Keith Arnatt: I’m a real photographer
29 June - 2 September 2007
This exhibition celebrates the photographs of Keith Arnatt, whose artistic achievements have for too long been overlooked. Focusing on work from 1972 – 2002, it includes both well known and forgotten pieces.
In the late 60s and early 70s, Arnatt used photography to capture his otherwise ephemeral conceptual work. A typically tongue-in-cheek work of this time, Trouser-Word Piece (1972), shows Arnatt wearing a placard stating ‘I’m a Real Artist’. Shortly after this, Arnatt decided to concentrate solely on photography. Created with a knowing, subversive humour this work transcends easy categorisation. The straightforward portraits of The Visitors (1974 – 76) hint at his interest in the history of portrait photography, while playing on the relation between the camera and its subject.
Arnatt’s lightness of touch, and ability to transform the commonplace permeates his work. Pictures from a Rubbish Tip (1988 – 89) echo the traditions of still life, but use the discarded and obsolete. Notes from Jo (1990 – 94) record his wife’s Post It note messages such as ‘Pies in oven. Press down thing that says START to start’. The work irreverently plays on the conceptual concerns of image and text through the irritations and communications of daily life.
Keith Arnatt: I’m a real photographer is a tribute to an important artist and part of The Photographers’ Gallery commitment to reappraise the work of key figures within the history of British Photography.
The exhibition has been curated by Arnatt’s longstanding colleague and friend, Magnum photographer David Hurn.
A related book I’m a Real Photographer, Keith Arnatt: Photographs 1974 – 2002 (ISBN: 978-1905712052) was published by The Photographers’ Gallery and Chris Boot.
For further information on this and past exhibitions, visit our Archive and Study Room.