||The Whitechapel presents leading British contemporary photographer Nick Waplington, including new work You are only what you see, 2007.
Nick Waplington is best known for images of everyday life that refer to traditions of street and documentary photography. The Whitechapel presents his latest work; You are only what you see, 2007, alongside a number of recent works displayed in pubs, shops and cafés in East London.
The Whitechapel showcases You are only what you see, 2007, a slide installation sourced by the artist from images taken by soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 20 years. The series includes 1000 images which, despite originating from a large number of servicemen and women, when viewed together begin to fall into common themes and genres. They include photographs of loved ones at home, of moments of play or rest as well as training and tours of duty. They are at once moving in the private moments they depict and deeply disturbing insights into the lives of individuals caught up in war. Posted on internet photo-sharing sites that Waplington subscribes to, the images evoke traditions of war artists and reportage, combined with the contemporary phenomenon of citizens’ journalism. The photographs are also bound together in 10 publications of 100 images each, displayed in the foyer of the Whitechapel and available to print on demand via the online retailer Amazon.co.uk.
The exhibition continues in shops, cafés and bars local to The Whitechapel. Selected by the artist in collaboration with each venue this off-site element furthers Waplington’s exploration of image sharing, authorship and the constant circulation of images that defines contemporary culture. The photographs depict everyday scenes encountered by the artist: streets in East London, where he lives and works, holidays on the beach, urban and rural landscapes. Despite their casual, snapshot aesthetic, Waplington often uses a large format camera and later manipulates his images digitally, exploring formal concerns of composition as well as providing a sometimes humorous comment on contemporary Britain. The photographs will be displayed at each venue unlabelled, among the prints, posters and other visual imagery already on display.
Notes for Editors
• Photographer Nick Waplington was born in the U.K. in 1965. He studied art at Worthing Art College, Trent Polytechnic, and The Royal College in London.
• Besides photography Waplington’s practice includes publications, cartoon books, graphic drawings, collage, slide installations and photorealist painting
• Waplington first came to prominence with a series of photographs called The Living Room, published as a book in 1991, which documented the lives of two working class families in Nottingham.
• Subsequent series include Safety in Numbers, 1997, which documents the phenomenon of raves and youth cultures internationally; Truth or Consequences, 2001, which focuses on a town in New Mexico that derived its unusual name from a radio quiz show; and Learn How to Die the Easy Way, 2001, a journey through fake internet websites that at times appear disturbingly real.
• Nick Waplington is represented by Museum 52 and has shown internationally including the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art, 1992, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, 1995, the Venice Biennale 2001 and at the 2005 Quebec Contemporary Art Festival.
• The exhibition is organised by the Whitechapel Gallery.
• 10 unique publications produced from the work You are only what you see, 2007 will be available to buy from Amazon at www.amazon.co.uk
• A limited edition print in a run of 300 will be available from the Whitechapel, priced at £75
Preview Opening, Wednesday 12 September, 6.30 – 9pm
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