Old Light

HIDDE VAN SEGGELEN is pleased to announce Old Light, an exhibition that draws together works by Roger Ackling and Damian Taylor, artists who share a fascination with marking time through the trace of light.

The works of both artists are fundamentally photographic, yet they offer a record of the world quite unlike the conventions of photography, using lenses to record light from left to right—dot by dot or pixel by pixel—over an extended duration. They establish new ways of thinking how the experience of time and the energy of the environment can be embedded in an object and perceived by the viewer. Both artists draw on the power that pervades the spaces where the sea meets the land.

For forty years Roger Ackling focused sunlight through a handheld lens in order to burn lines into found pieces of wood, developing through this unchanging process a playful and richly diverse oeuvre. Using only discarded materials, he could work anywhere in the world where there was sunshine. His complex records of sunlight, both beautiful and haunting, chart a pivotal period of environmental change.

Damian Taylor’s works scan the sea from left to right, compressing into single images extended periods ranging from a couple of minutes to over half an hour. While often appearing abstract, alluding to histories of painting, each tells a story, a precise chronicle of the conditions in which it was made. They evoke a particular atmosphere, an elusive feeling or presence of a time and place, something both familiar and unfamiliar, enigmatic and meaningful.

A new book, also titled Old Light, will accompany the exhibition. It brings together images of the two artists’ works alongside Taylor’s reflections on Ackling’s practice, with references ranging from fossilised forests to cybernetics, astronomy, environmental change, and the early history of photography.