Art Review: Joachim Brohm @ Brancolini Grimaldi

When we’re surrounded by wind and rain, spotting an advert of a sun-kissed beach does often lead to a bit of escapism. These photographs are often taken around midday when the sun and sky are at their brightest and the beach glows with warmth. But what if instead of a plush hotel in a Mediterranean paradise, you have a child’s toy half buried in sand or a rusting hulk of a tractor?

Joachim Brohm has travelled to the virtually unknown island of Culatra off the coast of Portugal to capture this seeming contradiction whereby white sands play host to unkempt gardens, or a pristine villa sits happily next to a ‘shed’ fashioned out of corrugated steel. As there are no people in these photographs, they give off the feel of a half-built town that was suddenly abandoned.

Alongside his latest series are some of his earlier works capturing the ordinary moments in quiet towns. In the Ruhr region of Germany, children and adults sled in the snow – a photograph that feels like a modern day version of a Bruegel painting. While his series of middle America has the feel of a Hollywood road trip yet remains firmly grounded in the reality of everyday life.

Despite these stand outs, Brohm’s early series are not as strong as his latest works, where the contrast of white sands and blue skies with various detritus provides for a series of intriguing and compelling photographs.

Joachim Brohm: Place and Edges is on at Brancolini Grimaldi, First floor, 43-44 Albemarle St, W1S 4JJ until 4 May. Admission is free.

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