The first solo exhibition by British photographer Andy Day. Since 2002 Day has documented the rise of parkour through its communities in London, France, Nicaragua and India.
Parkour is the non-competitive sport of moving through mainly urban landscapes by running, climbing and jumping. Participants run along a route, attempting to navigate obstacles in the most efficient way possible, using only their bodies. Skills such as vaulting, rolling, swinging and wall scaling are employed. Parkour can be practiced anywhere, but areas dense with obstacles are preferable and it is most commonly practiced in urban areas.
The flà ¢neur and the traceur (a parkour practitioner) both have their origins in Paris. In the nineteenth century the flà ¢neur walked the city in order to experience it and over 150 years later traceurs in the Parisian suburbs found new ways of moving through the very same spaces.
Day's photographic work focuses on the built environment and social interaction, and through parkour he documents new ways of seeing and moving through the city. As cities grow, it can seem that the availability of sites for non-regulated activities is continually reduced. Countering this marginalisation, parkour has the potential to re-appropriate this space, to question concepts of normative behaviour, to liberate the body and to give new freedom to an individual through movement and self-expression.
The exhibition aims to challenge our understanding of how spaces are used and appropriated, and offer alternative ways of looking at urban design that might otherwise be ignored or forgotten.
In the lead up to London 2012 the work makes a timely examination of âThe Athlete' and the continuing paradox of the commercialisation and commodification of the body. Sport has become a commodified spectacle with athletes making product endorsements and appearing in films, and video games.
A Hereford Photography Festival touring exhibition
Gallery opening times:
Wednesday to Saturday, 10am - 5pm
Sunday, 11am - 3pm
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