I did not time the exposures, they weren't planned more than a day in advance. The scale and fragility of the rice paper proved challenging: particularly to ensure the print remained intact throughout the process. There were many opportunities for failure here; yet this felt central to my process. There is a fragility in this work that somehow gelled with the collective—or maybe just my—mood during that strange, isolating and unprecedented time.
In this work there is a nod to the origins of photography: photography as light-writing; there is no camera, no ‘image’, no object of representation, there is only sunlight making an impression on a surface.
May, 2020 / After about a month of adjustment to this new reality I began to feel like making work again. This is usually a good sign. I decided to pick up a project I began in 2018 which I'm able to realise without the need of specialised facilities and equipment, and which has a newfound relevance for me in these times. Situational Cyanotypes is a body of work in which I expose scrunched up pieces of UV light-sensitive paper to sunlight on location. In 2018 I carried out this process while travelling through Italy, Germany and Austria. This time 'round I can't go anywhere. For someone whose artistic practice involves either being elsewhere or being in the darkroom I've been faced with a challenge—What work can I make in this here, this now?
My latest Situational Cyanotypes are now larger in scale, and rather than exposing them to sunlight in other places, I expose them on the footpath just outside my place in Amsterdam—on sunny days. I am not timing the exposures, the days are not planned more than one day in advance...there is a looseness to my method; I feel no need to regiment the process. I still use very thin (13gsm) paper, however the larger scale provides new challenges: particularly to ensure the print remains intact throughout the process. There are many opportunities for failure here...yet this feels central to the process too. There is a fragility in the work that somehow gels with the—maybe my—current mood.
In this work there is a nod to the origins of photography: photography as light-writing; there is no camera, no ‘image’, no object of representation, there is only sunlight making an impression on a surface. At a time when I increasingly lack a sense of purpose the longer this situation drags on—a sense of impotence reigns (this week at least!) This work is a simple gesture; although I can't make an impression anywhere right now...the sun always can.
Cyanotype on 13gsm Kochi paper, ≈110 x 80 cm each, unique