responses to Berger :: ways of remembering

Saturday 22nd April [2-5pm]

Eva Fahle-Clouts: In memory of John Berger
projection, slide show, prints.

“Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak. But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world: we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled….”

Travelling moments to and around Berlin

Waiting in the rain

Selfridges windows seen in London 23/3/17 on a bus ride

“Philosophy is really homesickness, it is the urge to be at home everywhere.”
Novalis from: and our faces, my heart, brief as photos, by John Berger

ivon oates: Berger/Blanchot –  portrait/selfportrait
Two screen looped installation.

The sitter for the Fayum portraits is watching the artist as if from a projected position of death. In our contemporary western understanding, we no longer have any opportunity to experience ‘being looked at’ by an absolute other, our own interpretive gaze having already ‘annihilated’ (catagorised, analysed, determined, limited) that possibility in life.

However, the ways in which we are ‘foreign’ to our own selves and to our ultimate ‘Selfhood’ (Death/the ancestral line/Beingness) remains a dark glass.

Does the sitter gaze towards the artist still? And does the artist allow him/herself to be looked at?

Jenny Barrett: Unsung Hero
(a eulogy for the North Atlantic Drift)

“I wanted to write about looking at the world. So it’s more about helping people – or persuading people – to see what is around us, both the marvellous and the terrible”
John Berger



Annalisa Renee: Triptych
1 Animal Kingdom 2 Vesica Pisces 3 Ocean

John Berger pointed out the relationship between viewer and viewed, patron and artist and the importance of the context in which a painting was made and shown, including the sometimes hidden messages which may convey the real meaning of the painting.

This triptych as 3 experimental collage/paintings incorporates images from Renaissance paintings juxtaposed with early mythic and other more contemporary images. It explores notions of ‘man’s’ origins through the recontextualised painted images, the Vesica Pisces and earlier magical fertility symbols  and the link we have with animals and the ways in which we exploit and mythologize them.

The Vesica Pisces was associated with the Goddess Venus and represented the vulva/ womb of Mary; early depictions of Christ show the infant messiah within the vesica, suggesting the origins of humanity or the coming together of heaven and earth in the body of Jesus (part man, part god). As such, it is also a doorway or portal between worlds, and symbolizes the intersection between the heavens and the material plane.

The third part of the triptych ‘a boundless drop in a boundless ocean’ hints at the importance of our planet, its deep oceans and our relative (un-) importance as human beings in relation to the cosmos.


Nathalie Bradford:
After Pete; Flawed Mirror; Insight; Sky-Eyes (3-minute video)






Nigel Slight: Factory
09.28min Quicktime video on MAC, with headphones.

This work is made from video material edited from a twelve hour performance at the Poznański Factory in Łódź Poland. The duration of this work references the continuous twelve hour shifts carried by the workers at the factory between 1878 and 1992. The vast majority of the workers in the factory were women.

Exract: John Berger’s and Jean Mohr’s  ‘A Seventh Man’ 1975
“A machine? What compels the migrant worker to leave his village and accept this humiliation?

Today the migrant worker experiences, within a few years, what the working population of every industrial city experienced over generations. To consider his life-its material circumstances and his inner feelings – is to be brought face to face with the fundamental nature of our present societies and their histories. The migrant is not on the margin of modern experience; he is absolutely central to it.

To bring this experience directly to the reader we needed political analysis and poetry. We needed to quote economics and to write fiction. Above all we needed photographs. Jean Mohr and I have continued the experiment begun in ‘A Fortunate Man’ and continued in ‘Ways of Seeing’. We hope that the way this book is made – not just what it states – may question any preconceptions about its subject.

At the time it was estimated that there were ten million migrant workers in Europe, of whom two million were women”.

On 1 January 2016, the number of people living in the EU-28 who were citizens of non-member countries was 20.7 million, while the number of people living in the EU-28 who had been born outside of the EU was 35.1 million

Nigel Slight: Girl with a Pearl Earring

“Lawrence Gowing, a painter and one of the most penetrating of Vermeer scholars, believes that an x-ray photograph of the face of the Girl with a Pearl Earring constitutes evidence of the artist’s painting method. X -rays images reveal the presence of lead, which is the primary component of lead-white, the principal white pigment used by painters in Vermeer’s time. Gowing assumes that the white areas of the image correspond  the underpainting stage and was a direct transcription of the incidence of light on the screen of the camera obscura. Particularly suggestive of the camera obscura’s effect is the perfectly spherical highlight of the pearl earring which has been altered in the final version, the same goes for the dim highlight of the eye to the right hand side of the painting. Gowing believes that “the artist, evidently proceeded, in finishing the picture, to mediate between objectivity and convention.”

Since the x-ray image only reveals the presence of the heavier lead white and the remaining areas are registered as black, it tends to produces an exaggerated effect of contrast.

The series of drawings Nigel made from the Radiograph were in response to the double pupil revealed, and the change of direction of her gaze.

Cosmo Sudbury-Slight: Cosmo Twitching
Single screen looped video.