LONDON.- Rod Barton Gallery
presents Breach, an exhibition focusing on four young artists who embrace photography's plasticity and it's ability to exist in multiple contexts. Taking advantage of the medium's inherent instability, they further explore and challenge our understanding of the medium.
The title refers to both a breach of traditional photographic conventions and a rupture between real and virtual space. A photograph is paradoxical by nature: there is always a confliction between what it depicts and it's physical existence as an object. Taking this paradox as a point of focus, participating artists create diverse work ranging from still-life photography to sculpture, pushing the medium to it's elastic limits.
These works could be said to be multi-stable with a similar perceptual effect to that of the famous optical illusion Rubin's vase. When one attempts to pin them down they slip into another realm: contexts are continuously shifting. These uneasy, anxious objects exist in a mercurial state where nothing is fixed. Instead meanings are multiple, as the constant state of transition creates a sense of unease and confusion.
Aurelien Arbet and Jeremie Egry's series 'Travaux Choisis' adopts the guise of traditional still-life photography. Tools and objects are collected, brought together in the studio and shot against highly detailed and saturated backgrounds. Chosen and arranged according to their texture, colour and form, their symbolic values become secondary. Disparate content and meanings becomes fluid mingling together underneath the surface of the picture plane. The play on surface, mimicry and deception - both exacting and ambiguous - dismisses any narrative potential.
Hung in a tight grid, Bianca Brunner's iridescent photographs, reminiscent of puddles of oil, aerial imagery and digital interference, deny any sense of scale. There is simultaneously a sense of intimacy and distance; a confusion of the material and the immaterial, real and virtual, haptic and optic. The viewer's focus is passed around from work to work and oscillates between the surface of the photographic paper and the shimmering oil-like surface beneath. Made by pouring oil and water over black backdrop paper and photographing repeatedly in direct sunlight, they are made by completely analogue means yet suggest the digital.
For the series Trak Star Bryan Dooley spent six weeks photographing the NYU running team in New York. Reality is abstracted by document. The images reminiscent of studio still-lives, contain indexical references forming a proxy reality. Adhesive PVC prints fold around corners and slip onto the floor. Uncomfortable in their containment, they infest the gallery space. Photographic conventions are ruptured through manipulation of the photographic surface and it's dimensions, causing the images to exist in a visceral space where the image as an object is situated in both the past and present, collapsing real and photographic space.
Jean Charles de Quillacq's work reveals itself in an ambivalent and fragmentary manner. Elements are taken from previous work and recombined with new elements from where the object is produced or exhibited. Challenge Nathalie consists of a graduated painted steel structure on which hangs the artists't-shirt. Transferred onto the t-shirt are photographic images depicting a previous installation of de Quilacq's work (from the same series as shown in Rowena Hughes, Eddie Peake, Jean Charles de Quillacq at Rod Barton Gallery in 2010). These photographs generate a gap in the present - a portal to the works genealogy. Graduations of colours on the steel frame translate this transition - from one colour to another - as from one to state to another. Works are never finished but become producers of developing relationships: there is only process, never a conclusion.