What is a LIFESTYLE? According to the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, a lifestyle is “a general trend or pattern of behavior that suggests general attitudes, inclinations, and habits”. In other words, a LIFESTYLE would be… “a general disposition or trend of behaviour”. This definition of a LIFESTYLE would not be as inclusive as it may sound. In fact, a LIFESTYLE is a very vague concept which can be applied to any persons behaviour or inclination.
The term has been introduced by Austrian psychologists Alfred Adler and Carl Jung in their 1929 book, The Case of Miss R. This book described how children develop a strong sense of who they are through their own experiences. To help children adapt to the changing environment surrounding them, parents introduced the concept of polaroid camera into the children’s lives; a camera that took a series of black and white images of objects in the environment, which helped the children to develop a “vision of the world around them” and created a sort of Polaroid vision; a single view, rather than a multiple view.
Polaroid cameras became the object of much fascination to the likes of Hogue and Weber. These two photographers sought out to document the human condition through the lens. As they say in their book Polaroids, “A picture is only as good as the way it was taken… and the more times that Polaroids have been used… the better those pictures look.” A LIFESTYLE can also be defined as a particular behaviour or inclination. In the case of Weber and Hogue, these were outdoor behaviour, such as photography, boating, canoeing, hiking, mountaineering, rock climbing, fly fishing and backpacking.
LIFESTYLE is an up and coming collection of short works by British photographer James Mayfair. He co-founded the London Picturehouse Gallery in 1979, which was “dedicated to photographing the London experience and to presenting British art in its most distinctive and provoking form”. The establishment of this gallery resulted from the conviction that “art should not be an adjunct of life, but its own independent force, with which to challenge and enhance the workings of contemporary life”. It has gone on to become one of the most distinguished and popular galleries in the UK, providing a platform for British artists such as Banksy, Jasper Johns and Frank Anderson to showcase their work. Mayfair has described his work as “beyond expectation” and “a complete treat”.
LIFESTYLE features works from some of the most renowned names in British photography, with works from snaps snapped by Banksy, featuring the graffiti “Piggy Bank”, undertaken in the autumn of 2021, to a collage painting by Fred Adler entitled “The Best Things in Life Are Free”. Other featured artists include Jonny Cash, Donatella Versace and Paul McCartneys. A final exhibition, curated by Jon Bitzer, will feature works from the late seventies and the eighties, as well as art from a range of other British artists, brought together for the occasion by The Art Institute of London. LIFESTYLE will run until the end of March, with Jon Bitzer’s exhibition running parallel to James Mayfair’s. After that, the LIFESTYLE venue will remain closed to visitors.
In keeping with its focus groups, LIFESTYLE will feature curators from a variety of different backgrounds, including curators from the Institute of Contemporary Art, Tate Britain and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. There are also focus groups from architecture firms, designers and multimedia producers. The aim of the programme is to create an opportunity for people from all walks of life to get involved in the design and development of a room at the local Florence Knoll. By inviting participants from such a variety of fields, LIFESTYLE hopes to build a bridge between diverse groups of people and communities, and encourage them to take part in projects they might otherwise find too challenging to work in.