I saw a really interesting installation by the American artist Zoe Leonard at the Camden Arts Centre on Thursday. I entered a large room, with barely any light, except one circle on the far wall. On the floor, there were bean bags ‘enticing’ me to sit down. On the opposite wall, I turned to see a giant projection presented across most of a wall and running up to and over the ceiling.
“Daylight filters in through a lens, projecting an image of the world outside onto the floor, walls and ceiling.” (CAC)
Leonard had used a camera obscura of the outside streets to create this giant projection. Cars, lorries and people moved across the ceiling and intertwined with the architecture and fixtures. The abstract noise of the traffic outside became heightened by the images inside the room. As the sound of a lorry rumbled past outside, the sound was illustrated by a lorry speeding over the gallery walls. What you would normally expect to see is a recording of a street scene, but in fact the event was occurring in real time and of course would never be repeated. This was unusual to see, as normally art films are on a loop and if you miss the beginning, you can wait to see the film start over again. I stayed for a while, until a couple cautiously entered the room.
There is an article about Leonard, by Laura Maclean-Ferris in The Evening Standard Monday 2nd April 2012.
I have taken this extract from Laura’s review.
“Leonard’s approach to this show is highly responsive to Camden’s situation and architecture. She has transformed Camden’s gallery 3 (usually notable for its large windows that look onto the street outside) into a camera obscura, a simple, yet always shockingly mind-altering optical device created by making a small hole in the wall of a dark room, which creates a full-colour projection of the world upside down onto the opposite wall. This one-degree of removal from reality – the projection rather than the usual window, as well as the flipping of perspective, allows us to see the street outside as a picture. Why does that road look the way it does? Why is a billboard the biggest thing in the picture, and what are all those people doing out there? The effect is like walking into a room for the first time, noticing its cracks and imperfections, which become slowly invisible with familiarity.”
Also another series of work depicted photographs of the sun.
“These images combine subject and process, retaining the glare and flare on the lens, the grain of the film in the enlarged print and the evidence of the artist’s work in the darkroom.” CAC)
I started listening to an interview with Zoe Leonard. Link is below. She talks about her art practice and how she utilises materials and processes such as photography within her work and what it means.
The show is on until 24th June 2012