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Mad or Tame?

Sian Bonnell

‘Mad or tame? Photography can be one or the other: tame if its realism remains relative, tempered by aesthetic or empirical habits (to leaf through a magazine at the hairdresser’s, the dentist’s); mad if this realism is absolute and, so to speak, original, obliging the loving and terrified consciousness to return to the very letter of Time: a strictly revulsive movement which reverses the course of the thing, and which I shall call, in conclusion, the photographic ecstacy.’ (Barthes, R. 1981, 119)

 This exhibition brings together work spanning more than thirty years. This is not a retrospective overview but something much more analogous to time travel; more a metaphorical rummaging through my cupboards.

Most of these images have never been shown together before and it is interesting for me to see the resonances that repeat.  Work goes round and comes around and all learning is cyclical. Ideas come and come again but each time slightly altered in the spiral movement through time.

The photographic space, both still and moving, has held a constant fascination for me – a theatrical performative space of translation, where imagination, time and belief are suspended.

Sian Bonnell

Sian Bonnell is a UK based artist, living and working in West Yorkshire. Her work is concerned with concepts surrounding photography and its relations with objects, environment and performance. Her work has been exhibited and published widely and is held in many public and corporate collections notably, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, the Ransom Center, Texas and the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

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