I start rehearsal with the third years at Lincoln University on Monday. Since writing just before Christmas, I have actually been to see the Shadow Catchers exhibition at the V&A Museum and particularly loved the work of German artist Floris Neususs. His whole body photograms are really intriguing – they have more or less detail depending on how close to the photographic paper the model is when that paper is exposed to light. This means that when you look at them in the exhibition, they appear to be floating: http://www.vam.ac.uk/images/image/68818-popup.html .
I was particularly drawn to Neususs’ work, ‘Be Right Back’:
The presence of the chair and the shadow without the shadow’s subject has become a key ‘trigger image’ for me when planning for my work at Lincoln: an image around which I can hang all the other ideas I’ve been collecting following my research into the photography of Francesca Woodman, and, from there, the photography of others including Duane Michal and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.
Unlike the ‘trigger scenarios’ I’m usually drawn to, the details of ‘Be Right Back’, particularly what happened before and what will happen next in the situation Neususs describes, are very ambiguous. This means we can work imaginatively to try and fill in those blanks.
In the work that will follow this week, I would also like to investigate:
• distortion of time, and distortion of space – playing with the ‘Be Right Back’ scenarios we create, and shifting where, when, how quickly, how slowly they happen so that we reveal and dissolve different versions of a reality with a chair and a shadow
• light and shade – inspired by the fact that the work of the Shadow Catcher photographers often takes place in the dark room, I think we’ll play with what happens when movement takes place in the dark. Structurally, I’m wondering whether much of the activity of the piece will take place in the dark to begin with (with torch-light) so we only gradually reveal the fuller detail of what’s going on to the audience.
• the potential for an image (in this case a photograph) to be about more than documenting an event; for it to have the capacity to function like a metaphor for something else, something more complicated