New York Photography Diary is pleased to host its inaugural exhibition, Elsewhere is a Negative Mirror, at Carmel by the Green in East London. This exhibition follows The Physical Fabric of Cities—organized by London Photography Diary—and is the second in a year-long program of shows being organized by The Photography Diaries. Elsewhere is a Negative Mirror is curated by New York Photography Diary editors Daniel Pateman and Will Fenstermaker and assisted by Ivana D’Accico.
Inspired by the shock of Brexit in Britain and corresponding xenophobic, nativist tones in US and European politics, Elsewhere is a Negative Mirror features the work of eight international artists who responded to the set theme of Borders. Each photographer explores boundaries in the midst of a reconfiguration, provoking a reconciliation with the limits at which one defines identity, homeland, and ontological frameworks.
The exhibition title comes from a dialogue between the Venetian merchant Marco Polo and Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan in Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities (1972) and speaks to the way communities define themselves in opposition to other people. Polo, an exile—albeit a voluntary one—tells Kublai of a peculiar sensation: the recognition of oneself in the otherness of those who live beyond the border. Coming upon daily life within an unfamiliar city, Polo recounts that “the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.”
To this, Kublai responds that travel brings one into contact with one’s past, one’s possible futures, and all the presents that could have been. “Elsewhere is a negative mirror,” Polo says. “The traveler recognizes the little that is his, discovering much he has not had and will never have.”
These photographs, like negative mirrors, show what is familiar in unfamiliar places. In them, one finds home in a world that has been divided into parts—conquered, nationalized, and quantified—its distinctions marked by thresholds that have only the illusion of inviolability.
“Elsewhere Is a Negative Mirror” will run from October 6th to December 6th, 2016 at Carmel by the Green, next to Bethnal Green tube station in East London.
Opening on October 6th from 6–9pm