Friday, 1 January 2010
Last summer I came across some photographs by the 19th French physician Duchenne de Boulogne. He had devised a type of electro-physiological mode of investigation about the facial muscles responsible for our emotions. Boulogne believed that each muscle in our face was responsible for a different emotion. This was subsequently disproven (emotions are conveyed via groups of muscles) but I was fascinated by the concept. In my moving-image work I am constantly striving to convey the internal via the body and the face. So after research involving a couple of covert visits to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London where I have a doctor friend, and auditioning fifteen actresses telling me their most painful memory, I finally shot The Seventh Nerve. It is a triptych shot on 16mm film, three continous and simultaneous shots which last about 3mn of the face of a woman reliving a painful memory, reacting to painful imagery, and reacting to a peripheral nerve stimulator (the same type that Boulogne used) attached to her body.
Stills to follow...
Monday, 15 June 2009
I definitely want to go back to China and shoot the important art schools there, after all this is where the project began, during our workshop in Guangzhou.
Thursday, 21 May 2009
This series is a comment on the way art is made in certain countries perceived today as emerging powerhouses on the art scene. The institution of the art-school is seminal. I photograph empty classrooms within these institutions, spaces marked with the richness of the activity of art students, yet devoid of human presence, spaces that address the question of whether a collective consciousness exists amongst these artists. The economy in these countries creates certain conditions which force the process of making art to be a collective experience. China, the fastest growing force today in art and economics, has several reputable art schools including the Academy of Fine Arts in Guangzhou where each year over three thousand students produce art work in an attempt to become part of the Chinese art scene. These carefully arranged compositions were shot in Guangzhou. They explore the rich nuances of the art school system and encapsulate the regimentation of institutional architecture while remaining distinctly human spaces. The activities enacted in these spaces are premised on the balancing of individual versus collective experience, they question the traditional perception of the artist as an individual creator and focus on the collective aspect of the process of making art.