Agency Gallery: Karl Ohiri 'How To Mend A Broken Heart' (until 18th January 2014)
The title, 'How To Mend A Broken Heart', is a wise selection for a collection of personal mementos, as emotional distraught and the like is something that the viewer can relate to. As is usually the case, the press release adds new context that illuminates the photographs. To summarise, Ohiri's exhibition is based around the time up to his mother's divorce. The photographs appear to be from the 1970s era - and, as nostalgic photographs usually do, they appear to tell a hazy story of a bygone time, a better time in the subject matter's life. It is almost too easy to forget that such photographs are staged and capture the memories that the photographer chooses to remember.
It is with profound appreciation that the viewer regards Ohiri's collection, as each photograph is clearly a sentimental part of his identity. The immature, often incomprehensible vandalising of the majority of the pieces is the artist's way of conveying how his mother's divorce has affected him beyond anything he could depict in prose. This also suggests details of the divorce, that perhaps the husband has abandoned Ohiri's family, in a way that was senseless, thus intriguing the viewer as to the back story of the situation. Beyond the intrigue, the viewer feels tense that Ohiri's 'archival photographs', which are distinctly intimate and personal, have been made accessible to the public, further evoking the feel of chaos in the mindset of the artist.