"Non-Fiction" Stuart Alexander
Why is non-fiction called "non" fiction?
It suggests that Fiction came first. Why not call it "real" or "truth"? Is it because there is no such thing, because truth is a fallacy? The fact that I have called this collection of photographs "non-fiction" is an attempt to imply, regarding its original definition that the photographs are of real events that actually happened. In fact "non-fiction" implies that truth is a fiction in itself, is relative. It implies that some of these images aren't quite true. Which they are not. Some can be nothing other than real; others seem too extra ordinary or absurd to be true. There are others that are somewhere in between. My intention is to blur the boundary between truth and falsity to highlight that this is in fact the norm. To be filled with questions regarding the truth puts us in a state of limbo or suspense.
To combat the horrors of reality and boredom I decided to go out consciously looking for untruth; frauds, fakes, delusions, dramatisations, sensationalism and exaggeration, whilst offering photographic ‘evidence' of my own and my subject's existence.
Each image is selected or created to be ambiguous in that I want the viewer to assume there is something more, so the moment is filled with narrative possibility. My intention is for each image to be like the first or last page of a book. In these images there is a focus on more negative suggestion, which is related to my interest in the question "do people usually assume the worst?" based on the idea that if the audience are only given a small amount of information, they fill in the gaps with their own judgement based on fears, neurosis or even expectations based on the media, in effect creating their own truth. Their view is obscured. The view once it is blocked is replaced by the interior, and so the exterior landscape is replaced with an inner personal or reflective landscape. The work mostly exists in the viewers mind, relating to the fragile nature of what is real and the construction of personal identity.
On their own some of the images can be interpreted as they are without much speculation, but put into the gallery context alongside the other more sensationalist images, by association, will lead the viewer to more sinister or personal conclusions.
The staged images not only give me more control over the direction in which the viewer assumes, but also enables me to create a visual language based on themes related to the relativity of truth, chance, freedom and expectation.
The photographs were taken on a 1950's ex-police camera which was used to document crime scenes. I like the idea that the camera's past function has imbedded itself and that the images reflect this by suggesting negative occurrences when in many cases they depict innocent events. The previous function of the camera, being purely functional removes the possibility of fraud in the mind of the viewer due to the neutrality created by the function in the way that the viewer will only see the subject and not my intention to deceive.
The choice of camera and its offer of no control over how the images look is also an indication of the unpredictability or the limbo created by the images. Leaving all decisions to the camera creates neutrality, making each image more open to interpretation.
2003 - 2006 BFA (HONS) Fine Art, the University of Derby.
2001 - 2002: Fine Art, the Surrey Institute of Art and Design.
Lives and works in London.
May 2009 Non-fiction, Art in mind, the Brick Lane Gallery, London.
December 2008 Bench, Krankenhaus Art Space, London.
June 2008 BJCEM, Young Biennale of the Mediterranean, Puglia, Italy.
July 2006 What Happens Next, Britannia Mill Derby.
March 2006 Sale, Derby Museum and Art Gallery.
July 2005 Untitled, Old Library, Green Lane, Derby.
April 2005 1893, Ilam Hall, Dovedale, Peak District.
March 2005 Postcard, Derby Museum and Art Gallery.