So in the last few weeks I have been lucky enough to see two Keith Arnatt exhibitions. One at Oriel Mostyn…
and the other at Tate Britain.
As you can imagine both at different ends of the spectrum on scale, yet punching at the same weight. The North end of Arnatt’s work is some 10 to 12 images of post-market and typically British rubbish in the Mostyn. The South (Tate Britain) represents a retrospective of Keith Arnatt’s work, not only this but it is placed in the context of the History of British Art show that the gallery is running.
The above statement taken from the Tate Britain highlights our constant obsession to document everything on a phone rather than enjoy the moment for yourself. I recently saw on T.V someone on the West Holts Stage at Glastonbury with Nile Rodgers with is face stuck in his i-pad filming. What would Keith have done? Enjoy the moment look around, that is why we are fitted with memories!
I was introduced to Arnatt at an early age in my creative journey. It was like the fear going to High School then finding out your older second cousin went there to protect and everything would be ok. I think I am like Arnatt, inspired by the Mundane, feelings of ‘the big tourist attraction is on the right, what happens if I take a picture to the left?’ The scale of both shows is inconsequential, they both deliver a Heinrich Manoeuvre to the senses.
Arnatt’s place in the Tate is along with Richard Long is a tip of the hat to arts based photographers, from Arnatt’s images of dogs, decaying food produce or post it notes. His process was a struggle but the continued commitment to art gave it foundation and strength. The boxes work in Oriel Mostyn is refined in scale but still solid in impact, touched again with Arnatts melancholic chic. For me the sadness created by the boxes is metaphorical in maybe what he was trying to the say. What are we like?
Keith Arnatt; the thinking mans photo documentarist…