Karen Knorr, professor of photography at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) Farnham has her work on display in the New Order: Art, Product, Image 1976 - 1995 group exhibition at Sprüth Magers gallery in London this summer. The works were selected by writer Michael Bracewell as a survey of identity and image in British art, culture and society between 1976 and 1995.
The exhibition originated from a discussion about the cultural status and art historical positioning of one of Peter Saville’s best-known works for Factory Records – his record sleeve for New Order’s Blue Monday – made in the early 1980s, which blurred the boundaries between art, design, pop and product.
Karen Knorr, Belgravia, 1979-81. © Karen Knorr. Courtesy of the Artist
The show presents Karen Knorr and Oliver Richon’s photographs of punks in the anarchic clubs of London’s West End in 1976 and ‘77. They self-consciously pose rather than being the subject of a simple fly-on-the-wall documentary style, the subjects, notably mostly women, thereby appearing both candid and confrontational, sharply lit by the flashgun. The exhibition also showcases Knorr’s Belgravia series –shot a few years later – which shows the wealthy elite of early Thatcherism, captioned by descriptions of their everyday lives or fragments of conversation that complicate the reading of the image and edge the portraits towards caricature. Both punks and Belgravians are revealed as exclusive, self-policing societies, equally concerned with exclusivity, dogma, creed and social camouflage.
Other artists featured in the show include Richard Hamilton, Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and Gillian Wearing.
New Order is on now until 14 September 2019. To find out more visit the Sprüth Magers website.
To learn more about photography courses at UCA Farnham, visit the course page.
[Header Image: Karen Knorr / Olivier Richon, Punks, 1977. © Karen Knorr / Olivier Richon. Courtesy of the Artist]