As a new exhibition opens at Sid Motion Gallery, Billie Muraben looks at the featured artists' differing takes on fictional worlds
Sid Motion opened her eponymous gallery in June of 2016, and describes her aim as being “to exhibit the work of emerging artists working in a range of media in a friendly, open environment. I feel there can be a lack of accessibility in commercial spaces, and that’s something I aim to work against.” Inner Landscapes, the gallery's latest exhibition, coincides with this year’s Photo London, for which Motion is the artistic programme manager, and it came about through her research into photographers who were pushing the boundaries of the medium. “I wanted to bring together works that explore different perspectives on our surroundings. The work of these four photographic artists explores the same conceptual themes, yet their aesthetic is unique – from painterly, personal and subtle captures of the domestic, to imagined fictional landscapes of compiled found images,” she says. Here, we look at their respective practices.
In this exhibition, artist and academic Mick Finch will show a work from the series The Book of Knowledge, a piece inspired by the title of a popular set of 1950s encyclopaedia volumes. “My earliest memory of images were from these books,” he says. “The volumes act as a pretext for making work based in appropriation and re-combination. The pages have been cut from one set, scanned and digitally archived. The works made so far do not constitute a memory project as such, the interest is more in having a prescribed archive to access. Strategies of layering or juxtaposing images in Photoshop are used to explore the material’s surcharge – a process of éclatement.”
London-born, Paris-based artist Ben Nason exhibits Infinite, part of an ongoing series inspired by a quote from the late John Berger’s essay on the artist Vermeer, The Painter in his Studio. The quote reads: “The function of the closed-in corner of the room is to remind us of the infinite”, and of how it has inspired his work, Nason says “Corners now reveal themselves to me as perfectly balanced canvases. Each one has its own subtle identity and holds a steady energy that I find both reassuring and powerful.” Nason is interested in paring back the photographic image, he says, “to lead the viewer away from the usual questions about provenance and subject matter”. He would rather “leave space to muse on the self and its interpretations”.
Israeli-born artist and lecturer Dafna Talmor’s Constructed Landscapes stems from a personal archive of photographs initially shot as “mere keepsakes, across locations including Venezuela, Israel, the U.S. and U.K..” A series of collaged medium-format colour negatives, the works become “staged landscapes, a conflation of the real and imaginary,” says Talmor. “Specific places initially loaded with personal meaning and political connotations, are transformed into a space of greater universality. Blurring place, memory and time, the work alludes to idealised and utopian spaces.”
British artist Minnie Weisz’s Portrait of a Room, 2008 was shot only a stones throw from the Sid Motion Gallery, in the developing area in and around King’s Cross. Weisz works in the contexts of social documentary and architecture, through the medium of analogue photography, film experiments in moving image and light interventions. For Portrait of a Room, 2008 she employed the camera obscura technique, which she describes as “the key connecting inside and out, metaphorically speaking”. According to Weisz, the work conveys “portraits of a room; rooms as witness to history and the shifting of time; space and connection; family and home”.
Inner Landscapes runs from April 27 – June 2, 2017 at Sid Motion Gallery, London.