Negative Capability: The Stourhead Cycle
20 June – 29 July 2012
The Stourhead Cycle is a series of eight large-scale photographic works that will be shown for the first time in the installation Negative Capability: The Stourhead Cycle at Matt’s Gallery, London.
Generated at the National Trust site of Stourhead (Wiltshire, UK) in 2006, the images eschew any desire to document a specific location; instead, the historic house at Stourhead, along with it’s world-famous 18th century landscape gardens, are employed by Crisp as a formal device to reflect upon the colliding imperatives of heritage, leisure and history at a site of national cultural significance.
Implicit are questions concerning the democratising of cultural ‘assets’ or the space between the public and private sphere but ideas are also articulated through a formal visual language where tensions are set up between proximity and distance, between the flat plane of the photograph and the perspectival depth of landscape or between revealing and obscuring a ‘view’.
The phrase Negative Capability was first used by the Romantic Poet John Keats in 1817 when, in a letter to his brother, he identified the ability to accept uncertainty and the unresolved as prerequisite for creativity. The relationship between knowledge and doubt has long been at the heart of Crisp's practice and is often reflected in her work's wilful instability as it oscillates between illusionistic space and explicit, functional presence.
Negative Capability: The Stourhead Cycle will be Crisp’s third exhibition for Matt’s Gallery and continues her exploration of what, in phenomenological terms, a photograph is - What is it capable of? Here the equivocal identity of Crisp’s work persists as glazed and framed photographs are removed from the plane of the gallery wall to be sited on single scaffolding poles creating a new, provisional architecture of the gallery interior.