Exhibition | Jo Spence : From Fairy Tales to Phototherapy | Photographs from The Hyman Collection | Photography at Arnolfini | Bristol | Art Week

Jo Spence : From Fairy Tales to Phototherapy | Photographs from The Hyman Collection

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Saturday, 19 December 2020 to Sunday, 20 June 2021
Opening: 
Tuesday, 18 May 2021 - 11:00am

Arnolfini present a major retrospective of the work of photographer Jo Spence (1934 – 1992), drawn from The Hyman Collection, one of the most comprehensive collections of Spence’s works in the world.

Spence has been an integral figure within photographic discourse from the 1970s onwards. Throughout her diverse projects she is well known for her highly politicised approach to photography and the representation of her own struggles with cancer.

From Fairy Tales to Phototherapy focuses on the intersection between arts, health and wellbeing, celebrating Spence’s work as a photo therapist in which she used photography as a medium to address personal trauma, reflecting on key moments in her past.

Photo-therapy, especially the type of re-enactment therapy that is at the heart of Spence’s practice, is essentially a collaborative process and the exhibition presents works made by Spence in collaboration with Terry Dennett, Rosy Martin, David Roberts, Dr. Tim Sheard and Valerie Walkerdine.

This will be the first time that her thesis will be exhibited and published in its entirety. Entitled “Fairy Tales and Photography… or, another look at Cinderella”, this was a pivotal document, created at a crucial point in Spence’s career. The exhibition will focus on the actual small-scale photographs that Spence used in her photo-therapy sessions as well as the laminate panels that she used for her workshops and touring exhibitions.

From Fairy Tales to Phototherapy charts Spence’s diagnosis and treatment for cancer, juxtaposing humour with inevitable challenging issues. Themes include Cinderella and Fairytales, Remodelling Photo History/Medical History, Childhood Child and Parent Relationships, Libido/Sexuality/Marriage, The Grotesque.

The exhibition is curated by Keiko Higashi, Engagement Producer at Arnolfini, with Dr. Frances Hatherley, writer, researcher and archivist at the Jo Spence Memorial Library Archive at Birkbeck, University of London, in collaboration with the Bristol Photo Festival.

 

Fairy Tales and Photography… or, another look at Cinderella is available to buy from Arnolfini Bookshop or direct from RRB Photo Books.

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16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA

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