24th September 2011 – 15 January 2012
Since the 18th century, chemical, technological and scientific advancements have shaped and communicated our desires, fantasies and fears through an array of optical devices; from shadow plays to magic lanterns, photographic discoveries, proto cinematic techniques and the latest digital visual effects.
From the dawn of philosophical thought about image and truth and throughout centuries of technological progression, the shadow, with its qualities of absence, presence, transience, death and ‘essence’, has emerged as both a philosophical metaphor and visual tool. It has been, and continues to be, a persistent spectral presence at the birth and death of visual technologies.
The most transitory of things, a shadow, the proverbial emblem of all that is fleeting and momentary,may be fettered by the spells of our ‘natural magic,’ and may be fixed for ever in the position which it seemed only destined for a single instant to occupy.William Henry Fox Talbot
Exploring the impact of scientific and technological invention upon visual culture, Dark Matters brings together the work of ten international contemporary artists who engage with a range of technologies. In an exhibition populated by half-seen spectres, visual riddles and distorted reflections, artists engage with shadow and darkness through a range of media and machinery. In many instances artists intercept bodily shadow and intervene with computer analogue and digital tampering to ensure that our shadows are no longer dependent upon our
corporeality, but are released as fictional forms, into fictional worlds. In other instances existing darkness is re-invented or contorted to project alternative narratives or manipulate our cognitive perception. The works are united by themes of temporality, absence, truth, mortality and wonder.