
Maja Daniels (b. 1985, Sweden) lives and works in London. Daniels’ work focuses on social documentary and portraiture with an emphasis on human relations in a western, contemporary environment. Daniels is the recipient of the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize, and was selected as one of the Magenta Foundations Flash Forward Emerging Photographers of 2012. Daniels’ photographs have been included in recent exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts (London), The Photographers Gallery (London), The National Gallery (London) and Getxophoto (Bilbao).
Stephen Gill (b. 1971, U.K) lives and works in London. Gill’s photographs are held in private and public collections around the world and have been exhibited in many international galleries and museums including London’s National Portrait Gallery, The Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Victoria Miro Gallery (London), Sprengel Museum (Hannover), Tate (London), Centre national de l’audiovisuel, (Luxembourg), Gun Gallery (Stockholm) The Photographers’ Gallery (London), Haus Der Kunst (Munich). Gill is currently preparing for a major solo show in FOAM, Amsterdam to open in May 2013.
Sophie Ristelhueber (b. 1949, France) lives and works in Paris. For more than 25 years, Ristelhueber has investigated the impact of human conflict on architecture and landscapes. She has exhibited widely, including Fait, MoMA, (New York), Details of the World, Museum of Fine Arts, (Boston), WB, Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, (Geneva), Eleven Blowups, Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, (Arles) and Exposed: Voyeurism,Surveillance and the Camera, Tate Modern, (London). She won the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2010 for her retrospective Sophie Ristelhueber at Jeu de Paume, Paris in 2009.
Luke Stephenson (b. 1983, U.K). He lives and works in London. In 2005 Stephenson won the Jerwood photography Prize. He has exhibited widely including at The Exit Gallery (London), Festival International de Mode et de Photographie (Hyeres FR), the New York Photo Festival, The Jen Bekman Gallery (New York), The Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (Perth), and The Royal Pump Rooms, Leamington Spa (U.K). In 2010 he was selected for the Talent Issue of FOAM
Peter Watkins (b. 1984, UK) is a photographer living and working in London. He studied Photographic Arts at University of Westminster and is currently an MA student at Royal College of Art. He has a published book with JSBJ, and a self-published book with Tereza Zelenkova. His work is part of the collection at Fotomuseum Winterthur. He has recently exhibited at the Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art (Sunderland), and Royal College of Art (London).
Tereza Zelenkova (b. 1985, Czech Republic). Tereza received her BA from the University of Westminster (2010) and her MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art (2012). She is a finalist of The 1000 Words Magazine Award 2012, was shortlisted for the Saatchi New Sensations 2012 award, and was a finalist of Fresh Faced & Wild Eyed 2011 awarded by The Photographers’ Gallery. Her self-published book Index of Time (2012), in collaboration with Peter Watkins, was selected as one of the best books of 2012 by Photo-Eye. She has exhibited her work most recently at the Lianzhou Foto festival in China, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (Perth), Western Exhibitions (Chicago), and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (Sunderland). Her work is part in the collections of Fotomuseum Winterthur and Saatchi Gallery.
View our virtual tour here.