Seen Fifteen is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Northern Irish artist Martin Seeds – VIOLENCE RELIGION INJUSTICE DEATH. Seeds grew up in Belfast at the height of the civil conflict, The Troubles, in the 1970s and 1980s. Through his practice he engages with the conflicting experiences of Northern Irish identity, politics and culture.
The exhibition presents new works from the series Disagreements, part of a long-term project made in the grounds of the Stormont Estate, home of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Assembly was created as part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement with the aim of establishing a devolved government in which both Unionist and Nationalist political parties would share power. The devolved government of Northern Ireland collapsed in January 2017 and has not operated since. The issue of dysfunction at Stormont had rarely been covered in the British media until the recent death of journalist Lyra McKee. Seeds’ Disagreements works – which fuse positive and negative images of the same subject – are an allegorical response to the fragility and vulnerability of Northern Ireland politics.
The centrepiece of the exhibition is a large scale installation of Seeds’ latest body of work, Masks – comprised of over 190 unique silver gelatin contact prints of balaclavas, hand-made in the darkroom with the screen of an iPad. This new body of work marks a departure in the artist’s practice driven by the fact that Northern Ireland and the “Irish Question” has been thrust into the centre of political discourse surrounding the Brexit negotiations. The Masks are an overt symbol of terrorism and an expression of the artist’s darkest fears that Brexit could lead to a return to the sectarian violence that was the backdrop to his early life.
Martin Seeds, From the series Disagreements, Stormont Estate, Belfast (2018)
Seen Fifteen is delighted to present SILVER SPACE, a new installation by Maya Rochat at Approche – an innovative salon dedicated to the photographic medium during Paris Photo 2018. We will be exhibiting a selection of works that embody Rochat’s on-going experimentation with the photographic process and the materiality of images.
Maya Rochat is an artist who works in layers, fusing process, materials and artistic medium in the process. Trained at the prestigious ECAL in Switzerland, Rochat’s starting point for image-making is photographic. She works from an archive of her own photographs which she continually revisits and recycles – breathing new life into her images by working on them by hand with paint, chemicals and various forms of textural layering. The concept of propelling images into an altered state is central to Rochat’s practice. The pure physicality of her works – which need to be viewed in person to appreciate the detailed interaction of texture and material – is a deliberate comment on image saturation in our current digital age.
The work of art as a physical object is important to Maya Rochat, and so too is the emotional experience for her viewers. Layers form an equally significant feature of her exhibition installations, which become complete takeovers of a space making use of every available inch of wall, floor, corner and window. Live performances are the climax of Rochat’s art of layering – here she immerses a live audience in a fluid multi-dimensional collage of photographs, moving image, live music and live painting. Most recently Rochat performed LIVING IN A PAINTING with musician Buvette at the Tate Modern Tanks in London, October 2018.
Maya Rochat, A ROCK IS A RIVER, Glitter Rain on Magic Tree (2018)
“Just as you enter a forest and become surrounded by ancient branches and roots, the photographs by Alexander Mourant engulf you in a similar way, taking you on a mysterious voyage where both sorrow and beauty are tied together.”
Seen Fifteen is delighted to return to Unseen Amsterdam this September, where we will present a solo booth by British photographer Alexander Mourant. We will be exhibiting works from the 2017 series Aomori, which takes its title from the Japanese word for “blue forest”. Mourant’s artistic practice is concerned with the metaphysical nature of photography. He employs different experimental methods to draw attention to and question our relationship with the organic environment. In a previous series, Aurelian, he created heightened humidity and atmospheric conditions in which to photograph flora and fauna. For Aomori his concept involves shooting through a bespoke lens filter made from blue church glass – a device which spiritually renders the photographs “forever blue”.
“I wanted to see if I could expand the possibilities of the photograph by giving it a body too, a soul almost, in which we could experience from the image itself.”
Aomori is shot in the vast ancestral forests of Japan. Enclosed in an electric blue world, organic forms – tree canopies, running waterfalls, rocky crevices – are imbued with a mystical intensity. The project is in part inspired by the work of the French conceptual artist Yves Klein, who sought to eradicate conventional representation and create a deeper psychological exploration of the immaterial. Klein invented and trademarked his own Klein International Blue, working in this colour almost exclusively from 1957 until his death. Alexander Mourant’s photographs radiate the same highly charged phenomenon of blue – an oneiric space where the mind becomes free to roam.
Alexander Mourant, Waterfall II, 2017
“Koyama is part of this prescient generation of artists working with photographic materials and ideas to conflate the imaging possibilities of digital technologies with the experimental spirit of the most vital periods of the medium’s history.” Charlotte Cotton*
Taisuke Koyama can still remember the exact date that he started working with photography, the day he bought his first digital camera on 18th October 2003. For fifteen years he has dedicated his artistic practice to an intense exploration into the evolution of the digital image. We’re delighted to welcome Taisuke Koyama to Seen Fifteen with a solo exhibition, opening as part of Peckham 24 Festival on Friday 18th May 2018.
Koyama trained in Biology and Environmental Sciences in Tokyo, and is a self-taught photographer. Bringing these two influences together into one thought, he has described his creative process as “observing with a microscope”. The seismic event of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 had a profound effect on Koyama’s practice and became a critical catalyst that shifted his focus towards the subject of the unpredictability of images:-
“Within the vast disaster area, the boundaries between the city and nature had been shattered right in front of my eyes. I was forced to think about the inevitable limitations of photography and how impossible it is to record all of actual reality”. Taisuke Koyama
For this new exhibition, SENSOR_CODE, Koyama will present abstract photographic works from four recent projects, which employ different experimental strategies using digital sensors. The reactions of light onto the sensors in digital cameras and scanners resolve into unique colours and patterns, which in turn creates Koyama’s own visual language. Releasing abstract photography from its heritage in materiality is an ongoing area of interest for the artist. So too is a paradoxical desire to design installations that become a physical experience. The works at Seen Fifteen will be presented as large inkjet prints that will be suspended from the ceiling in a maze of sculptural images for the viewer to journey around. In our contemporary world, where we are completely saturated by a never-ending stream of digitally transmitted images, the artist’s intention within the gallery space is to invoke a contradictory sensation. By dominating the room with large-scale prints he aims to force us to feel the images as well as look at them.
Taisuke Koyama, from the series PHOTONS, 2018