Back from Oz, mining silver from a photograph


all works © Lisa Peachey 2015

12cm diameter

Collected silver on a filter paper

This was the first work to deal with the materiality of images, as a way of subverting the dominant direction of movement from object to image.

Previously the work had been predominantly photography. but the hands off nature of that way of working became a frustration. I became increasingly aware of the capturing of the event and the loss in doing so – the moment the shutter closes its eye, as well as questioning the value of so easily gotten imagery.

In consultation with the Chemistry department at UCL, a photographic image was distilled to its constituent raw elements, and the silver within it was collected in a filter paper.

The photograph was a shot of the Wizard of Oz, a narrative about reality and artifice, and a reference to the notion of the vertical versus the horizontal via Freud’s idea that it is because we are vertical rather than horizontal that we are able to look at the skies and dream, The tornado in the film also represents the transition into a dream state.

The amount of silver from a 10x8 print was pretty negligible; what wasn’t negligible was the way it formed within the filter paper – it reformed the tornado.

I had to see it as the image fighting back at me – the material had its own mind and its own way of being that had to be respected, rather like the notion of deseigno, that the form was already there inside the stone, mythically waiting to be discovered..

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