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Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae

Dilston Grove, Southwark
14 May 2007 – 15 June 2008

Reviewed by: Sharon Mangion

Dilston Grove, a former church on the edge of Southwark Park, as a venue for staging art installations, is fantastically evocative   A dark cavernous space that conjures up gothic specters, it is an ideal space to explore the metaphysics of light.  Mark Ingham’s Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae showing until 15th June fills the space with jewel-like light projections that directly reference Althanasius Kircher’s (1646) tome on light and shadow.

With 100 or more projected images taken from his family album dispersed amongst others exploring the site in which the church stands, a magical homage to childhood memory is created.  A fragile interplay of place and time is suspended in spheres of coloured light that point to the question of how far images can be considered local, universal, ideational or concrete.  The threshold between light and dark is mediated by the grainy effect of the degrading walls the images are projected on, with flaking paint and gravel protruding into the images to remind the viewer of the real stuff of surfaces.

What is interesting about this show is the technology needed to create the projected images.  Echoing Kircher’s use of the camera obscura as a kind of technological expression of light, SLR cameras are used instead to evoke the idea of a recording device that captures time as well as light.  Kircher’s ‘magic lanterns’ have become time machines that use light to navigate through space.

I found it interesting to discover a few years ago while studying psychology, that autistic children are more able to determine what others are thinking, something they normally have difficulty with, if they imagine perceiving them through a camera.  The camera acts as a kind of hidden eye for the child.  This show also brings to mind the idea in science that any empirically valid result must to some extent reflect the apparatus by which it is tested with; a phenomenon also present in the theory of quantum mechanics, where it is the perceiving apparatus that is thought to collapse the wave function.

All of this, while a long way from Kircher’s interest in the camera obscura as an expression of the metaphysical aspects of light and dark, brings to my mind an interest in methodology that avoids being anachronistic. Instead a historical and a more personal lineage run parallel to each other with up to date technology, although not quite digital, but then the importance of the SLR’s role in projecting the same photographs taken years ago is an important aspect of the work.

As projection devices the number of cameras needed to create the effect maybe a bit overstated, but, achieve a beautiful decorative patina on the church walls all the same. The juxtaposition and overlaying of images in the mind make up our own personal patina of memories and using transparencies to project such memories for public viewing crosses a liminal threshold between the public and private that perhaps only photography can get away with.  It also raises the question of how memory relies on artifacts such as the photograph to reify its existence and vice versa, how the photograph relies on us to project meaning into it.

The photograph can be both a hermetically sealed object and a universally vacant image all at once and this dichotomy is heightened by emphasizing its light projected qualities.  Projection as a Freudian concept is thought of as a subconscious externalisation of aspects of the self that the personality cannot quite integrate into consciousness.  I like the idea that public access to these photographs can mediate a shared sense of loss for histories that are both personal and collectively understood.  But it also reminds me that memory, at its most formal, is an aesthetic phenomenon where projected light is etched onto the mind as colour via the spherical shape of the iris, blink and certain aspects of the image are missed and it all disappears in a second.  When the camera shutter blinks, however, light is captured and leaves a legacy that can be put to various expressive uses, whether personal, political, philosophical, theological, technological, the list could go on.

This show takes a fascinating look at how visual artifacts struggle to transcend time and place and must be considered within a long historical tradition of explorations into light and dark.

Writer detail:
I am interested in giving student work a platform for exhibiting and critical review opportunities. |

Venue detail:
Dilston Grove
Southwest of Southwark Park, London SE16 2UA

Episode Focuses On Lens-Works At Leeds Met Gallery
By Siba Matti

The Leeds Met Gallery is showcasing Episode, a new exhibition of lens-based work by nine acclaimed artists, from April 29 to June 2 2006.
It includes photography, video projections and painting and explores how viewers engage with various semi-fictional scenarios.
Mark Ingham, Doppelgänger: USSR Pool, edition: 1, (2004/2005). Photo Leeds Met

Each artist produced a series of ‘episodes’, floating installations of white laminated screens that guide, as well as inhibit, the viewer’s movement around the gallery space. The work is designed to play on the senses and produce a dramatic visual and aural experience.
Work by art lecturer and curator Amanda Beech looks at crime and justice narratives in Western film and literature, to examine the relationship between freedom and violence.
Alison Jones instead uses both distorted and three dimensional painting to produce images that reflect the settings of everyday life- including a man urinating up a wall, a woman hiding a bottle of vodka, and a large pile of rubbish-laden bin bags.

By comparison, fine art tutor Jasone Miranda Bilbao observes different perspectives of the world using sculpture and photography and art scholar Mike Marshall combines the latter with video and sound to explore how we interact with the immediate world around us.
Other contributing artists include Julie Henry, Mark Ingham, Jaspar Joseph-Lester, Nayan Kulkarni, Giles Perry and freelance curator Mathew Poole.
The exhibition is one in a long line of unconventional offerings at the gallery, which was set up in 1991 to bring cutting edge contemporary and visual performing arts to Leeds.
Episode is also a research initiative, set up to generate critical thinking about lens based artworks. A seminar will be held at the gallery on May 12 2006 to explore how photographic and video images can influence our beliefs.


10 December 2005 – 22 January 2006
Open Saturdays and Sundays, 12-6pm. Closed weekends of 24th and 31st December.
Private view: Friday 9th December 2005. 6.30pm-10pm
New lens based work by: Amanda Beech – Julie Henry – Mark Ingham – Alison Jones – Jaspar Joseph-Lester – Nayan Kulkarni – Mike Marshall – Jasone Miranda Bilbao – Giles Perry
Curated by: Amanda Beech – Jaspar Joseph-Lester – Matthew Poole
temporarycontemporary is pleased to be hosting EPISODE, an exhibition of new lens-based work by nine London-based artists from 10th December 2005 – 22nd January 2006.
“Episodes” are displaced moments – slices of narrative – sequences and instances that are isolated from, stand apart from, and are de-contextualized from a coherent whole. But “episodes” reach out to the universal – something outside. They call upon a totalized narrative without evidencing its existence – a piece of the real. And knowing that “episodes” are singular, self-contained and fabricated inventions does not prevent us from being enthralled, immersed and moved by the power of such fictions.
Through the exhibition we explore the pleasure, power and sensory extravagance of this fiction/fact relationship. Rather than identify truth as being behind or beyond images, we analyse the politics of belief in images.
The selected artworks include video projections, monitor-based works, lens-assisted painting, and photographs, all of which subject the audience to the pleasures of disorientation of sensory, immersive and rhetorical devices. They produce intense visual and aural experiences, whilst openly exposing themselves as fabricated constructs. They carry you away, shift you around, confuse you and demand your collusion. To this end, the exhibition will be set within a simple but dynamic installation of floating white laminated screens that will encourage and guide as well as inhibit the audiences’ movement around the gallery space.
EPISODE will tour to Leeds Metropolitan Gallery in April 2006, where a symposium will be held on 12th May. The tour will continue to South Florida Arts Centre, Miami, in July 2006.
For more information please contact the gallery via e-mail:

EPISODE is generously supported by Sheffield Hallam University, Portsmouth University, NK Projects, and The Spanish Embassy London.

September 16- October 15
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 16 7:00-10:00PM

MIAMI BEACH – (September 16, 2006) –
Episode presents new lens-based work by nine internationally emerging artists, based in the United Kingdom. Predominantly through video and photography, Episode explores how images that we understand and accept as natural or as facts of our lives are constructed and perceived. Episode features Amanda Beech, Julie Henry, Mark Inghma, Alison Jones, Jaspar Joseph-Lester, Nayan Kulkarni, Mike Marshall, Jasone Miranda Bilbao, Giles Perry and is curated by Amanda Beech, Jaspar Joseph-Lester and Matthew Poole.
Mark Ingham, ‘Döppelganger: USSR Pool’,Photographic digital print mounted on foamex, L 105cm x W 155cm, 2004

Established in 1984, ArtCenter/South Florida (located at 800, 810 and 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach) is a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization that provides subsidized studio and exhibition space as well as teaching opportunities for emerging and career artists in their facilities at 800, 810 and 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach. The mission of the ArtCenter is to advance the knowledge and practice of contemporary visual arts and culture in South Florida while providing affordable programming and work-space for professional artists. The ArtCenter/South Florida is open Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. For further information please call (305) 674- 8278 or visit the website at
Exhibitions and programs at ArtCenter/South Florida are made possible through grants from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; Tropiculture, Greater Miami; the City of Miami Beach Cultural Arts Council; the City of Miami Beach Community Development Block Grant ; the Miami Beach Mayor and City Commissioners and the State of Florida, Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Arts Council; the Dade Community Foundation and the Walgreen’s Company.

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