Living in Hell and Other Stories

Tom Hunter er den første fotografen som med "Living in Hell and Other Stories" har fått anledning til å stille ut sine fotografier i britiske National Gallery.

Galleriet er kjent for sin store samling av malerier, og Hunters utstilling har kommet i stand på grunn av den direkte koblingen mellom fotografiene og malerier som han har brukt som forbilder og inspirasjon.

Dersom du ikke skal til London den nærmeste uken - utstillingen står fram til 12. mars - kan du glede deg over at National Gallery har gjort en skikkelig jobb på nett. Dette er rett og slett forebilledlig.

Ikke minst er det interessant å høre om bakgrunnen for fire av bildene:

  1. Woman Reading a Possession Order
    This photograph first brought Tom Hunter to the public's attention in 1998 when he won the John Kobal Photographic Portrait Award.

    It is one of a series of works, entitled 'Persons Unknown' that transplanted Vermeer's masterpieces from 17th-century Delft to 20th-century Hackney.

    'Woman reading a Possession Order' is a direct reference to Vermeer's 'A Girl reading a Letter by an Open Window'. The photograph mimics the composition of the painting, with the woman seen in profile, illuminated by the light through a window.

  2. Living in Hell
    The story beneath the headline 'Living in Hell' told of a 74-year old woman who had been left to live in damp, vermin-infested accommodation condemned as unfit for human habitation.

    Hunter's initial reference is a painting by one of the Le Nain brothers, 'Four Figures at a Table'. It shows a woman and her family in a humble peasant interior. She has a care-worn expression that suggests her life is hard, but that is also tempered with a quiet sense of self-respect.

    In Hunter's version of this composition, the family have gone. The woman is abandoned. She sits wrapped up against the cold; the electric heater glows dimly. The sofa is filthy and worn and there is decaying food uneaten in its cardboard wrapping. Cockroaches crawl over every surface and a naked electric light bulb starkly reveals the woman's shocking fate.

  3. Murder: Two Men Wanted
    The painting depicts the body of a woman, her throat bleeding from a gash that has caused her death. A satyr (a mythological creature with the head and body of a man and the legs of a goat) has just discovered her and tenderly places his hand upon her shoulder. A similarly sad-looking dog sits nearby.

    Though the precise meaning of the painting is unclear, its mood is plain. The picture is poignant, tender, and above all, tragic.

    The photograph, like the painting it is based upon, has a classic sense of tragedy to it. The young man's bewildered expression sums up the universal lack of understanding felt when yet another innocent victim comes to a premature end.

  4. For Batter or Worse
    The painting depicts a scene from a classical legend that describes how the centaurs, part horse and part human, were invited to a wedding by the human Lapiths. The centaurs, fuelled by drink, attacked their hosts.

    For his picture, Hunter chose a cast comprising two ethnic groups - redheaded and Far Eastern - and arranged them on the steps of Hackney Town Hall, a popular venue for wedding receptions.

    Hunter makes several direct quotations from the painting: a kneeling woman tending to the stricken figure of an injured man; the woman in the red dress having her hair pulled.

Besøk nettsidene: NG London/Current Exhibitions: Tom Hunter: Living in Hell and Other Stories.

Se flere av Hunters bilder på