One can look at seeing

1 Aug 2007 – 30 Sep 2007

Phoenix Arts Centre

Leicester, United Kingdom


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One can look at seeing - Adam Thompson


In his darkly romantic photography Thompson draws the viewers gaze through the surrounding deep-black of the images to a highlighted objective.

The prevalent impression one gets when looking at Thompson's photographs is of the black. It covers most of the image and is rich dark and all absorbing. The elements of landscape that snake through this thick void lead us to an unknown destination and we are caught in the twilight. Thompson has created this scene, adapting photographs, dislocating them and us with the black.

Creation in western tradition comes from biblical and Greek texts and both have order represented by the world being formed from a chaos, primal emptiness, a chasm or gape,
'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.' [i]

Thompson's photography with its deepest black highlighting the object/aspect and absorbing the rest into the saturated void does well what many aim to do, to project the self, the viewer into the scene. We are looking out from under the cover of darkness, does this make us part of the terror that resides in the gape or is the dichotomy of dark/light, terror/comfort, death/life reversed from the norm leaving the highlighted landscape as both beautiful and alluring whilst uncomfortable and terrifying. Do we really want to go there into the light or are we more comfortable in the dark looking out.
We have since arcadia was immortalized by Virgil's Eclogues as some imaginary idyllic paradise seen the landscape as utopic, though, as Oscar Wilde said, 'It is fortunate for us, however, that Nature is so imperfect, as otherwise we should have no art at all.' [ii] Nature conforms to our image of it, and as we nolonger work the land ourselves we are free to idalize, but here Thompson has done the idalization for us, it is a vision of our future, and what we see whilst beautiful is also dark, darker than the black boarder that it emerges from. The goal of mankind is shown as that of destruction, we do not create but destroy, mountains are made into bricks then turn into dust, forests are chopped and burnt all that we know will come to an end, maybe we should just stay in the dark.

[i]Genisis 1:1 ' 1:2
[ii] Intentions, The Decay Of Lying ' Oscar Wilde 1891

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