|Vernissage le jeudi 13 décembre 2012|
Ouverture du 14 décembre au 2 mars 2013
Charcoal rottenstone and pigment on paper
150 x 120 cm
|My recent work is a response to the bunkers and installations that were part of my childhood in the militarized landscapes of the East of England. I grew up amongst the airbases and missile sites of the Cold War, living with the threat of a war which would be final. Part of this landscape were the hilltop observation posts of the Royal Observer Corps, underground concrete rooms occupied continuously between the late 1950’s and 1992 and covering the United Kingdom in a consistent network. At its height the network consisted of fifteen hundred posts, arranged in groups of four, able to triangulate nuclear blasts and fallout paths in the event of a nuclear attack which were passed to the civil defence system. These underground places still exist today, in varying states of abandonment and decay.|
Walter Benjamin described the photograph as a ‘lightning flash of truth’, a frozen instant of past and present. There is a similar moment in humans and animals who, when faced with overwhelming odds, activate a protective freeze response causing a paralysis. It is essential to discharge this (in small mammals it is sometimes seen as a violent twitching after the danger has passed) or the tensions from these events will, over time, cause other issues. It is interesting to consider in light of this the cultural epidemic in the West of anxiety neuroses: it is also the case that the freeze response is remembered by the cells and can be inherited. Thus the short and violent twentieth century perpetuates trauma forward through the generations.