The Moon and a Smile exhibition opens in Swansea this month. Metro is thrilled to be supporting artists Anna Fox and Sophy Rickett whose work is part of this group exhibition which celebrates the part Swansea played in the development of photography in the 1840’s and 50’s.
The Dillwyn family circle in particular, was amongst the earliest and most enthusiastic experimenters with the new technology of photography, which was announced in 1839. John Dillwyn Llewellyn
(1810-82) and his sister Mary took one of the earliest photographs of a smile whilst his daughter, Thereza, took one of the earliest photographs of the moon. Along with William Henry Fox Talbot
an inventor and photography pioneer (1800-1877) and a cousin of Emma, John Dillwyn Llewellyn’s s wife, the family collaborated and experimented together and left a rich and unique record of their experiments, perhaps the most complete record of a family’s intimacy with photography in the 1840s and 50s.
Responding to this unique archive, the Glynn Vivien Gallery has arranged eight new commissions from contemporary international artists. Each artist has created a distinct rich body of work for the exhibition, following their own practice and inspiration. The exhibition encompasses photography, installation, artist books and moving image, and explores themes of memory, archives, botanics, time, family, and industrialisation.
Anna Fox explains about her work; “The work plays with time and illusion, echoing the provocation of the Dillwyn archive. Each image is constructed with dozens of separate images. First a background plate is created and then, together with a team of assistants I photograph what happens in the location over approximately a 3-hour period. Images of the people are selected and then layered in post-production onto the background.
“This process and it’s results has led me to think more intently about photography time and memory and to consider that a single image, shot at 125th of a second, is not necessarily a memento of an event in the way that an image constructed out of many images and in a few hours might be. The picture made up of many images represents what has been seen over a period of time and so has a new relationship to the notion of what constitutes a documentary photograph. These are slowed down images connected to memories of a period of time in a particular place and an event or series of events that happened there.”
Metro has produced C Type and black and white fibre prints for Sophy Rickett
and a large panoramic C Type print mounted to aluminium for Anna Fox.
Their work and the work of Greta Alfaro, Astrid Kruse Jensen, Neeta Madahar, Melanie Rose, Sharon Morris, Helen Sear, Patricia Ziad will be displayed alongside a selection of original 19th century photographs that had particular resonance for their projects, on loan from the Amgueddfa Cymru-National