Momentarily - Endless
Fried Contemporary Gallery Pretoria
17 - 31 March 2007

click on image for the full picture

This photographic installation comprises images collected and worked on over a period of more than thirty years. Some images are recent - both from the moment of being captured by the camera and from the way that they are presented here. Some of the older images - never previously exhibited, were recently reworked and included for the sake of their significance in relation to the whole body of work. (They have become endless!)

Geoff Dyer* wrote that “cameras are clocks for seeing”. This implies that cameras – by the nature of their applications, visually remind us of something that happened at a particular time and place. It also implies that cameras are used as a tool for visual documentation and record. While I don’t disagree with that notion my use of photography is neither intended to document events - to save something ‘for the record’ - nor to ‘spread a message with visible proof’.

As an artist who still enjoys painting and sculpture, my focus has shifted from creating something new on a white canvas or shaping a piece of clay or other material into a work of art, to what the visible world itself provides for very brief moments of aesthetic fascination.

Those moments etch themselves onto my memory to such an extent that I feel obsessed to review them and render them available for others to see. This obsession with reviewing what I had seen - and getting as close to the memory as possible - necessitates the use of a camera. Visual language and its narrative based on real confrontations are my primary concerns.

There are five main themes in the work – all inspired by my engagement with visual art and linked by some kind of travel.

Travel refers to physical travel from one place to another, or more often it refers to a time/mind trip from one moment to another. On each trip there are interruptions. These interruptions are the moments that become ongoing ones – the images that I call Momentarily Endless.

Broadly speaking, the themes are:

  • Photographs that refer to other artists, architects, writers and musicians – with the focus on either an interpretation of their work, or on a visual fascination with some aspect of their work.
  • Personal, nostalgic mementoes that include portraits of direct family, friends and artists,
  • Pictures taken on various local and international trips,
  • ‘Wallpaper’ – my term for a repetition of the same or similar images of the same subject found within a20 meter radius of my computer workstation.
  • Mouse paintings – my term for ‘polishing the stone’! Without altering the original content, these are pictures that were manipulated by the computer mouse until only the essence of the original photograph remains.

    The photographs on exhibition were created in different ways. Some had originally been captured by a simple pinhole camera (a box with a tiny hole instead of a lens) – then printed, the print scanned and the scan digitally reprinted on fine art paper. Others were taken with a forty year old medium format camera. The same process used for pinhole pictures, i.e. print, scan and reprint on other paper, followed. Yet other pictures were directly captured on digital camera, processed and printed.

    *Geoff Dyer, The Ongoing Moment, published by Little, Brown in October 2005.