Fugitive Art opened to an enthusiastic crowd at the SohoPhoto gallery on September 10th and will remain until the 28th. The concept of the exhibition was the fine art market imposing restrictions on numbers of prints. Yet those prints get shared, often in low quality online to anyone who wants them, no gallery or artist gets paid. Because of this there are less opportunities for the general public to see exceptional prints of high quality. From the statement “We wondered what could spur a renaissance in the creation and appreciation of photographic prints without undermining the value of limited-edition archival, collection worthy work”
The exhibition was mostly large scale prints by a variety of artists. Susan Guice showed her Delta Blues series which were ariel shots of disappearing wetland in Louisiana, the images were striking as the snake like salt water, seen from above, encroaching into freshwater swamps form fractal shapes, or strangely geometric patterns as they twist and bend ultimately destroying their destination.
Reto Sterchi took pictures of the ArtBreak hotel, a hotel that was going under, invited artists to decorate the rooms. Rather than simply being found object photos Sterchi composes each one beautifully and gives an unsettling air of blue tinged artificiality to the entire first floor of the exhibit.
Among the most beautiful and classically composed photography was Sonia Toledo's series Oh Fish! That took shimmering pictures of carp as they hid far underwater to avoid freezing; the clear water and the fishes fins combine to make an effect that evokes more fire and smoke than freeing temperatures.
However the best piece was the most 'fugitive' in the sense of fleeting. A spinning disk that speeds up to reveal a brilliant blue globe of the earth, then slowing down, nothing but lights, then eventually nothing: ephermental.
The thesis of the exhibit is clear only through the theme and the name, these artists share little, if anything in common with one another, in fact some are diametrically opposed to the others style. All became clear when the curator/artist Susan Keiser explained that all the prints were printed by them using a special kind of ink, whatever prints they printed will be sold or not sold then when the show closes the files will be deleted and the prints destroyed.
Which sort of makes the exhibit more beautiful, knowing that these works are ultimately doomed gives a sense of time and purpose to the proceedings that would be lacking in a traveling show.