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Atlas Gallery Explores Synergies between Words and Images in Ground-Breaking Exhibition
Mark Power, Liverpool 2008. © Mark Power/Magnum Photos.
LONDON.- Atlas Gallery presents a ground-breaking exhibition exploring synergies between words and images, which dramatically transforms the gallery into a multi-media experience including photography, poetry and live performance. ‘Destroying the Laboratory for the Sake of the Experiment’ is a collaboration between Magnum photographer Mark Power and award-winning poet Daniel Cockrill. This multifaceted project began in 2006 as an experiment and continues in this guise of exploration and evolution. The two artists travel together to different parts of England, usually a town or city, share similar experiences, but react independently. It is an exercise in seeing and selecting what each considers interesting or important at any given time. Mark Power responds with photographs, Daniel Cockrill writes poetry.

Power and Cockrill have discovered an inter-changeability of their work over the past three years. A photograph of Liverpool may work as well with a poem about, for instance, Colchester as with a poem about itself. Increasingly, and as the recession developed, Cockrill’s responses became more documentary, termed by Power ‘documentary poetry’. Their work assumed a darker, more ominous tone as time has passed, a reflection of the changing mood in England. Photographs and poems, which began as a careful sequence, have integrated over time, allowing instead for chance meetings, a key aspect to the project. While there are a few examples where specific pairings are retained, for the most part they prefer to leave the outcome to fate.

In the gallery poems in bold, dynamic graphics (especially designed for the exhibition by Dominic Brookman) cover the walls, a single photograph propped up here contrasts with a second image installed on the floor, a triptych combining images with a central poem opens and closes, encouraging the viewer’s involvement, complimented by a sound piece of Cockrill’s rhythmic verses. Different methods of framing are experimented with, using wood, metal, and even concrete in various guises. It is this exciting interplay between words and images, merging and layering, at times controlled and static but occasionally meandering and flowing, that pushes at the boundaries of both photography and poetry.

Whether making a portrait, photographing a modern landscape or writing a poem about the state of an English town, both artists are attempting to uncover a ‘likeness’. They slowly assemble a sketch, brick by brick, word by word, picture by picture, that not only reveals the England of ‘Now’ but also attempts to communicate a vision of the country’s future. They have set out to record a view of England that affirms its appearances and disappearances, documenting the transition taking place and the changes in temperature, both political and environmental, with permanent results. The collaboration and companionship of two artists, and the fusion of poem and photograph, unearth similarities between towns and places, while at the same time establishing links between words and images.

Mark Power
Born 1959, UK. Mark Power’s photographs have been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally. He has published five books: The Shipping Forecast (1996), Superstructure (2000), The Treasury Project (2002), 26 Different Endings (2007) and The Sound of Two Songs (2010). Power joined Magnum in 2002, becoming a full member in 2007. He is Professor of Photography at the University of Brighton.

Daniel Cockrill
Daniel Cockrill is a founding member of the weekly stand up poetry event ‘Bang Said The Gun’. He has appeared regularly on BBC radio, published in Australia, USA and Britain and was the 2006 Farrago London Poetry Slam Champion. He has contributed to numerous festivals and events nationally and internationally. His first full collection entitled ‘Pie and Papier-Mâché’ was published in 2007.





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