BILL LESLIE - SCULPTURE FILM PHOTOGRAPHY

ART WORKS AND PROJECTS

BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE ACTIVE ARCHIVE RESIDENCY (WITH LEAP THEN LOOK)

In July 2020 we undertook a 10-day digital residency with BMCM+AC as part of their Active Archive project. Over the 10 days we posted archival material, quotes, interviews, provocations and our own creative responses to the amazing wealth of cross-discuplinary, collaborative practice that happened at Black Mountain College. You can see all 44 posts on our instagram and we are soon to be creating an online exhibition based on the project for BMC, as well as

 

GOOD ENOUGH SCULPTURES: WHAT HAPPENS TO SCULPTURES WHEN THEY ARE MADE TO BE FILMED (2020)

Part of a four year research project and PhD at Kingston School of Art, looking into the dynamic and interconnected relationship between sculpture, film and photography. These sculptures were used throughout the project to create images and films and to create environments for material exploration, play, collaboration and learning. The results of this project are collected on this website under Reseacrh.

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THE THINGS THEMSELVES (2013)

A sculptural project which has resulted in the exhibition of objects, large photographic prints and video. Through this project I have further explored the ways in which the camera can shape and transform the viewer's conceptual, temporal and tactile understanding of an object, and how the object itself exerts a new reality through each of its incarnations. Different combinations of objects, prints and video have been presented alongside one another, but can equally well be shown individually: each revealing the works in different ways. ...

These curious ceramic objects, The Things Themselves, of which there several dozen, have been made from pieces of clay which have been squeezed in one hand and then shaped to create angular modernist-style forms. In this way they retain the shape and character of the original gesture, and draw the viewer's hand as much as their eye.

Each object has been photographed for the series of large prints, The Allure of the Flesh, which offers new glimpses of the object's texture and hidden parts, as well as making the size of the object ambiguous. The title contradictorily pointing to the objects' material presence, technically absent from the image.

The film Things Being Themselves shows multiple objects in series and in arrangements, emphasises their anthropomorphism, pitting objects in relation to one another. The title suggests an act of being which is not entirely straight forward, as well as suggesting an active agency on the part of the objects, these are no mere passive dupes of the camera.


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PERFECT GEOMETRY (2010-12)

Perfect Geometry is a project which began sometime in 2010 and grows into a body of works in sculpture, print, photography and film. Tapping into a seam of Utopianism that runs throughout Modernity, they articulate and complicate the aura and austerity of much Modern architecture and monumental sculpture. References for this period come from the sweep of modern architecture and modern abstract sculpture, including Brancusi, Nicolson, Le Corbusier, and LeWitt....

There exists, above and beyond this everyday existence, a realm of forms: of timeless abstracted principles, possessing of more reality than the fleeting shadows of our everyday existence. Can these forms be found in images, reified and distanced from their earthly reality through the lens of the camera? Are they impressions only or in their lack of specific spatio-temporal references do they attain something beyond the mere recording of a particular moment in time and place? Like photos of the dead do they preserve a moment which would otherwise be lost in the relentless rush of time? Or are they something other,  a vision which surpasses that which it originally saw? Is it possible to separate the one from the other, or do they act as ingredients in the creation of an inseparable whole?

When I see the tiles on the bottom of the pool, I do not see them despite the water, but through it and because of it. The image I see is presented to me by the water's thickness. What I perceive is a constant amalgam of the two, tiles and water, in the dance of encounter. If the depth of the camera, the distance from lens to film, or through wires and electromagnetic tape, to paper print, projector beam, or  screen, is the water then the tiles are the objects of its mechanical or digital sight. How do we see these objects through and because of these technologies of reproduction? How are the images we see shaped in this inseparable dynamic? Are they mere visions, or do they possess a being beyond and above their origin?     

 

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113 YEARS LATER (2011)

Plaster, ceramics, folded paper, painted wood, printers ink, paper roll

A set of constructions in plaster,porceline and wood, within a constellation of slender plinths. Originally created for the window space at Permanent Gallery, Brighton, the piece came out od an interest in the the dynamic between 3D form and the flattening quaility of the window as screen. The work as a whole pulls together references to Constrictivism, Formalism and Modernist architecture. Individual pieces are separated by geometric planes, acting like Victorian theatrical flats and creating a series of layers, facing front.

The backdrop is a largescale monoprint. With lines radiating down from a series of points toward the objects in front.

 

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IMAGES OF WONDER (2008-10) 

Images of Wonder is the collective title for a series of works undertaken between 2008 and 2010. Referencing Sci-fi movies from the 20s to the 50s, Russian Constructivisist theatre and architectural models, the works together create a world inhabited by objects.l...

Despite their obvious crappiness and the, at times dubious quality of mise-en-scène, 50s B-movies create vivid on-screen realities. This is partly due to the particular qualities of the media: film's lack of clarity smoothes over the seams and brushstrokes and its scale bequeaths striking presence to the objects and places it presents. This vivid reality is more than the representation of 'real' places or situations, it is a convincing fantasy, an other-worldly, abstracted sphere generated in the confluence of models, set, costumes, props and camera. Sound also plays an important role in reifying the on-screen content, giving it an unprecedented reality: an immediacy which underlies films power and our willingness to be drawn into its thrall.

With the camera, I'd like to give inanimate, diminutive objects a life of their own. Bringing them momentarily into being on screen, in unlikely configurations, giving only suggestions of animation and narrative. Creating some kind of vivid reality in the two-fold dynamic of objects and camera. 

 

 

All images ©Bill Leslie 2009-Present