These pictures deal with illusion and reality, set in a world of arrested time. In creating miniature models of abandoned spaces and placing them among images of actual spaces, these photographs become something other. They are concerned with the act of looking and the role of the spectator/viewer. The living spaces become their own museum. The miniature structures that I then build and photograph are dismantled. Childhood becomes memory.
We spend our lives accumulating objects and possessions, houses, furniture, clothes. We keep letters, memorabilia, photographs, to help us remember, love, our children, our childhood, only to disappear in the passing of time. My childhood in the north of Ireland was surrounded by the remains of other peoples lives. In the 1960s my fathers job was selling secondhand furniture which he gathered from clearing old houses. Traces of childhood and memories of objects and spaces, create the foundations for this work.
These photographs reflect my lifelong interest in painting and in the making of ‘art’. I am drawn back to the paintings of Carivaggio and Vermeer and their interest in light and ‘Chiaroscuro’. Within such a historical context, the pictures explore the staged illusion of photography and as in theatre, the process involved in creating that reality or fiction. Susan Sontag compared the inner space of the mind with a theatre, in which ‘we picture, and it is these pictures that allow us to remember’ (2003:88). These images exist in worlds where illusion and reality become confused and there is an uncertain relation between viewer and image. We are drawn into the game - the reality and fiction that is 'picture-making'. We exist in a world of electronically manipulated images. I want to create a sense of doubt in the viewer - and raise questions about the nature of art and truth in contemporary photography. My pictures are stage-sets in a theatre of illusion which are ultimately dismantled and the actors gone. In creating a dialogue with the viewer, these photographs are an attempt to find purpose and meaning among the fragments of human lives lived - lives now stilled by the passing of time. They are a memorial to my father.
Adrian Hardy 2014