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Jo Spence – The Last Project

Jo Spence – The Last Project

By Hannah Phillips

‘How do you make leukemia visible? Well, how do you? It’s an impossibility’  Jo Spence

When pioneering photographer Jo Spence was diagnosed with leukaemia, she channelled the acute sense of reality she felt into one final body of work. In Richard Saltoun Gallery’s new exhibition Jo Spence: The Final Project, you can see the uncompromising results for yourselves.

Exploring cultural mortality rituals such as Egyptian mummification and Mexico’s Day of the Dead, The Final Project develops Spence’s previous explorations of reality and culture through use of dolls and masks in place of her own body. Also testament to her creative use of montage, earlier self-portraits are transformed into new works through shots of torn materials, dried surfaces, blood cells and landscapes as Spence presents her own body ‘returning to nature’.

Curated by David Campany – who briefly was taught by Jo Spence – this exhibition presents the themes explored in The Final Project, as the camera becomes a source of emotional release.

Visit Richard Saltoun Gallery between 11th February an 25th March and then head over to Tate Britain for its BP Spotlight display of Spence’s earlier work.


Hannah Phillips: twitter @hanrph

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