Monday, 4 February 2013

Ross Fraser McLean - Zwack @ Diaosu, review

Diaosu Limited inhabits a small shop front in Dundee’s Hilltown, hosting a variety of art and community projects. Their current venture in this somewhat unprepossessing space is a collection of images by the photographer and local fixture Ross Fraser McLean, all taken on a visit to Budapest in 2010. Hung salon style across three walls, the photos are split thematically between tranquil, sunlit street scenes and the impassive memorials inside Kerepesi Cemetery. The sculptures are depicted in muted tones inside wooden frames or on large black mounts, the silent stone figures keeping a watchful eye on the Hungarian capital’s thriving street life.

These downtown photos portray a dynamic European metropolis. Brash colours and cartoony texts bark loudly from Budapest’s shop window displays, while happy families enjoy a pleasant sunny day out in the park. Cars cruise along city roads beneath the grand Buda Castle. A girl descends an escalator, bound for the Budapest subterranea. All these scenes were captured on 35mm film and they encapsulate something of the urban sprawl’s warmth. The graveyards have a markedly different ambience. The photographer explains, “The light captured in weight on 6×7 film. These images take into consideration the process and production of a photographic object as a memorial.”

McLean’s photos have documented his travels around the world, with Japan, China, USA, Turkey, Russia and India all being devoured by the camera. The photos presented in Zwack show a curatorial rigor that’s newly matured, a reflective aspect revealed alongside the work’s undoubted technical achievements.


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