Civilization: The Way We Live. Curator William A Ewing in conversation with Lisa Barnard and Jermaine Francis
Curator William A. Ewing talks to photographers Lisa Barnard and Jermaine Francis about the major exhibition Civilization: The Way We Live, opening at Saatchi Gallery this summer after its global tour. Featuring the work of 150 of the world’s finest photographers, the exhibition addresses major aspects of our increasingly global 21st century civilization. It stresses the fact that contemporary civilization is an extremely complex collective enterprise.
William is a curator, author, and was for many years the director of the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne. His fifty years of experience are split equally between North America and Europe. Ewing’s exhibitions have been shown at hundreds of museums world-wide, including MoMA, New York; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Serpentine, Hayward and Barbican Galleries, London; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; the Setagaya Museum, Tokyo, and many others. His many books have tackled major themes like the human body, dance, landscape, the flower, and portraiture, and have been published in many language editions. He is currently a consultant with Thames & Hudson, the curator of the Carène Foundation, Switzerland, a guest curator with the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis & Lausanne, and the director of The Todi Circle, Umbria. Ewing is an Officer of the French Republic’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and the recipient of the Outstanding Award for Service to Photography given by the Royal Photographic Society. He is currently working on a major survey of the mountain in photography to be published by Thames & Hudson in 2024.
Lisa Barnard (*1967) is a British artist, researcher and teacher whose photographic practice focuses on real events, using polymorphic strategies. Her projects use both traditional documentary techniques, such as photography, audio, video and text, and more contemporary visual techniques and computer forms. Barnard combines her interest in aesthetics and current debates around the materiality of photography with the political climate within critical projects, centered on new ecologies, new technologies, science and the military-industrial complex.
“Barnard describes herself as a photographic artist, but her work appears unmistakably political. It pays homage to the tropes of documentary realism, while sabotaging them. – Sean O Hagan, The Guardian, reviewer for Chateau Despair.
Barnard is Associate Professor and Head of the Masters Program in Documentary Photography at the University of South Wales. In addition to regularly exhibiting her projects, she has published three monographs, including two with GOST (Chateau Despair, supported by the Arts Council and Hyenas of the Battlefield, and Machines in the Garden, supported by the Albert Renger-Patzsch Prize) . Her third publication, The Canary and the Hammer, was published by MACK.
Jermaine Francis is a London based Photographer/ Artist who’s practice works within the disciplines of Book, Gallery & editorial, primarily in the discourse of the Photo Document.His work explores the physical, psychological, negotiation of space in the every day.
His work has been exhibited at the International Centre of Photography New York, The National Portrait Gallery London, Hetton Lawn at Haus Wien and Galeriepcp in Paris. Jermaine’s work has also appeared in monographs, The Art of Protest: Political Art and Activism edited by Francesca Gavin & Alain Beiber, ICP Concerned Global Images for Global Crisis edited by David Campany, & Photo No’s No’s published bv Aperture edited by Jason Fulford.
He contributes projects to magazines such as I-D, Autre Magazine, The Face Magazine, Beauty Papers, Boy Brother Friend. Jermaine has two books ‘Something that seems so familiar becomes distant’ was shortlisted for the Belfast Photo Festival, 2022, and Rhythms from the Metroplex, an investigation of non linear narratives and movement in the city. His most recent exhibition ‘A Storied Ground’ which ask the viewer to consider the Black figures complicated relationship with the English Landscape & Nature, at Galeriepcp Paris 2022. In 2023 he will be exhibiting at the Oxford Photo Festival, Civilisation at the Sattchi, The Centre of British Photography & a new film at the Camden Arts Centre.