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David Dale Gallery
'Tick, Tack, Tick, Tack, Tick'
24th November to 16th December 2012
“At one time I was so impressed, so enthralled by the beauty of colour and form that I wanted to perpetuate it forever. Long before I knew about movies, I tried to imitate the camera and say ‘tick’ when I was moved by something, feeling that I was recording this particular scene for ever, and then I would say ‘tack’ when it was over. My mental film clips lasted longer and longer. First they would just be a few seconds and then, after about a year, several minutes. I would say ‘tick’ and then something ugly would spoil the scene or something boring would happen and I would say ‘tack’. When I was about eight,
I said ‘tick’ one day and forgot to say ‘tack’ and it has been running ever since, this interior camera.”
- Edward James, Swans Reflecting Elephants
Using a combination of projections, prints and structural installation, Whipps presents photographs created over the last year in Las Pozas, Mexico; a surrealist sculpture garden in the Mexican rainforest.
Built by British poet and patron Edward James between 1962 and 1979, Las Pozas is a collection of 36 large concrete structures with titles such as The House with Three Stories
That Could Be Five, and The Temple of The Ducks.
James’ formative desire to fix beauty, colour and form dominated his activities as an early patron of the Surrealists. However, it was in his later years, through the use of the
most unlikely of materials, concrete, that he would create
Las Pozas; his most dramatic and enduring monument to whimsy and folly.
Casting the gallery into a half light, Whipps illuminates it through medium format slides projected on a large screen.
The screen, which cuts the gallery in two, is reminiscent of
the moulds used by James to produce his structures in its engineering; a similar contrast of built not to be seen, yet unavoidable. Whipps sets the onomatopoeic sequence of slides against a series of prints depicting these casting moulds, their permanence belying the temporal nature of their subject – emphasising their negative space, the reason these
structures were built.
Whipps draws parallels between James’ frenetic attempts to
fix ideas in concrete and the process of making and displaying photographs. This is part of an ongoing concern with the relationship between photographic materials and processes, with other material pursuits and continues an exploration into the latent possibilities of archives and relics.