SNAP : The Portfolio 2011

10 - 25 June 2011

Paul Stolper is pleased to announce the exhibition ‘SNAP – THE PORTFOLIO,’ a unique collection of twelve large-scale prints to be exhibited in his London gallery. The works have been published by Paul Stolper Gallery to coincide with the ‘SNAP’ exhibition at Snape Maltings, part of the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and Arts. Published in an edition of 50 signed and numbered digital inkjet prints, artists Sarah Lucas, Gary Hume, Juergen Teller, Abigail Lane, Cerith Wyn Evans, Don Brown, Darren Almond, Simon Liddiment, Julian Simmons, Johnnie Shand Kydd, Russell Haswell and Mark Fuller each contribute an iconic image to the boxed set. The artist proceeds from the sale of ‘SNAP – THE PORTFOLIO,’ will generously benefit the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts.

‘SNAP - THE PORTFOLIO’ has been coordinated by contributing artist and Suffolk resident Abigail Lane. She explains, ‘It has become clear that a lot of interesting artists have rekindled links to this area in the last few years – it’s quite extraordinary. The reasons for this are not clear-cut but obviously something is occurring…as a result SNAP was initiated.’All the artists share a connection with East Anglia, either as their home, their place of work or their place of origin. Though each of the twelve images is specific to the contributors’ unique artistic practice, quite organically, elements of the portfolio gravitate thematically towards the relationship between the body and landscape - often the natural poetic force of the environs paired with the artist’s interaction within it. The portfolio also utilizes text and photographic imagery in an unconventional mapping of the quirky, rural character of the secluded region. However, the work is not necessarily stringently defined by the geography that unites the artists. ‘SNAP – THE PORTFOLIO’ is a testament to the region’s creative magnetism, and each image is a marker for how each artist has responded to such a distinctive landscape.

Jonathan Reekie, the Chief Executive of Aldeburgh Music comments,  ‘Our founders, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, named their festival the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts because they wanted the visual arts to complement and enhance the music, as well as helping to define a sense of place, which is such a strong feature of Aldeburgh.  SNAP is a fantastic opportunity to put the visual arts back at the centre of the festival, reminding people not only of this legacy but, more importantly, signaling the vibrancy of the visual arts scene in East Anglia and how a new generation of some of our best artists are being drawn to this inspirational place.’

The format of ‘SNAP – THE PORTFOLIO’ is unusual in its scale, use of materials and subsequent display. Presented in an archival box, each print must be unfolded to reveal a sweeping, oversized print measuring 152.4cm x 101.6cm- figures and text are monumental and landscape all encompassing. To realise the large scale of each work, the images were printed on coated MG blue-backed paper, a paper prosaically associated with commercial media. A very uncompromising medium, the nature, texture and scale of the paper appealed to the artists who strive for the most appropriate and direct manner to show their work. An unusual choice for fine art print, the paper is more commonly pasted to walls and billboards for the use of advertising, a far cry from the poetic and complex series of images collected here. Folds and creases create a playful shadowing, indexing the associated landscape; the undulating paper resembles an unfolded map or nostalgically reminds us of cherished antique film posters. The physical act of repetitively unfolding, eventually to an overwhelming scale, builds a sense of anticipation and drama.

By the same token, the deliberate folding of a fine art print is completely at odds with conventional printmaking, where the integrity and pristine condition of the paper is paramount, jealously guarded and has a direct bearing on a work’s value. The concept of a folded print stored in an archival box appealed to the artists as the project challenges the traditional nature of prints and printmaking. In light of the medium, several artists appropriate or allude to images from mass produced sources, such as magazines, album covers and beer labels, drawing on the complex, often competitive, exploitative and even sabotaging relationship between art and mass media. As we are so unremittingly bombarded and inundated by commercial visual imagery, with which the art world is now so entangled, the large scale prints that make up ‘SNAP – THE PORTFOLIO’ unashamedly hijack the methods of commercial advertising - so much so that the portfolio in its entirety equates to the size of a billboard.

Within the gallery space, the twelve prints from the portfolio are, true to the nature of the material itself, plastered directly to the wall. Fated to be destroyed, the profound transience of these exhibited works stands true to the conviction of the project’s expression of a specific happening. Due to the massive scale of each print, the collective display of ‘SNAP – THE PORTFOLIO’ fully envelopes the viewer within the imaginary surroundings of the region from which it has drawn its inspiration.