Selections from Drowning World
January – March, 2015
Gideon Mendel: Selections from Drowning World was organized by the Anderson Gallery, VCU School of the Arts, Richmond, and originally presented as part of the group exhibition, Forecast (September 5–December 7, 2014).
Gideon Mendel is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading contemporary photographers. His intimate style of committed image making, and long-term commitment to projects has earned him international acclaim. Born in Johannesburg in 1959, he studied Psychology and African History at the University of Cape Town. He began photographing in the 1980s during the final years of apartheid. It was his work as a ‘struggle photographer’ at this time that first brought his work to global attention.
In the early 1990s he moved to London, from where he has continued to respond to social issues globally. One of the major focuses of his work soon became the issue of HIV/AIDS. This journey began in Africa and has expanded to many parts of the world over the last twenty years. The concluding and ongoing chapter, Through Positive Eyes, is a collaborative project in which Mendel’s role has shifted from photographer to enabler, handing the camera over to HIV positive people.
Since 2007, Mendel has been working on Drowning World, an art and advocacy project about flooding that is his personal response to climate change. This work has drawn particular attention for its unusual use of portraiture, as well as its combination of photography with video pieces.
January 16, 2015