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Oliver Frank Chanarin‘s practice has long pushed against the edges of the photographic medium to interrogate dynamics of power and visibility, and challenge the ethics of documentary photography. Following the dissolution of the twenty-year creative partnership Broomberg & Chanarin, the artist’s first solo project returns to an origin point: using the camera and the photographic encounter to speak towards, penetrate, and critique our lived experience. Drawing as much from August Sander as W. G. Sebald, Chanarin’s photographic wanderings and auto-fictional experiments engage with the artist’s subjectivity while querying the slippery terrain of documentary photography.
Chanarin often finds himself on the margins — from suburban fetish clubs to accident-faking ambulance chasers, or from amateur dramatics groups in church halls to gender activists protesting in the streets. In a country fragmented by political polarisation, pandemic isolation and the weaponisation of identity politics, Chanarin attempts to reconcile the eccentricity of Britishness with the pressing need for new forms of representation.