artist / participant
For Richard Galpin’s second solo exhibition with Hales Gallery, large-scale photographs of London streets are intricately reworked to depict fantastical landscapes where abstract forms cluster and sprawl with bewildering complexity.
Richard Galpin is known for work in which he creates photographs of various cities, and scores directly into the surface of each photograph with a scalpel, selectively removing areas of photographic emulsion to arrive at the finished works.
Increasingly, Galpin’s meticulous erasures allow bold new images to be achieved. Views of London office buildings are reborn as part sci-fi settlement, part modernist landscape. The stripping back of the original photographs is so extensive that only small areas of seductive surface are retained, confounding our reading of the underlying structures. Galpin selects these fetishised areas of photographic surface to create a fantasy revision of his own imagining.
Galpin’s new works appear to depict some kind of vernacular urban form - habitation improvised and extended from within, in the search of light and space. This is not city as masterplanned and ordered project, but landscapes of ad-hoc settlements, perhaps opportunistically rebuilt from the remains of a previous glass-walled metropolis.
In certain areas of detail the works resemble the crystalline geometric fantasies of Bruno Taut and other German Expressionists who produced visionary utopian drawings based on organic structures. These artists were influenced by the publishing of Ernst Haeckel’s book Kunstformen der Nature (1904) with its partly fabricated illustrations of polyps, corals, and rhizopods. Galpin’s new works share this fascination with branching organic structures and crystalline growth. The regularity of the original buildings is disrupted to give a sense of buildings as organisms, regenerating according to some chaotic biological force.
Since graduating from the Goldsmiths MA in 2001, Richard Galpin has had solo exhibitions at Roebling Hall, New York, Galeria Leme, Sao Paulo, and Hales Gallery. Group exhibitions include Attack:Attraction, Marcel Sitcoske Gallery (San Francisco), The Photograph in Question, Von Lintel Gallery (New York), and Looking With/Out at the Courtauld Institute of Art (London). Public collections include the British Government Art Collection and the British Museum.
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