From Russia with love at new Void

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Acclaimed art gallery, Void, is coming up out of the basement into a bright new space on the first floor of the old City Factory in the heart of Londonderry.

The gallery has been closed to the public for the past three months to facilitate the major renovations and will open next Saturday with a photographic exhibition, which takes an oblique look at ‘Love.’ The exhibition is entitled, ‘A Many-Splintered Thing.’

Chair of Void, Eamonn Mc Cann said: “For ten years, Void has operated from underground premises tucked discreetly away on Patrick Street near the city centre in what once was the basement store of a shirt factory, presenting cutting-edge exhibitions and performances from all arts and parts, keeping Derry and the world abreast of one another.

“Void has now found new space where art and imagination can blossom and billow, transcending division, and abrasion at the interfaces of our society, spark new ideas, understandings and syntheses.”

The relaunch of the gallery on July 18 will also coincide with the launch of Void’s first group photographic exhibition, ‘A Many-Splintered Thing’ at 6pm. The show is curated by Greg McCartney and Susanne Stich, and features selected works by four female photographers Bieke Depoorter, Irina Popova, Jana Romanova and Nadia Sablin.

The title is a pun based on the phrase ‘love is a many splendored thing’ and puts forth images of love in its many different forms.

Many of the photographs suggest love in all its complexity as they feature traces of romantic love, love of family, others, and love of self, implying how ultimately, ‘love involves a peculiar unfathomable combination of understanding and misunderstanding.’ (Diane Arbus, Writer/Photographer).

Three of the photographers (Popova, Romanova and Sablin) were born in Russia toward the end of the Soviet regime.

Depoorter, the fourth photographer, is Belgian, but travelled extensively along the Trans-Siberian railway line. As a result, the show provides a fascinating glimpse of contemporary Russia from both inside and out. Popova created a firestorm of outrage when she displayed her documentary series about two young drug addicts and their baby living in squalor in a squat in St Petersburg. Romonova’s recent ‘Waiting’ featured’overhead shots of young expectant couples sleeping in the months before birth. Sablin has won awards for her study of the daily lives of her father’s untwo married sisters. Depoorter’s modus operandi has been to seek digs in strangers’ homes and document the experience. ‘A Many Splintered Thing’ will be previewed alongside a new edition of Abridged 0-47 from 6pm to 8pm.

The exhibition will continue until September 12. All welcome. Admission free.