Following the success of our opening exhibitions, we are delighted to announce a complete rehang and six new shows opening in early June. All three floors of the Centre will present exhibitions that focus on landscape and the environment.
From a lightbox composite work of Helen Sear to an immersive exhibition of photographs by Mandy Barker, the Centre will encourage visitors to reconsider the world around them and our impact on the landscape.
Landscape Trauma presents the work of Keith Arnatt, John Blakemore, Victor Burgin, John Davies, Willie Doherty, Melanie Friend, Fay Godwin, Paul Hart, Paul Hill, Roshini Kempadoo, Simon Norfolk, Ingrid Pollard, Paul Seawright, Mitra Tabrizian, and Jane and Louise Wilson.
Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of Simon Norfolk’s seminal book, For Most of It I Have No Words (1998), Landscape Trauma explores the landscape as a site of history and conflict as well as the subject of more recent human interventions that include farming, industry, oil exploration, tourism, terrorism and war. It focuses on two aspects:
Natural Histories explores the ways in which the past is reflected in the present. Victor Burgin combines the distant and recent past to address the Holocaust; Simon Norfolk presents sites of atrocities; Willie Doherty shows an anti-terrorist road-block; Ingrid Pollard monumentalises flaking iron-blooded rock; and Jane and Louise Wilson monumentalise the massive insertion of concrete look-out bunkers.
Human Nature presents more recent incursions into the countryside. Keith Arnatt’s ANOB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) looks at the effects of tourism; John Blakemore, Fay Godwin, and Paul Hill address the ways that our right to roam is restricted; Melanie Friend shows an Immigration Removal Centre at Dover and war games on Salisbury Plain; Paul Hart explores the dominance of industry and electricity pylons; John Davies campaigns to preserve trees and thereby thwart a housing development; Mitra Tabrizian wittily shows the ways that the pandemic turned our world upside-down; and Roshini Kempadoo critiques the links between oil exploration and colonialism.
MANDY BARKER. PLASTIC SOUP
We are delighted to provide an opportunity for a London audience to experience for the first time Mandy Barker's exhibition Plastic Soup, which was first shown by the National Trust at Lacock Abbey. The show reflects our commitment to photography and activism as well as to providing a London venue for regional exhibitions.
Mandy Barker's work is created to raise awareness of marine plastic pollution and has received global recognition. In this immersive exhibition Barker uses visual interpretation and scientific collaboration to inspire people into action in tackling this global environmental problem.
‘Soup’ is a description given by scientists to plastic debris suspended in the sea, and with particular reference to the mass accumulation that exists in an area of The North Pacific Ocean known as the Garbage Patch. The series of images aims to stimulate an emotional response in the viewer by combining a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction and social awareness. The sequence reveals a narrative concerning oceanic plastics from initial attraction and attempted ingestion, to the ultimate death of sea creatures and representing the disturbing statistics of dispersed plastics having no boundaries.
All the plastics photographed have been salvaged from beaches around the world and represent a global collection of debris that has existed for varying amounts of time in the world’s oceans. The captions record the plastic ingredients in each image providing the viewer with the realisation and facts of what exists in the sea.
IN FOCUS DISPLAYS
Our three solo exhibitions on the Mezzanine level present responses to nature that use different forms of multi-layering, multiple-exposure or multiple-images.
HELEN SEAR. COMPOSITES
Helen Sear: Composites presents three large-scale composite works that emphasise the indivisibility of the human and the natural worlds. In the lightbox Caetera Fumus, a rapeseed field is pierced by arrows inspired by a painting of Saint Sebastian by Mantegna, and in the extraordinary multi-panel glasswork, Cold Frame, Sear presents a cold frame at the scale of a domestic greenhouse.
Sear questions whether it is possible to have a view of nature without incorporating the human presence. She emphasises that what she records is not something that is separate or distant. Instead she is a part of nature and the experience is immersive. One way she does this is by disrupting a fixed-point perspective in many of her large composite works. The viewer follows her as she moves around, looks up and down, travels from the front to the back. In denying a fixed-point perspective and stitching her images together, she creates multi-layered landscapes. Ultimately, what Sear achieves in her composites is active, rather than static, viewing.
JOHN BLAKEMORE. SEDUCED BY LIGHT
John Blakemore: Seduced by Light explores the photographers use of multiple images by focusing on two bodies of work: his remarkable multiple exposure depictions of a forest and his beautiful unique artist's books.
A forest is recorded using as many as 48 exposures in an effort to capture the ever-changing light and wind over time in a single image, and in unique artist's books Blakemore uses sequencing and combined images to poetically suggest a spiritual commune.
The exhibition is accompanied by a new short film, commissioned by the Centre for British Photography, about the photographer.
JERMAINE FRANCIS. A STORIED GROUND
Jermaine Francis: A Storied Ground is the London premiere of this recent body of work. In it Francis uses multiple images to explore a black presence in nature.
Francis uses these images to point out the codes in English pictorialism and landscape imagery, and to the flattening and uniformity these codes create. He plays with the seductiveness of the space, wanting to disrupt the beauty that is considered part of the landscape - making montages to physically disrupt that space for the viewer.
Historically the Black figure is absent in the English landscape, which has a strong relationship to nationalism and colonialism. Francis considers the Black figure in the landscape, to show how these codes infiltrate and influence how the Black figure is seen. He disrupts the viewing experience in a slightly ambiguous, obtuse way, to create figures like ghosts that still exist in the space.
Our Open Call on Countryside - Landscape - Environment attracted an incredible 1,100 entries! Thank you to everyone who submitted their work. It was incredibly difficult to make the selection.
A display of works by the six winning photographers will be shown in the Centre’s windows and foyer spaces.
The Open Call is part of the Centre’s programme to platform photographers at all stages of their career. The Open Call is sponsored by Spectrum Photographic.
Winners websites linked below, please click on names for more info: