Split

Split provides the viewer with a viewing position (a chair) in which to sit and contemplate a cropped source-image (a vintage pin-up slide bought online and printed). The chair’s legs echo the outspread limbs of the image’s model, and the pattern of the fabric of the beds in the original image is partially repeated in the (new) fabric on the chair.

As the viewer sits down on something which appears to be part of or born from the picture, the focal point is divided, the vanishing point suspended. Yet rather than being seductive, the new upholstery, in reproducing the foreshortening seen in the original picture, generates a swirling, whirling pattern that is not necessarily aesthetically pleasant, evoking a slight vertigo or nausea. Split’s uncanny corporeality ruptures the libidinal visual field of the photograph.

The picture splits and if we sit down, the picture touches the body of the viewer. As it engulfs and envelops us, we are drawn both into the picture and outside of the picture. The boundaries become porous and unsteady. Split deepens the viewer’s haptic relationship to the photograph.

Split was first exhibited in Offcut at The Ravestijn Gallery, Amsterdam (NL) in 2016.

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Offset included three new artworks which extracted components from within a photographic image and rendered them in three-dimensional, material space. The source images for the artworks were ‘found’ vintage erotic photographs. In each, a fabric that features in the original photograph is the point of departure for the new work. The eroticised woman is here intimately bound up with the pattern of the fabric close to her. Erotic photography could be said to be all about having a ‘virtual’ experience; but paradoxically that experience is often about the fantasy of touch.

To produce these works, which straddle conventional photography and installation, the chosen pin-up photographs were first digitised. A new textile pattern was then designed and produced based on the scanned information of the original, analogue image’s fabric. The newly-designed pattern incorporates and repeats the photographic quirks of the source image (such as foreshortening); it also reproduces, in its flatness, the source textile’s creases and folds. Once the fabrics have been printed, they are set in dialogue with the photographic image from which they’ve been extrapolated, with the space of the gallery, and with the viewer. Thus the fantasy world of the image is made present in the real world of the gallery space, albeit in ‘warped’ or imperfect form.

Download a PDF document about the exhibition Offcut here.