Fiona Crisp: Subterrania
Explore underground worlds, from Roman catacombs to a Dark Matter laboratory.
Subterrania, a solo exhibition of large scale photographic works by British artist Fiona Crisp, invites the viewer to explore underground worlds. Two new works made in Yorkshire, specially commissioned by Impressions Gallery, will be unveiled for the first time in Bradford.
Crisp’s compelling images are selected from several series of works developed over the last eight years. They were made at various European locations, including Early Christian catacombs in Rome, a lead mining museum in County Durham, a Second World War underground hospital in Guernsey and Geevor, a tin mine in West Cornwall. The exhibition includes two new works made at Boulby, on the North Yorkshire / Cleveland coast. They have been created at a working potash mine that also houses a laboratory dedicated to the search for dark matter, an invisible and elusive substance believed by astronomers to hold galaxies together.
The disparate locations for these images were chosen by Crisp both for the sense of physical power they evoke, and the fact that they their original purpose has changed. Now opened up to very different users, they bring into question the complex relationships between heritage and tourism, science and history. Crisp is known for making large-scale photographic installations that explore the relationship between photography and architectural space. One of the central themes in her work is the gap between physical experience and visual perception: between encountering a space and the subsequent visualisation of that scene.
Showing as part of Underground, a season exploring subterranean experiences in the cultural imagination through exhibitions, talks and events.
Subterrania is a Newlyn Art Gallery touring exhibition.
Fiona Crisp (born 1966 in Derbyshire) is an English photographer and installation artist. She is also Professor of Fine Art at Northumbria University. Her solo exhibition, Subterrania, created over a six-year period, was shown at several UK locations in 2009. It consisted of large scale photographs of underground scenes, including a World War Two hospital beneath Guernsey, catacombs under Rome and Geevor Tin Mine, Cornwall.
The works were intended to comment on the relationships between heritage, tourism, history and science. According to The Guardian reviewer "Crisp's command of photographic atmosphere tends to suggest interiors of the mind as much as of architectural appearance." A monograph, Hyper Passive, was published to coincide with the tour and surveyed Crisp’s work from the preceding decade. The monograph includes an essay by Professor Christopher Townsend of London University and an interview with Alessandro Vincentelli, Curator of Exhibitions and Research at BALTIC.
Crisp’s current research centres on the idea of Negative Capability – a phrase first used by the poet John Keats to describe a desirable state of uncertainty and doubt. Keats’ idea is used by Crisp to pursue the photographic object as an unstable and deeply equivocal phenomenon as evidenced in her recent installation, Negative Capability: The Stourhead Cycle for Matt's Gallery, London. This exhibition also reflected Crisp’s long-term engagement with the visual, political and philosophical ‘construction’ of a view – a position acknowledged by her inclusion in the 2013 exhibition, Looking at the View, at Tate Britain.
Her 2007 digital print, Norwegian series #3 is in the collection of the Tate Gallery.
Our visitors say...
“I loved this exhibition. The subject matter was wonderful and inspired all kinds of thoughts and ideas.”
“The scale is perfect – I feel I could walk straight into the images.”
“These are brilliant. Really intriguing, captivating and eerie images.”