"I'm trying to play with objects or elements that destabilise our linear perception of the world" - Anna Parkina
Some new photo-collages, inspired in part by Anna Parkina's recent show at Wilkinson Gallery:
I find Parkina's drawing and collage works mesmerising. There is so much movement in each frame: impossible to grasp, or to describe in words at all adequately, images elude the eye. Picture planes are flattened – foreground and background are woven together in abstract, rhythmic patterns. Photographic details (fragments of narrative) emerge and at once recede again, dancing in and out of the page like an Escher design. Although, or more likely because, my own collage works are tight and precise I am drawn to the rough edges in Parkina's – the slight rips and tears where her blade has slipped, the bumps and creases caused by the paint- and glue-dried paper.
Like Justin Hibbs' architectural studies (another inspiration), Parkina's photo-montages confuse or conflate real and imaginary space; and draw attention to the flatness of the photographic image.
It was interesting to watch David Hall's 1969 film Vertical this week, having recently written about Jessica Warboys' Pageant Roll. The films speak to one another – in their lyrical expression of heritage landscapes (with ancient hill figures and rings of standing stones); in their incongruous placing of modernist objects/sculptures in semi-wild, rural environments.
Hall's piece, however, seems a much more rigorous, structural enquiry, concerned with the mechanics of filmmaking and actions of framing/view-finding. His zooms, pans and rhythmic cuts draw mathematical attention to the lens, the edit; his geometric sculptural interventions serve primarily as props in a series of perspectival tricks and games of foreshortening – exposing the processes of the camera-machine.
It is important to realise that the sculptures only work because they are recorded on film. Their function in the film is to draw attention to the difference between our actual experience of space and the representation of three dimensions on a two dimensional surface. lux.org.uk
Vertical explores the role of the camera/lens in our perception of objects in space; Pageant Roll uses the camera to explore the poetical associations of specific objects in a specific space – Warboys' edit (just as visible as Hall's) a kind of dance of loops and repetitions that propels the viewer’s cognitive processing of these.
My current work is, I think, concerned with all of this at once! – the framing of landscape by/within man-made geometries, relationships between camera (2D) and physical (3D) space; visual and poetical associations between Modernist architectures and their more 'natural' surroundings...
Nobody in Britain had tried this mode of structure on such a scale before. It enabled a light, see-through effect in which the distinction between the inside and the outside is blurred. britishlistedbuildings.co.uk
I've been invited to take part in a group show in my studio building this April and I'm hoping to produce some new works in time – 2-colour screen- or Riso- prints that will form part of my ongoing 1964 Series and possibly a new video piece as well. I returned to the zoo this week on a day of beautiful sunshine and shot two reels of Super 8 film in the aviary. It was tough going, a heavy camera and tripod to carry as well as my 29 week bump, but it was exciting. I hope I've managed to capture something of the changing light on the aluminium, the fluidity of the birds' movements against the rigid geometry of the frame... The reels are currently on their way to Berlin to be processed.
I've also been working on some more collage tests:
Bibliography / Filmography (March)
Owen Hatherley, Keith Coventry: Twentieth Century Estates, 2013
Lynsey Hanley, Estates: An Intimate History, 2012
Andrew Hunt (ed.), Anna Parkina, 2012
David Hall, Vertical, 1969
Michaela Nettell is an artist and filmmaker based in London.
I work across moving image, photography and installation, creating works that explore the potential of projection and collage techniques to affect relations of space, optics and memory.
Recent and current works explore relationships between man-made and natural forms, particularly in the urban environment. My ongoing 1964 Series documents incidences of non-orthogonal structures in post-war city architectures, making reference to Frank Lloyd Wright's 'organic architecture' and the hexagonal plan. Colours and patterns of beehives and the honeycomb recur in my work and I often limit my palette to black, white, yellow and blue – Austrian ethologist Karl von Frisch's Colours inside an apiary.