Artist Statement - 2016
Alexandra Hughes is a visual artist with a practice in the field of expanded photography, undertaking physical explorations of the photographic medium, moving from the 2D to 3D, bringing image and material together to redefine the photographic object to explore our mediated relationship with the landscape through technology and seemingly immaterial, ubiquitous photographic images in the current digital age.
Hughes' practice utilises the spatial and tactile potential of the photographic object to create immersive mixed-media installations. The work and ideas pull from disparate landscapes, resulting in a sense of fluidity, permeability and fragmentation, to investigate the multiplicity and production of altogether new sites, meanings and encounters.
25.11.2016 — Review
Polyspace / The NewBridge Project, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
by Liam McCabe for Corridor8
excerpt: With the artwork constantly evolving and changing over the course of the exhibition, Hughes has created an ecosystem within an ecosystem through vast layers of landscape photography hangings. Delicate and yet utterly compelling, her acetate prints seamlessly adapt to the gallery space, transforming it into a meta-landscape of physical photography.
Press Release (excerpt) -
Artist in Residence - : ROAMING ROOM, LONDON / www.roomartspace.co.uk
figuring it / July 2016
Alexandra responds to landscape through wild swimming, walking and imagining being there. She brings those ideas and thoughts into the gallery space and creates works which are unpremeditated, intuitive and ‘undesigned’. There is a very direct response to the place and the objects using materials which often clash making the work uncomfortable but compelling.
This work is a response to a recent study trip to the Arizona Desert. The exhibition will consist of lively, spontaneous and daring installations. Installations that heighten the awareness of the multi sensory, temporal and perceptual shifts between humans, material, time and place.
Stephen Pritchard (Curator) -
ON VANISHING - The SHED at the Whistle Art Stop in Haltwhistle, Northumberland, UK - July 2015
'...(.) Whilst Alexandra Hughes, by combining photography, sculpture and film, invokes a spirit of subdued, contemplative silence – delicately site-specific, subtly layered, quietly shifting.'
PEEL Magazine - North-East Visual Arts - March 2014
Part of a new series of features, PEEL talks to 8 artists about how they approach materials -
ELEPHANT MAGAZINE #11 Summer 2012
The Discreet Charm of Video Art, by Margherita Dessanay
For her videos, Hughes uses a motionless camera placed in front of something that has captured her attention. The camera records what is happening, in a neutral way. 'Video is an extension of my photographic practice, because it allows me to capture the movement in the still', she declares...
'A shadow appearing on a wall is just as significant as some other dramatic event. It's just a matter of realizing the significance of that moment'. Hughes's approach is a contemplative one, very delicate and subtle. Although her practice is based on withdrawal, it nonetheless contains a statement of sorts...
Take your time in front of one of Alexandra Hughes's videos and notice the lively, pervasive richness of silent details.
Aesthetic Magazine Review
Sieving for Gold, by Liz Lau
Ordinary Time (Group Exhibition), Saint Barnabas Church, Dalston, UK
10th-16th February 2011
The title of the show Ordinary Time is a reference to where the date of the exhibition falls on the liturgical calendar. Nevertheless it soon becomes noticeable whilst searching through this interventionist exhibition, nestled into alcoves, arches, on and around the fixtures and architecture of the space that there is nothing ordinary about this assortment of works.
'Studies from St. Barnabas' by artist Alexandra Hughes are small post-card sized photographic montages acting as a neat counterbalance to the vastness of the space. The images are photographic responses to this interweave of shadow and light spilling through the windows, which have then been masked and collaged using shapes found in the church. Arranged in a grouping on a ledge where one of the shadows found in the work falls, creates a further layer of real-time shadow play.
Rotor Exhibition Catalogue
The Unfolding Design, by Helena Blaker
A Siobhan Davies Dance commission for ROTOR 2010
Alexandra Hughes' work is concerned with the slow passing of time and light, and with what is not usually observed or seen. For ROTOR she has created Interval and Studio Interval, two works comprised of a large wall-mounted photograph and three lightboxes, each of which composes a single image from fragments of light, shot on a temporal system related to the dancers' movements. Responding at first to the pace of the figure at the pivot of the circle, who walks more slowly than the dancers in the outer lanes, Hughes has designed a temporal grid relating to the pace of each of the dancers. This pattern allows her to record phases and sections of light as it changes on an architectural surface. Each phase included in the next and each producing a different colour palette... colours changing in time.
Arrangements- Solo Exhibition Press Release
Curated by Charles Danby
Siobhan Davies Studios, London, UK
15 April - 30 May 2010
Arrangements explores the effects of light and time on the architecture of the acclaimed Siobhan Davies Studios, using the instant mechanics of Polaroid and the measured control of medium-format photography to the uncover the everyday occurrence of the constantly shifting light and shadows sweeping through the building, across its walls, floors, surfaces and ceilings.
Arrangements (2009-10) is a series of six photographs, each taken between December 2009 and April 2010, and each consisting of multiple layers of light and time. A photograph is taken of a shadow cast across the blank reverse surface of a standard photograph placed within the Studio's architecture. This is printed and the resulting photograph is re-located within the Studio. Affected by an altogether different set of shadows this in turn is photographed. This process is repeated and the layers of the photograph multiply to construct a new geography of the building bringing disparate surfaces in contact with one another.
Also presented is Frosted Glass (2010), a series of photographic contact sheets of light cast through windows from across the Studio building. Natural light is seen in squares of colour that range from blue,through green and yellow to red, the concealed made visible in compelling simplicity.
Adding to these new works is 12.5 Hours of a White Wall (2010), a work that completes a trilogy of works [17 Hours of a White Wall (2009), shown at the Stanley Picker Gallery and 13 Hours of a White Wall (2007), shown at Woburn Research Centre, London (UCL)], in which photographic slides (taken every 6-12 minutes depending on the duration of the work) record the light cast across a white wall for the duration of time listed in the title from sunrise to sunset are replayed in the single rotation of a slide carousel, making visible the all-to-often unseen colour shifts that occur as daylight passes. This work will be previewed at the opening of the exhibition and shown while the artist is in conversation on the 28th May.
The Open Prize for Video Painting 2010
Blog Review: http://lunettesrouges.blog.lemonde.fr/2010/08/03/
Alexandra Hughes parle aussi du temps qui passe, de la lumiere qui change, de l'eternite, de maniere plus depouillee encore. Peu importe ou nous sommes, c'est l'ombre de cette corde nouee sur un mur (the end of august) qui est notre marqueur, notre passeport du temps.
Alexandra Hughes also talked about the time that passes, the light that changed and of eternity in a more austere way. No matter where we are, it is the shadow of this knotted rope on a wall (The End of August) which is our marker, our passport of time.
Displacements - Group Exhibition Press Release
Curated by Juliette Rizzi and Eleanor Clayton
James Taylor Gallery, London, UK
26th March - 11th April 2010
This exhibition will present recent works from six emerging international artists.
Through the very ambivalent relationship between movement and stativity Alexandra Hughes plays with the interpretation of space, challenging the viewer to fill in the narrative.
The Photographers' Gallery, London, UK
June - July 2009
Alexandra Hughes investigates the subtle, momentary and ungraspable in an attempt to highlight overlooked quotidian moments. The work is an immersion into physical phenomena of the most ephemeral kind, reflecting an acute awareness of the silent and ever-changing flux underlying our existence. Understanding that even the most permanent is only seemingly so, Hughes uses photography, video and text to examine the mechanisms of recording and the replaying of a moment in time.
7.9 Cubic Metres - Stanley Picker Gallery
Project initiated by artist James Carrigan and programmed by curator Eliza Tan.
1st Quarter: Show 3 - Voids, Corners, Plentifolds
Alexandra Hughes- '17 Hours of a White Wall'
Jun 24th - Jul 15th 2009
Loud and blinding, bare and mute - the white-washed space could be as banal and platitudinous as it is utopian, as trite as it blankly imagines a plethora of meanings, as flat as it is voluminous. It remains rhetorically ambivalent; functions as a pretext for perfection.
What will we make of white walls and white spaces?
Alexandra Hughes negotiates the question quietly and unassumingly, where the artist has chosen to locate the dimensionality of the white cube through a process of photographing a single wall in Stanley Picker Gallery's Studio 2 over the duration of 17 hours. Beginning from sunrise to sunset, a snapshot was taken every 12.45 minutes, resulting in a series of images which record the subtle colour variations reflected on the chosen wall. Then projected, or in effect, 'replayed' back onto the surface of 7.9 Cubic Metres, the series of rhythmically timed slide projections dramatize and make apparent the colour shifts over the duration.
17 Hours of a White Wall (2009) is an evaluation of both medium and method. Shying away from conventional image content or subjects such as people, landscapes or objects, Hughes' work returns to explore the formalistic principles of abstraction. Inverting the function of the gallery wall as a hanging surface, the artist has appropriated the vertical plane as a canvas. Engaging not only the characteristics of site beyond symbolic conventions, Hughes' installation demonstrates the rudimentary nature of photography as a nuanced document of light and captured time.
Technological variables and the mechanisms of documentation, as Hughes' illustrates, alter the conditions of our viewing and implicate perception. Having chosen to deploy neither videographic modes nor methods such as long-durational exposure, the artist's choice of automated snap-shooting underscores a re-consideration of the decisive moment. The decisive moment approach, as photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson had coined in the 50s, is 'the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression." Hughes' process for this particular work, however, involved minimal real-time intervention by the artist, instead privileging the fully automated, serial development of the image, where contingencies of movement and event have been minimized.
The resultant material gathered from Hughes' photographic process is nonetheless poetic, alluding to ephemerality and residual memory. Where the long duration of collecting and of archiving is juxtaposed against the short duration of exhibition, we are reminded of the long and short durées of historical as well as personal memory. Where we find ourselves perpetually seduced by the beauty of the image, we are reminded to question the fleeting moment of its viewership and consumption.
The ‘whiteness’ is in this case, reveals itself as a spatial dimension of speed and of slowness.