‘I recognize that we dwell in a world of shadows: and, for my part, I hold it hardly worth the trouble to attempt a distinction between shadows in the mind and shadows out of it. If there be any difference, the former are rather the more substantial.’
P’s Correspondence takes Nathaniel Hawthorn’s eponymous short story as a starting point from which to look at artistic practices that deal with the elaboration of fictional or alternative histories. First published in 1845 Hawthorne's story concerns a character known only as P, a writer who exists suspended between two worlds. The story is a pioneering work of alternative history or uchronia and is generally regarded as the first piece of fiction to deal with these ideas.
The exhibition brings together a set of works that exist on a similar edge between fiction and reality and examines the potential that exists in these imaginative spaces. Using a variety of media and theoretical frameworks the works reflect upon the uncertainty of memory and the slippages that exist between reality and the imaginary. The works are anchored by a shared concern with how history is created, how we define its legacies and understand the present through it.
Dave Charlesworth’s work Wander (walker), 2010 uses video to look at time, memory and the authority of narration. The work sets photographs taken from his father’s collection against an ambiguous and enigmatic narrative rumination on the passing of time.
Tomas Colaço works primarily with painting, but his works rapidly transform into sculptures and installations, gaining a life of their own within the space. His works involve stories that unfold and fold back in on themselves, articulating both the past and the future whilst never leaving the present. Colaço’s works exist as fragmented parts of a wider constellation of possible truths or memories.
Replicas, Elena Damiani’s new series of works, sets up a dialogue between objects and their representation in collage. Damiani takes found objects with no immediately apparent significant meaning and by placing their portrait within a composition, she incorporates them into a story. The works resist easy classification and placement in time, hovering between an indeterminate past and the present.
Chris Clarke’s work explores ideas surrounding film and the production of images. In his work filmic techniques are used to explore specific aesthetic and conceptual aspects of filmmaking. A theme that recurs throughout his practice is the aestheticisation of the production processes of film, addressing the history of a medium rapidly passing in to the realms of memory. On or after 24.04.09, 2009 uses a print of a single frame furtively removed by the artist from an original 1985 cinema release of Back to The Future. The print depicting Marty McFly in his moment of realization was sent by post to 10 people including an artist’s proof to the artist, which is exhibited in the show.
The artistic practice of Pedro Magalhães is mostly photographic, and has a serial approach to each subject. The title of the series Fake Memoirs comes from a category of literary forgery in which fabricated recollections are presented as fact. The work consists of a series of photographs taken by the artist in his day-to-day life, an autobiography constructed with images as traces, images of evocative moments that propose memories that aren’t necessarily real.
Text written by Luiza Teixeira de Freitas & Thom O'Nions