┐ Alastair Whitton └

© Alastair Whitton, Untitled #6, from the series Patmos and the War at Sea, 2009

© Alastair Whitton, Untitled #10, from the series Patmos and the War at Sea, 2009

© Alastair Whitton, Untitled #37, from the series Patmos and the War at Sea, 2009

“So, on the left hand side we have this multi-layered code, drawing attention perhaps to the opacity of things, the difficulty of finding meaning. On the right hand side, by contrast, we have – a photograph! In most cases the “meaning” of the photograph is clear: it “is” an aeroplane, a soldier; sometimes the observer needs to work a little harder to read the reference, but it is ultimately clear what is depicted: a fragment of the world (a world of war, or at least a world at war). The relief for the inevitably significance-hungry viewer is great, compared with the frustration prompted by the impenetrable opacity of the left hand side. But at least two things should diminish this relief: firstly, the awareness that the photograph has been formally manipulated: even if any photograph can be taken as a scarcely-unmediated bit of access to the meaning of the world, these fragments cannot: in all their apparent iconographic simplicity they are perhaps as deceiving as the “image” on the left hand side which we know has been painstakingly and deliberately constructed with an intention to conceal. But also, that little sequence of holes should have reminded us that everything is suspectible to interpretation (or to decoding if one accepts that there is an ultimate meaning, which probably this artist does, given his proclaimed religious orientation); the bit of “reality” depicted is not artless.”

excerpt from Tim James’ review

Patmos and the War at Sea can be seen here

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