... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

358: Andy Broadey, The View From Here @ BLANKSPACE

Andy Broadey's works, currently showing at BLANKSPACE Manchester (Blank Media Collective), are installation-based experimental photography. As a description I think that works ; despite experimentation being a neccessity in keeping contemporary art fresh and new. Perhaps if it wasn't experimental I wouldn't be writing about it and Andy wouldn't be making it. The guy is an accomplished artist, and The View From Here is his PhD final show ; all goes well and he will be Doctor (of Philosophy) Artist, with a camera lens instead of a stethoscope and photographic paper instead of x-rays.

Three installation pieces comprise The View From Here: Day Room, Shadow Box and Display. The first you encounter is Display, a series of close-up clip-framed photo prints examining clear acrylic leaflet holders (of the sort you can buy at extortionate amounts from Ryman). "This piece emphasizes the way gallery contexts and display conventions allow audiences to see otherwise innocuous and familiar objects as something worthy of artistic appreciation," writes Andy. I interpret it as being an artistic display focusing on functional display units, almost as if the clip-frames had been left empty.

Shadow Box
The leaflet holders are designed to remain inconspicuous and invisible, but magically become visible once the leaflets are gone. I don't consider them to be everyday familiar objects however; they are not something people have in their homes and rarely if ever have need for. I worked in Ryman a while back, and they were not big sellers, however they looked quite alluring and mysterious all lined up, unsold, on the shelf. Like unborn ghosts of businesses as yet unstarted.

In four parts spread across BLANKSPACE's four upstairs studios is Shadow Box. Photographs of empty perspex boxes are created by shining the light of a desk lamp directly through the box and onto photographic paper. Exposure lasted about two seconds before the paper was printed ; entirely cameraless photography. The result is an image resembling scorching or smoke damage, like the pattern rising up the brickwork above a window where fire has torn through. The light has burnt the box onto the paper ; the mathematically predictable bending of the light through the box is sealed and seared in black and white. The images are displayed with the lamp and box used to create them. The lamp is unlit and the photo is set and developed. Although a three-dimensional installation, the scene is still as dead and captured as an old portrait of the long-forgotten. Strangely creepy. My favourite in the exhibition.

Day Room is the documentation of a private endurance performance (attended only by the artist). Andy photographed the empty main gallery of BLANKSPACE every two and a half minutes for an entire 24 hour period. He used these photographs to reproduce the gallery, within the gallery, as a cross between serial art and sequential art – moving both through time in two and a half minute jumps, and space a few inches at a time.

Day Room
The View From Here is subtle, sophisticated and challenging and a very well conceived series of related installations. Excellent for BLANKSPACE's first solo exhibition, and best of luck to Andy in his PhD.

Read further thoughts on The View From Here from
Valerie O'Riordan at Not Exactly True,
Sarah-Clare Conlon at Words & Fixtures, and
Manchester School of Architecture students (Jack and MSSA) at Look Up Manchester.

Updated with photos on 3rd August 2011.  All pictures by Gareth Hacking.  To see the complete set of pictures go to Gareth's flickr here.

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