Thursday, 17 April 2014

Black Magic In Beijing


So, I am back, and I can't quite describe exactly how incredible the last few weeks have been. How those wonderful 10 days in Beijing on my residency, finalising my collaborative project with the excellent Thomas Sauvin have seen so much happen, experience and create! But of course, I am going to do my very best and show you.

The beginning held much excitement, anticipation as I flew out to Beijing on my birthday. A friend once told me, the joys of flying on ones anniversary are much auspicious, so it started in the most perfect way, minus the hour on standby, lost luggage, but all was re-found and as soon as I left Beijing Terminal 3, all was set in perfect motion and work commenced.

I arrived at the studio, was greeted with familiar faces and settled in to my workhouse for the next 10 days, a stunning light room, filled with much positivity, a set of hand C-Types awaiting approval and the chemicals ready for reactions. It was at this point that after one year of Skype calls, thousands of emails, ideas exchanged that the real work started, and we couldn't wait!

Our schedule was tight, every minute of every day was spent working through our ideas, making, creating and editing our developments. Testing saw the first three days pass as we tried to tame the reactions, ultimately never having the control one is so used to these days. But through this uncontrollable nature of our project grows a deep respect, understanding of the medium and how ones modern living is problematic to looking. 

The reactions took hold, blackening not only the prints but my fingers, hands and arms darker by the day. It is if the work was literally tattooing my skin, reminding me of what was taking hold and how you can't control, but only learn to tame. The entire process was very cathartic, a lesson in patience, watching and waiting.

After an incredibly intense 7 days, a break, well earned indeed. A night out on the town, a visit back to my old favourite, The Slow Boat with fellow friends in Beijing, then onto a great Cocktail bar in the Gongti, Parlour not to be missed when in the city! After a few Ales intermixed with Makers Mark cocktails the early hours arrived and it was back to work for the last few days.

In between the sad day of leaving and having to return to London, a very special trip out to a flea market, the Panjiayuan Market where I was very honoured to be wondering around with both my collaborator and friend, both of which are fellow Photography collectors and artists in the know! There assistance was invaluable as I brought some beautiful hand prints and Chinese carte de visites to add to my own collection, a very happy day indeed.   

10 days went by so quickly and I returned with a suitcase full of new work to be released in the next few days, so keep watching, there are only hours left to wait...

More information to follow soon!!!

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