Kissell’s paintings explore the distance between the desire for perfection and an Utopian existence and the reality of decay and mortality. Visions of architectural splendour strive for eternal presence in the landscapes they occupy but are surrounded by signifiers of their transience in this world, such as crumbling walls, vandalised architecture or clapped-out old cars overgrown with weeds. Her painting Falls the Shadow (2015) highlights this contrast as an idyllic modernist dwelling sits nestled in a clearing while a debased wall serves as a vestige of another building which has been ravaged by time. The paintings examine the human longing to leave a mark on this world, yet this desire for transcendence can never be fulfilled as bricks and mortar are subject to the elements and will ultimately fall away.
Soden’s photographs capture a unique vantage point into forgotten buildings and reflect the truly transformative nature of time. Her latest photographs were captured in abandoned palaces from across Europe. Her images reflect different architectural styles from intimate private devotional spaces to greater architectural displays of power and grandeur. The series echoes the influential political, social, cultural and religious developments and consequential declines from the last two centuries. Wooden Chapel (2014) reveals the architectural skeleton of a derelict chapel in Poland and many of its original features have been repurposed by the local community. Despite the stripped down nature of the chapel there still remains the unique architectural characteristics of the structure and a haunting mystical space created within it.
Soden carefully coordinates each trip and entry in order to gain often unlicensed access to these deserted buildings. The photographs reflects a journey, referring both to the physical demands of gaining entry and to the lapse of time which is manifested in each location. Both Soden and Kissell’s works reveal the impermanence of even the most stunning and sturdy of structures and the fragility of nature in the world in which we live.