Identity in Transit – rogues’ gallery on show in Shoreditch
Photographs of anonymous Victorian criminals are the basis of the exhibition at the Book Club
Rogues’ Gallery: Identity in Transit at The Book Club
German artist Mast delves into the murky world of nineteenth-century rogues with an exhibition of reinterpreted archival photographs at The Book Club in Shoreditch, writes Mélissa Tricoire.
Mast, an emerging painter and screen printer, is fascinated with the visual charm and stylistic uniformity of nineteenth-century police photographs of criminals. His exhibition Identity in Transit introduces us to the world of Victorian reprobates and prostitutes, whilst creating a platform for the non-celebrity. “I’m interested in the nobody – in anonymous people,” he says.
While Mast’s unconventional choice of subjects betrays a will to depict those living on the margins of society, the artworks are not intended as a vehicle for social criticism. He insists: “I’m picking faces that simply interest me – my work does not have any political value.”
Instead, Mast’s penchant for portraying thieves, prostitutes and homeless people is motivated by the powerful expressiveness of their features. “With people living on the streets, you can see their whole life on their faces,” he says.
Identity in Transit
Until 5 May 2013
The Book Club
100-106 Leonard Street