RAW: Hijacked 2 – Samstag Art Museum Til 1st July

Upstairs from May Lane exhibition at the Samstag is Hijacked 2, the follow up photographic exhibition to Hijacked 1 – Australia and America. This time contemporary photographers from Australia and Germany are brought together with their depictions of the young, the boundary-riding and the fringe dwelling.

While the book accompanying the exhibition features many in the series by each of the photographers, for obvious space reasons for most part only two or three from each make to the massive white walls of the Samstag. In my view much is gained by that with images that generate true interest and intrigue that are not only snap shots of moments but of the series themselves.

As such this exhibition compliments nicely the May Lane paintings on the first level of the Samstag, with the sentiments and conditions of the artists quite similar but of course working in quite alternative media and approaching their subjects in different ways. For mine, Hijacked 2 is a more interesting exhibition but personal taste alone may determine the merit of this view as a generality.

Amongst many fine works, German, Josef Schulz has six images of barren and deserted European immigration huts that speak of the refugee crisis and that anxiety all unseasoned travellers get when they seek to cross borders. While Australian Andrew Cowan has two placid images of none other than the most notorious sites of South Australian murders, the footbridge over the Torrens and the disused bank vault at Snowtown, with former the more haunting for depicting the dual role of that place in this state’s history.

James Brickwood has three images of Schoolies, photos that would come as quite a shock to the parents of the kids in them. Sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, mobiles and mess rule supreme in some poor bugger’s high rise apartment on the Gold Coast.

Ivonne Thein has three images from her 32 kilos series depicting a woman weighing in at 32 kgs in various fashion-like poses that make clear the degradation of her body in pursuit of perfection and fame. They are troubling reflections on our society.

Julian Roder has two images of Protests against the G8, one taken in Genoa, Italy – a scene of bare, violent outrage – and the other in Hokkaido, Japan – a far more orderly statement of opposition. Even in a supposed global struggle, the approaches to fomenting dissent are very much determined by local mores and custom.

Finally, by way of highlights, Georgia Metaxas has three fun images of people undergoing the ritual of having their hair cut from her series Lower Your Ears.

This exhibition will also cause viewers to question the merits of images that capture a moment of real life and those that aim for similar messaging through composition somewhat like a movie still. For mine, the former prevail as more worthy for their requirement on the photography to have the patience and to gain the familiarity of his subjects to capture those moments without a sense of intrusion or construction.

This is a fine exhibition and any interested in contemporary photography ought to make their way to the Samstag for a most rewarding period of hanging out time.

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