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Make it a Better Place

12.04.07 - 27.04.07

Make it a Better Place introduces the work of 4 UK artists, diverse not only in their background, but in their approaches and attitudes to their practice. Their individual projects are brought together to reflect on the concept of democracy, and how this thought provoking term is interpreted in today's society.

Encompassing photography, video and installation, the selected artists offer a survey of compelling, challenging and sometimes controversial interpretations into the multi-faceted manifestations of democracy, its uses as a vehicle and the associated by-products attached to it.

From images of village communities in defiance to images of torture and humiliation, from young Bosnian girls in graduation dresses to the idyllic world of international themed parks, Make it a Better Place features artists pushing the boundaries of the photographic image. At the core, is the most fundamental of questions, is democracy always a good thing?

Conceived and curated by the artist Dinu Li.


Oreet Ashery's work looks at the politics of identity and difference, cultural anxiety and location, all in relation to popular culture. The Village Series is built as a modular structure with digital images, videos and objects. The video 'Three Sons' points to the contested line between terrorists, freedom fighters and citizens. Other pieces in this series include an angry Syrian drum and images of European mountains and Jerusalem covered with butterflies.

Giuseppe di Bella's practice examines the effects and implications of violence – domestic or public – within contemporary society. In his Abu Ghraib series, di Bella revisits scenes of abuse, challenging our perceptions of when, where, why and how images are used and reused in a world super-saturated by images of violence. Our consumption and perhaps de-sensitized sensibilities towards such imagery are further scrutinized as the images of abuse are reworked and superimposed into collections of postage stamps.

Mandy Lee Jandrell examines global consumerism and its effects on culture, art and society. Shot in various theme parks and leisure environments around the world, Jandrell's photographs reflect our enduring emotional investment in utopian dreams of paradise – a fantasyland, where nature is tidied up, contained, controlled and owned.

'The cultural ritual of the "holiday snapshot", for example, often highlights the gulf between the economic realities of the lives of the people involved and the economic aspirations of the theme park.' Mandy Lee Jandrell.

Margareta Kern's work interrogates our personal and intimate spaces, be they emotional or spatial, subject to the socio-political movements of the times we live in. For Graduation Dresses, Kern photographed local girls, who have recently graduated from high schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their dresses made by Kern's mother who runs a sewing business from her small flat in Banja Luka, are based on images found on the internet, fashion magazines and on television, of celebrities and models wearing haute couture dresses.