Hamish Gane took over R&J's Instagram page from the 22nd to 29th March 2021.
DAY ONE: Monday 22nd March
Much of my practice is concerned with photography and memory - predominantly explored through the optic of the family. In work such as 200 Seconds and Hard Cell, photography’s mnemonic standing is called into question.
In Hard Cell, I projected and re-photographed significant filmic moments from family super-8 archive, while in 200 Seconds, the leather case in which these cine films were stored for over twenty years is converted into a pinhole camera. 200 Seconds refers to the duration of a 50ft spool of Kodak Super-8 played at the standard rate of 18 frames per second, which is also the exposure time of each pinhole photograph.
Each photograph is made in the projected light of a film from the archive, contracting thousands of frames into one new image – a contrast to the digital proliferation of personal photographs and their distribution through social networking sites.
1-7: 200 Seconds
8-10: Hard Cell
DAY TWO: Tuesday 23rd March
Boreas was the Ancient Greek God of the North Wind; the ‘bringer of winter’ and the ‘father of rain’. In the classical doctrine of the ‘Four Humours’, Boreas is associated with the melancholy temperament. Made in Swansea, Berlin, Paris and Budapest, the images include recurring motifs such as birds, angels and abandonment; employing the transition from summer to winter as metaphor for melancholic reflection.
DAY THREE: Wednesday 24th March
White Magic on Black Friday – An American Dream Dialectic
The drawings in White Magic on Black Friday are by my partners father who is the protagonist of this work exhibited at Diffusion Cardiff in 2015. With my partners family's endorsement I reappropriated these sketches in the fictitious account of a pilgrimage he made to the Klondike mountains in Jack London’s footsteps. I only ever identify him as Gatsby.
“Just as medieval society was balanced on God & the Devil, so ours is balanced on consumption & its denunciation. Though at least around the Devil heresies & black magic sects could organize. Our magic is WHITE. No heresy is possible any longer in a state of affluence. It is the prophylactic whiteness of a saturated society, a society with no history & no dizzying heights, a society with no myth other than itself.”
- Jean Baudrillard, The Consumer Society
In 1964 British newspapers reported that an artist had abandoned his full-time teaching post at a prestigious girls’ grammar school to take up a job as a dustman eschewing the materialist culture that defined the sixties in order to focus on his art practice. His insistence on wearing impractical white clothing on the job earned him the nickname Gatsby. He never relinquished his disdain for consumption & lived most of his life in relative parsimony becoming a scholar of Jack London with whom he shared fundamental beliefs - dialectically divided between essential socialist principles & powerful individualist drives. To celebrate his 60th birthday Gatsby planned a pilgrimage to Klondike Alaska where London had found his literary voice. Sadly he died quite suddenly of a stroke before he was due to leave & his body lay undiscovered for several days. In an ironic twist of fate his death occurred on Friday 29 Nov 2002 the day that annually USA celebrates materialism & fiercely encourages consumption - Black Friday. A poetic construction drawing on concepts of consumerism the American Dream & alchemy this work represents the liminal period between Gatsby's supposed death & the discovery of his body 3 days later during which his pilgrimage to Klondike was magically realised.
DAY FOUR: Thursday 25th March
Lazy Eye is a series of portraits of my son, made when he had a typical childhood ailment or condition, each photograph is captioned with the Latin name of the illness.
Reception of most photography is now via the screen rather than print, and the ease of image creation and distribution with ever-increasing speeds of internet interfaces, forces us to read images faster, dismissing or accepting their content in an instant, yet very rarely giving ourselves the opportunity to notice all the elements present.
Babies are often born with a slight squint, which corrects itself within the first few weeks as they become accustomed to looking at the world, and some children develop a squint as a result of amblyopia. The severity of the squint varies but it is often most apparent when a child is very tired or unwell.
In this series, analogue photography is employed to record and document childhood illness, resulting in an antithetical family album of melancholic portraiture.
i) Varicella Zosters
ii) Epidemic Parotitis
iv) Pediculus Humanus Capitus
vi) Otitis Media
viii) Varicella Zosters II
DAY FIVE: Friday 26th March
Photography’s relationship to the real has dematerialised, and although digital recording may not have destabilised the social function of photographic images, photography’s unique spell of aura and affect has arguably been forever broken. In the series, Anatomies, apposite instant images are captioned with the chapter headings from Robert Burton’s vast book of 1621, The Anatomy of Melancholy.
DAY SIX: Saturday 27th March
My first solo exhibition ‘Apron’ at Mission Gallery in 2005, again through depiction of my immediate environment and family, explored the space of contradiction that exists within the concept of the ideal family.
In this series, I created a conceptual space within which to work by repeatedly photographing the same physical space from a fixed camera position. The staged reality of the resulting images then further created a metaphysical space between fact and fiction, security and vulnerability, reality and myth.
The title Apron refers not only to the protective garment often employed as metaphor for (parental) security and protection, but also to the small area of stage that protrudes beyond the curtain and into the auditorium - perhaps the most exposed and least protected space in the theatre.
DAY SEVEN: Sunday 28th March
This character who has become Proserpina walks through the landscape along a path, lined with Souls.She would be anxious at first. She engages in conversation. She appears wearing what could be a halo. A real Goddess!
Nothing is new. The same stories persist. We are human and fallible. We love, need, lie and deceive. These are all subjects visited by many artists over the centuries. I have known them since I began looking at art, when I was a child. The stories are as old as mankind but are also painfully contemporary and can take many forms. They are often the stories of innocents; stories that reveal the worst in us, that which is tragic and destructive. They are also stories of the triumph of truth over lie.
DAY EIGHT: Monday 29th March
This work, ‘Looking for Eudoxie (Selective Reuptake Inhibitor)’ explores contemporary melancholy, endemic in western neoliberal society, reflected by the proliferation of antidepressant and opiate dependency, and photography’s mnemonic capacity. Selective digital images from the family archive are reviewed on a large high-definition LED screen, rephotographed on medium format monochrome film, processed and printed conventionally, then scanned through a (serotonin) yellow gel. Eudoxie was one of the women diagnosed as suffering from ‘Hysteria’ by Jean-Martin Charcot in the late 19th century, incarcerated, treated and photographed at La Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris. Charcot said Eudoxie suffered from hysterical sleep. The name ‘Eudoxie’ derives from ancient Greek, meaning comfort.
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