Working with a customised 35mm analogue camera, Diego Ferrari created a vast archive of defining artists, architecture, studios, galleries and public and urban spaces in London in the 1990s and early 2,000s. This innovative and original body of work brings together the poetic and the documentary in an enduring portrait of one of the world’s greatest cities, and is a lasting testament to a unique chapter in British and European history.
A photographic project spanning fourteen years, Space at the Centre: London 1994-2007 stems from Ferrari’s deep interest in public cultural spaces and artistic practice. Ferrari’s archive of work from this period unfolds across a range of spaces, providing an insight into contemporary artists in London and their studios, public art galleries and alternative spaces, public buildings for the arts under construction or refurbishment, and features some of the most iconic buildings for the arts in the world, including the Tate Modern, the Serpentine and the Whitechapel Gallery.
Ferrari’s portraits capture an exciting historical moment, depicting a generation of then-emerging Young British Artists (YBAs) and the spaces in which they lived, worked and exhibited, as well as exploring their intimate relationships to space. The creative process of the artists is reflected by the instinctive process of the photographer, ever improvising and adapting to capture the fleeting moments in which we live, and which are later consecrated as ‘history’.
The flourishing of contemporary art in Britain in the 1990s is now being viewed as an historical phenomenon. The movement associated with the Young British Artists (YBAs) of the period and its contribution to the visual culture of contemporary Britain can now be looked at in retrospect with a certain amount of clarity and analysis. In a larger sense the early 1990s were a formative period not only in art but in what would become a golden age of British theatre, criticism, literature, architecture and which would coincide with a period of unprecedented prosperity.
Diego Ferrari is an artist and photographers with over 21 years’ experience of exhibitions, residencies and lecturing on his projects around the world. His recent work takes a fine art approach to street photography. His practice interrogates the relationship between social values and public spaces, with a particular interest in the relationship between the body and its environment, articulating modes of individual and collective experiences and social relations.
Ferrari teaches on the Masters course in Photography and Design at Elisava Barcelona School of Design & Engineering and is a Senior lecturer on the BA in Photography at Kingston University London; he also contributes as a lecturer on the MA in Photography and Urban Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2012 Ferrari became a Co-programmer on the annual Urban Encounters symposium at Tate Britain in partnership with the Centre of Urban and Community Research (CUCR), Goldsmiths University of London and Kingston University.