No Place Is an Island is the latest instalment in Photo50, London Art Fair’s annual exhibition series celebrating contemporary photography. The show responds to themes of ecology, migration and political nationalism through the work of 14 contemporary British photographers. Aesthetica spoke to the show’s curator Rodrigo Orrantia about collaborating with artists, working across media and unthinking the idea of islands. Originally scheduled for January, the fair is now postponed to 20-24 April.
A: Can you explain why the notion of the island attracted you when you were devising this show?
RO: I started thinking of this show during lockdown, after writing a piece on the absence of touch brought on by social distancing rules and enforced isolation. In the wake of Brexit, the climate emergency and now the ubiquitous Covid pandemic, what does it mean to be an ‘island?’ How do you define what an island is? This led me to research practices engaged with the idea of borders, of limits: both of the land but also of photography. I wanted to develop the idea of an island only existing as a mythical place, an imaginary construct. The topical issues of our time made it clear to me that there is no such thing as an island: the world is permeable and connected.