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|Start Date:||13th May 2011|
|End Date:||4th June 2011|
This exhibition explores the role of reminiscence in the artworks of several noted historical authors: Maxime Du Camp, Charles Nčgre, James Anderson, Eugčne Constant and Giacomo Caneva, amongst others. The exhibition engages with a particlar and crucial moment in the 19th century in which notions of technological development and the speed at which society was moving lead many artists to seek - through photographic image-making, and in contrast to the culture of the time - a sense of calm nostalgia in their photographing which revealed a stasis and beauty inherent in images with often idealistic or Romantic pictorial values. While society was moving forward, these image-makers were calmly setting up early camera technologies and capturing images that quite uniquely looked back to history; its buildings and landscapes; the relationship between the traces of human civilisation and nature itself.
This form of early art-photography held central to its ideal a sort of reminscence, a ‘Rückblick’ (retrospective view): a nostalgia both for history (Du Camps’ images of Abu Simbel, Constant’s “Tempio di Vesta” in Rome) and the documenting of the beauty and romance in form; both in the sense of the female form (the anonymous 1870 image of a beautiful naked woman strewn across a chaise longues) and in the curving form of the natural and architectural landscape (Pyne’s “Landscape” (1855) and Nčgre’s “Asile Impérial de Vicelles” of 1859/9). This was the great era of photographic exploration, as an art form, and in a mode which both harked back to the architectural icons of past cultures, whilst capturing slowly and calmly, a moment in the history of humanity that, paradoxically, was both fast and highly-pressured.