Making History: Art and Documentary from 1929 to Now
Making History investigates the rich interchange between documentary and art practice in Britain throughout the twentieth century. The term 'documentary' is far from straightforward and its influence on visual culture has been complex and profound. Britain pioneered the development of the documentary form; the filmmaker and producer John Grierson, who coined the term and is widely regarded as the father of documentary, defined it as 'the creative use of actuality'. Artists have been involved in the development of documentary practice from the very beginning, and this in turn has had a significant impact upon the visual arts in Britain. Although Making History is mainly focused on fine art, film, and photography, it also covers television documentary and docu-drama, poetry and literature, sociology and social anthropology. Documentary continues to be an area where new forms or structures are created, such as the 'fly-on-the-wall' approach. These in turn inspire and transform the language employed by artists, who adapt their techniques to their own ends. This catalogue presents documentary realism as a defining influence on visual culture in Britain, both as an established form for artists to respond against and an area of radical innovation in its own right. Making History features work by artists and practitioners including, Bill Brandt, John Bratby, William Coldstream, Tacita Dean, Jeremy Deller, Lucian Freud, John Grierson, Isaac Julien, Martin Parr, Humphrey Spender, and Gillian Wearing.
by : Mark Nash