Incoming Evidence

Just received this from Incoming Evidence, their first eponymously named publication. I’m fairly murky on the details of who is leading IE or their exact intentions, although I suspect that murkiness is intentional, best I understand is this is a curatorial project concerned with aesthetic and style rather than specific content. Lately I’ve often found myself explaining photography as a medium to people by describing a spectrum from pictorialism to photojournalism. One end is almost entirely concerned with the relationship between the image and the real world, the other is concerned with the dynamics of form and tone within the image, caring little about their bearing on reality. With that fairly sloppy diagram constructed, I’d describe this publication as ‘pictorial curation’. This slim volume compiles work from four artists, two photographers with whom I’m familiar; Sam Binymin & Ellen Stewart; Naomi A, an artist working with collage; and Hugo Hagger, a multimedia artist who’s work featured here is primarily drawing. 

The small format is embraced wholeheartedly, no white borders and too clever sequencing to ape the photobook here, instead the pages are filled to bursting - opposing works are almost antagonistic, only heightening the stylistic contrasts. Stewarts photographs display a wonderfully muted tonality as is her trademark, bringing with it an ethereality that stands in polarity to the Siskind like richness of Binymin’s photographs. The inkiness of his blacks is insistent, authoritative. A provides a foil to the ‘straight’ photography of Stewart and Binymin, her assemblies of vernacular photographs and other media feels mocking of the elegant pretence of photography, instead bringing it down to the level of any other kind of illustration. Hagger disrupts the put-togetherness entirely, the frantic energy of his drawings is unlike anything else in the book, his subjects fall wherever they may on the page, unmoored from the ties of the frame. 

What is remarkable about this publication is not in the merits of any of the artists featured, as talented as they are, there are hundreds of zines that collate fantastic work in such a poor way that they are all lessened as a result. The difference here is that IE is a curatorial project not a publishing one, and clearly great efforts have been expended to ensure that the tremendous amount of tension within is held in balance, and that is a remarkable achievement.

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