Monday, November 23, 2009

Bermuda Triangle exhibition interview for Dazed Digital

Three leading creatives bring the spirit of mystery to London's Spring Projects
Text by David Hellqvist | Published 23 November 2009

Why go and see paintings, sculptures or photos separately when you can experience them as one almighty cultural force? At least, that’s the idea behind Bermuda Triangle, the new exhibition at Kentish Town’s Spring Studio. In fact, the phrase 'one for all and all for one' perhaps best sums up the approach of exhibiting photographer Jacob Sutton, set designers Gary Card and Hana Al-Sayed and sculptor Bruce Ingram.

Spring Studios is a creative hub as it is, so it makes sense that the 3,000 square foot ground-floor gallery pushes its artistic boundaries. For Bermuda Triangle Sutton and Al-Sayed have collaborated on a series of photographs and a film, both exploring the moment of impact between human bodies and artificial materials and fluids, such as powder falling from exploding balloons and milk pouring from toppled oil drums. Dover Street Market collaborator Card has transformed the exhibition entrance into a strange cave that boasts myriad comical facial features, setting a surreal tone for the work within, one that is easily matched by Ingram’s gigantic tree sculpture. As the exhibition settled down for its month-long residence, Dazed Digital spoke to Jacob Sutton…

Dazed Digital: What was the general idea and theme behind the photos?
Jacob Sutton: We wanted to make pictures that explored the feeling of being totally overwhelmed. Sublime calm within chaotic action...

DD: Is there a connection between your work and that of the other artists?
Jacob Sutton: I think the work is pretty different, but there are some shared qualities. All of the work is texturally rich and there is a feeling of 'otherness' to it. I guess we all have very different approaches to producing work, but that’s what makes the show interesting!

DD: In what way is the paranormal activity of the Bermuda Triangle relevant to your group show?
Jacob Sutton: We chose the name because we liked idea of the show being a little mysterious and magical. Also, there are three groups of work!

DD: Your photos and film seem technically challenging...
Jacob Sutton: It was definitely challenging, both for myself and for Hana. To build the columns of flour in the film, Hana had to do lots of test runs and tried a number of different designs before we arrived at something we were happy with. For me, shooting moving image on a phantom camera was a new experience. It’s a pretty amazing piece of kit – it does 1,000 frames a second! But it’s a bit bigger and more complex than what I'm used to shooting on.

DD: Did anything go horribly wrong in the process?
Jacob Sutton: We shot the majority of it during one really intense week. The whole crew were only getting a couple of hours sleep a night, and on the last day we shot until 5am. It was at this point that we started filling up a large inflatable pool with water and milk powder, and I found out it had a leak! There wasn't a lot of laughing going on at that point, I can tell you…but we got there in the end with the help of a puncture repair kit…

DD: You shoot a lot of fashion – how did this feel in comparison?
Jacob Sutton: I love shooting fashion, but there are obviously some constraints to what you can do. Producing the work for the show was an amazing experience because we could do whatever we wanted!

DD: You also shot a film – was that your first time, and do you feel like continuing with that medium?
Jacob Sutton: I shot a short film for New York Times earlier this year, so this was number two. It’s definitely something I'm going to do more of – watch this space!

DD: You worked with set designer Hana Al-Sayed – tell us about the collaboration! Have you previously worked together?
Jacob Sutton: I've worked with Hana for a number of years. She's a great person to collaborate with – we have a similar aesthetic, and I think her feeling for materials is great.

DD: What's your favourite piece in the exhibition?
Jacob Sutton: My film. Am I allowed to say that?

Bermuda Triangle, November 13 – December 19, 2009, 10 Spring Place, Spring House, London, NW5 3BH

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