Vanishing Point

The muse of Vanishing Point is a c-type photograph, enlarged and printed from a vintage colour slide purchased online. The photograph depicts a woman with her shirt open to reveal a section of her bust, her hands spread out over her lap. The picture is cropped so that her eyes remain unseen, focusing the attention on the woman’s body and the fabric that half-hides, half reveals it. Beside this picture hangs a large strip of silk, displaying a new textile pattern spawned from the old. Its lower reaches are bunched up on the floor. Here the pattern of the model’s shirt has been fragmented, scrambled and reassembled.

Vanishing Point is charged by a tension between the accessible and inaccessible, the representational and the abstract, the pictorial and the tactile. The photograph is a space of imaginative projection, a world we can enter visually but not touch, while the silk print is rendered tangible in the material space of the gallery, both disrupting and expanding the narrative that the found image originally implied. Vanishing Point both negates and emphasises the desire for the eroticised body that is so prevalent in Western culture. We oscillate between having visual control and losing ourselves within the image.

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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.