Terence Donovan: Speed of Light
The archive is delighted to be working with curator Robin Muir and The Photographers’ Gallery, in partnership with global technology company Ricoh, to present the first major retrospective of Terence Donovan’s work.
Presented over two floors, Speed of Light reflects the breadth of Donovan’s career and the originality that he brought to the different genres and mediums in which he worked. Incorporating a compelling mix of vintage material as well as previously unpublished works, the exhibition will also include the groundbreaking film and video of his mid and later career, such as his collaborations with musicians Robert Palmer and Malcolm McLaren. Guest curator Robin Muir and the Terence Donovan Archive have conceived an immersive installation that offers insight into the little-seen processes behind Donovan’s work as well as large scale renditions of his photographs, video and films. In addition, it will include ephemera such as early magazine spreads from ‘Man About Town’ (later ‘Town’) magazine that were formative in the creation of a new approach to the depiction of men’s fashion, contact sheets and cameras used by Terence Donovan as well as studio notes, previously unseen sketches and diaries.
‘Speed of Light’ was an expression Terence Donovan used so frequently and democratically, that for those who knew and worked with him, it became a phrase indelibly linked to the man himself. It was a phrase deployed to accelerate, energise and provoke; a figure of speech suggestive of transformation, agility and a commitment to continue developing and moving his practice forward. As a title for the exhibition, Speed of Light encompasses the myriad and dynamic facets of the man, the work, and the pace of the changes he oversaw and wrought.
As part of the exhibition experience, Ricoh have enabled a dedicated space for audiences to explore some of the techniques and styles employed by Donovan and use them as a springboard for creating their own images. The Ricoh imagine. change. studio offers visitors access to the latest Ricoh imaging equipment and will present a series of activities to encourage experimentation with fashion and portraiture and provide platforms for sharing and comment.
Robin Muir is a photographic historian, exhibitions arranger and writer on photography. He has curated major exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven. His most recent exhibition is Vogue 100 A Century of Style (National Portrait Gallery). He curated Under the Influence: John Deakin and the Lure of Soho for the Photographers’ Gallery in 2014. He is currently a Contributing Editor to British Vogue.
Installation images © Kate Elliott / Courtesy The Photographers’ Gallery