Craigie Horsfield's Consequences of Art

The artist and curator presents his new exhibition Schering en inslag / Confluence and Consequence at Antwerp's museum of modern art

Craigie Horsfield, Above the Bay of Naples from Vi
Craigie Horsfield, Above the Bay of Naples from Via Partenope, Naples, September 2008, 2010, courtesy the artist

Craigie Horsfield is an international British artist and curator who works with film, photography, sound work and social projects. His exhibition Schering en inslag/Confluence and Consequence opened this weekend at Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (The Modern Art Museum in Antwerp, Belgium). The show is made up of pieces of photographic work and monumental tapestries of photographs and film stills depicting subjects from the crowd at a gig by Italian band 99 Posse, where the artist perforated an eardrum, to a 26-foot representation of a firework display in the bay of Naples. These enormous works, produced locally referencing the weaving tradition of the Flanders region, have a dreamlike quality to them, like huge slices of film static but not still. Lucky enough to enjoy the Belgian hospitality we were able to speak to Horsfield at the launch of Shering en inslag/Confluence and Consequence about what inspired the exhibition. 

Dazed Digital: You have chosen to give these particular images to make into tapestries- most of them film stills- to give a kind of permanence?
Craigie Horsfield: I would really think of it a little bit differently. Permanence assumes that it’s like a monument or something like that and I don’t think it’s like that because… Let me start kind of backwards a lot of the things here are using elements that come from photography or film and I think one of the problems with the history of photography is that it is separate from the history of film and people will say “well film is movement”, the antithesis of a still photograph but in fact it’s not. It’s not only technically that a film is of course 24 frames, it’s not a liquid substance, it’s not time. There are different things that happen when you work with it because you don’t think about instantaneity you don’t have to do that with photography either but mostly we do because we want to catch the moment or shoot a photograph but I think.

Your question presumes that I have an interest in an unchanging permanence and I do not. It is absolutely not about permanence, materiality yes permanence no. 

DD: What made you pick these pictures, as opposed to any other of yours works, for this exhibition?
Craigie Horsfield: Always there is the sense of place; the first concern was that I was using tapestry so it had to be Flanders, working with tapestry these connections matter because of the locality rather than the generic. I think when you deal with any medium it brings with it, its history. Although through modernity form became paramount we recognise novelty through form and sometimes we are interested in the ideas, which took form, made rise to it and made it happen.

DD: But the images themselves, what made you choose them?
Craigie Horsfield:In a way they choose themselves, we are working with other associations here of Flemish painting a certain surrealism that is within the culture. You begin with something, for example the Rhinos which existed and they bring behind also other kinds of associations, this kind of distorted relationship which is within them which much more what it’s about it’s about their relation to each other, to us.

DD: It’s quite shocking because I’ve never seen animals in a Circus….
Craigie Horsfield: And of course they don’t perform any more because that is the law. Already this was at the end, it was in about ’95 I think and it’s already the edge, it already looked archaic then. I didn’t film it because it was archaic. It came about within a project and people I knew were going to the circus so it became a part of that conversation.

DD: What changes about the photographs for you, once they have become tapestries?
Craigie Horsfield: The concept of the photograph is a very fluid one. It’s a curious question, I’ve never thought that I make photographs as such, I’m interested in a photograph in the same way I’m interested in film or literature.

DD: So it’s Art for you rather than anything in particular?
Craigie Horsfield: Yes.

DD: And would you continue to use tapestry?
Craigie Horsfield:  I don’t know for the moment, I don’t understand enough yet but it does something. The truth is I really don’t know.

DD: And the work that you do with people, which direction is that going to go in do you think?
Craigie Horsfield: They have a label -social projects- but it is the coming together of conversations, ideas and how they act within a world which is complicated and changing, holding that together and they simply survive the world and they are based on simply, what we are doing now.

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