29 April - 4 June 2011
Opening: 29 April, 4 pm
Location: 401contemporary, Potsdamer Straße 81B, 10785 Berlin
“Things move around things. My works are the pauses in these movements. They perform outside of this world but perhaps looking back into this world as vivid reflections”
Tent, Flank, Trench, Vessel, The Flagship and the Decisive … The photographs of Stuart Bailes are present and ungraspable, all at once. Their imagery and their title leave ample space for meandering and contemplation. Pausing is as essential here as trying to get somewhere. Possibly there is not even a ‘getting somewhere.’
“Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.”
Bailes writes: “My works are traces of these limits in which only the language of the image is made visible. They are the record, and the recording, of duration and then a pause. Chance follows me as we move through a series of back rooms, navigating passageways and passing under door frames to finally venture out and up onto the stage.”
In his work, the artist sees the ‘Everyday Theatre’ reflected, as a structure that performs, a machine at work. Here, every unit is given a choice, which implies that every action and each command are the outcome of an encounter at a decisive point. Here and only here decisions are made, as if for the first time, with the awareness that they have been made before and will be made again. A future history is thus created, as well as a questioning of History, a déjà vu perhaps with all the inaptness of the word. “Should we not rather speak of events which affect us like an echo…a word that is endowed with the power to call us unexpectedly into the cool sepulcher of the past …(and) the counterpart of this transport … words or pauses pointing us to that invisible stranger – the future – which forgot them at our place.”
On walking through Bailes’s imagery, with intention, one does feel the “pull of experience, as though there were multiple forces that affect the position of the self.” Being a morphed version of the walking experience, the “distancing and extracting from experience to image”, his images also act as the points and way markers along the walk. In their stillness, in their unobtrusive presence they exist in a clarity and actuality very much their own.
“Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.”
Stuart Bailes (b. 1985) holds an MA Photography from the Royal College of Art in London and a BA (Hons) Photographic Art from the University of Wales, Newport. His photographs have been exhibited internationally including at the Margini Arte-Contemporanea in Massa (Italy); Kahmann Gallery in Amsterdam and Le Laboratoire in Paris (France), as well as in the UK where works have been shown at The Woodmill (London); Chapter Arts Centre (Cardiff); Newport Museum (Newport) and Whitehall Waterfront (Leeds). He has been the recipient of multiple awards and grants including the Flash Forward 2009 Award for UK artists from the Magenta Foundation. Stuart Bailes lives and works in London. The Flagship and the Decisive at 401contemporary in Berlin-Tiergarten will be his first solo exhibition.