Terrain Vague is a body of work in video, painting and photography, that is sited in vague and precarious ambiguity, and takes its title from a phrase coined by Victor Hugo in Les Misérables which, architecturally refers to the existing urban void – the neglected post industrial space or even, more importantly the space where the city meets nature – a place of infinite possibilities.
It deals with the chasms of uncertainty of all that is human and occupies the obscure space between a happening and its memory, where neither the action nor its intention are clear, where memory is left with no nurturing material referent.
The works cannot be sited within a visual truth or a spatial certainty. They neither deny nor affirm a place’s realistic or representational realities but alternately confront it through breaching our commonly perceived frontiers of space, place and time.
Yet, this fascination in the implausibility of distances and the indetermination of intervening time also presents a paradox – a space of alternative potential and promise, where territories assume infinite possibilities of causality and the absence of limit permits expectations of vagrant freedom to prosper.
Between smoke and cloudsextends this concern to the cinematic medium, where man is placed at the very centre between encircling smoke, cumulous clouds and distant skies while a rotating camera constantly surveys this unfathomable gap where man is destined to loom over nature as he becomes the surveyor of implied happenings. Like the paintings, the image is divested of all unnecessary noise, and glimpses of the surrounding countryside and overhanging clouds make their way in the sparse negative space left to gape around the dominating figure and the clouds of smoke that surround it. The person is both a god and an effigy, a Janus who silently surveys and scrutinises the terrible tragedy of memory, a detached keeper who betrays no hint of emotion or bond with the deafening void of barrenness.