Mercury shows images made of Tristan da Cunha, an overseas British territory situated in the South Atlantic. An archipelago of active volcanoes, it is the most remote inhabited island in the world and populated by less than 300 people.
Chaplin’s ethnographic approach uses photographs of Tristan to speak about elusiveness, isolation and a consecration of distance within the photographic frame. Tristan is an extremely private community, accessible only, with permission, by an infrequent week-long boat voyage - meaning that we must gaze upon Tristan through small glimpses of visibility, a process which renders visible the acts of framing, aestheticising and abstracting at work within the creation of images.
The works in Mercury reframe and reinterpret collaborative photographs made by residents and commissioned by the artist, as well as archival materials and other pictures. Alongside these works is an immersive new looping video and sound piece. These varying representations of the islands – from the utopian to the fantastical, the tranquil to the disconcerting – question how images can play into and against these uncertain readings of landscape and place.
Lewis Chaplin (b. 1992, London) lives and works in London. Interested in an anthropological approach to images, Chaplin’s six-year project about British colony Tristan da Cunha - the remotest inhabited island in the world - spans photographs, film, books and installations. Alongside Sarah Piegay Espenon, runs Loose Joints, an independent publishing house and design studio. From 2009 to 2014, he co-ran Fourteen Nineteen with Alex F. Webb, a project dedicated to supporting young photography. He was also an organiser of Copeland Book Market, an annual event for printed matter which ran from 2010-2015. His most recent artist book, 2041, is published by Here Press.
In March, roaming will present Asbestos, a major new video installation by Sasha Litvinseva and Graeme Arnfield.
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