Pioneering photographers Dorothea Lange and Vanessa Winship will have their first major UK solo exhibitions at the Barbican as part of its 2018 season The Art of Change, the international arts centre announced today. The season, which spans visual arts, theatre, music, dance and film, explores the dialogue between arts, politics and society with Lange and Winship’s compelling bodies of works addressing the human impact of migration, displacement and economic recession.
One of the most influential female photographers of the 20th century, the American documentary photographer Dorothea Lange’s exhibition Politics of Seeing will include her legendary images of the devastating impact of the Great Depression on the American population, as well as rarely seen photographs of the internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War; while British contemporary photographer Vanessa Winship’s show will bring together an outstanding selection of more than 150 photographs, many never seen before in the UK. Her work explores notions of identity, memory and history in border regions, all demonstrative of Winship’s poetic gaze, which won her the prestigious Henri Cartier-Bresson prize in 2011.These two solo exhibitions, along with the group shows Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins opening in February and featuring Bruce Davidson, Mary Ellen Mark, Larry Clark and many more, and Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde in the autumn which includes, among others, bodies of work by Tina Modotti and Edward Weston, Lee Millerand Man Ray mark a stellar year for photography at the Barbican.
In the year of the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act Barbican film season Nevertheless She Persisted: Suffrage, Cinema and Beyond will explore the global struggle for women’s voices to be heard. Opening with Chisholm ’72 – Unbought and Unbossed, which documents Shirley Chisholm, who ran to be the first black female president of the United States in 1972, Nevertheless She Persisted will close with a rare screening of Delphine Seyrig’s 1976 prescient documentary Be Pretty and Shut Up (Sois Belle et tais toi) in which leading screen actresses discuss equality, representation and voice, still considered by many to be an industry failing, almost 50 years later.
Also screening are Georgie Girl, the story of Georgina Beyer, the first transgendered woman in the world to be elected to national office, The Divine Order, a light-hearted comic drama following the surprisingly recent suffrage efforts in Switzerland, Enemies of Happiness following Malalai Joya on the campaign trail in the run-up to the first democratic parliamentary election in Afghanistan for over 30 years, Our Times, Rakhshan Bani Etemad’s documentary on the re-election of President Mohammad Khatami which focuses on the numerous women candidates who put their name into the pool of 2002 presidential hopefuls and Leila and the Wolves exploring the collective memory of Arab women and their hidden role in history.
Throughout the year, the Barbican will also present twelve new short films directed by emerging filmmakers in response to the themes explored by The Art of Change including community, activism, disability and identity.
From documentary and animation to spoken word and performance, the series, produced by creative video production agency The Smalls, will demonstrate a diversity of perspectives on social change. A new film will be released on the Barbican’s YouTube channel on the first Friday of each month throughout 2018 and be screened before selected new release films in the Barbican Cinema.
The first film, by illustrator Amanda Eliasson, responds to censorship with a hand-painted animated short and launches today: youtube.com/barbicancentre
The first performance in The Art of Change programme is Sir Simon Rattle conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in the European premiere performance of Genesis Suite on 13 January. Featuring narration from Simon Callow, Rodney Earl Clarke, Sara Kestelman and Helen McCrory, the piece draws attention to the horrors of the Second World War by means of Biblical analogies. Genesis Suite is a major work written in 1940s America by a group of European émigré composers, all displaced from their homelands by persecution of war. This production is devised and presented by creative director Gerard McBurney, with visuals by award winning projection designer Mike Tutaj.
For further information visit the Barbican website www.barbican.org.uk
IMAGE: Untitled from the series she dances on Jackson, 2011-2012, Vanessa Winship