The Baltic, Rodney Graham

My Initial Response to the Exhibition

When going to see the series titled ‘That’s Not Me’ I was not entirely sure of what to expect. Already I had looked into the series online and appreciated the unique style and stunning imagery, but viewing them in person provided me with a lot more respect and understanding of the series.

Scale is the main thing that can never be fully grasped when searching online, and I was shocked over the size of each individual print. The size provided the ability for myself as a viewer to look closer and catch a glimpse of every single detail, and from there be able to link together certain items as well as gather underlying themes and messages.

Another element of the series which I liked was the presentation. The fact that Graham chose to present his images through light boxes in individual sections really appealed to me, because the image being projected made the details so much clearer and having the image dissected into sections allowed the eye to wander across each segment happily without being overloaded with imagery.

The idea of Graham being a shape shifter is something that fascinates me, he captures himself as a painter; photographer; historian; writer; poet; musician and many others. This is something which in a sense is also captured through Instagram – you can present yourself as whoever you wish to be. Take Amalia Ulman as an example, for months she fooled her followers into believing that she had taken on a whole new identity and lifestyle. Although perhaps not directly, Graham may be raising questions about identity online as well as offline.


Quality of Learning Evaluation:

By visiting this exhibition Graham has presented to me a more dramatic way in which to shape shift and completely transform your identity.

Although it may have been indirectly, he has referenced a specific photographer I had researched previously – Amalia Ulman. Ulman transformed her identity through the social media app Instagram, causing her viewers to question and raise concern for the mindset of Ulman.

Despite Ulman projecting her shape shift nature through Instagram and Graham doing so through large scale prints presented on light boxes, I would say that the concept is incredibly similar and has therefore furthered my understanding of the idea of a shape shift character as well as allowed me to view the same concept in different styles and on different scales.

It was incredibly worth my while to go visit the exhibition in person, because viewing the series online would not have allowed me to understand the scale of the prints as well as not be able to catch a glimpse of every detail.


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