Published in the FT Weekend Magazine, May 12, 2018
The Flatland Series first began around 2014, taking its title from Edwin A. Abbott’s Victorian novella set in a two-dimensional realm, ‘Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions’. The collages reconfigure fragments of found printed source material, from auction catalogues, journals, books, advertising imagery and magazines, to create speculative new forms, situated somewhere between reproduced images and the physical world.
Assembled from an archive of hundreds of mass-produced printed images collected over a number of years, each individual collage is spliced, masked and overlaid by hand, removing or concealing the original figurative subject and generating an alternative visual form in its place. The small scale of the collages reflects the original dimensions of their source material, often with undulating relief surfaces caused by the layering, warping and stretching of different paper stocks during their assembly. Developing their own abstracted language, and delaying the speed at which the images can be read, their sculptural properties call into question the value and agency of the photographic image in today’s fast-paced and fragmented visual culture.
Cut from the overlooked corners, edges and in-between places surrounding photographed bodies or objects, the image fragments are transfigured into radically altered forms and liminal inner spaces. Their shapes, which are continually repeated but never identical, resemble building blocks, with an abstracted vocabulary of irregular geometries: misshapen orbs and hemispheres, curved triangles, cylinders and wave-like columns, which balance at the brink of collapse. Inverting positive and negative volumes, and using the language of reflection and diffraction, the Flatland collages record lost spaces in new forms, exploring the fugitive and unraveling nature of the fragmented image, and its potential to maintain a state of constant progression.