Presence can not be perceived without absence; and absence without presence. The presence of anything leaves behind a lingering trace - evidence of what was once there but is no longer. Referring to “presence of absence” as paradox shows how these concepts inherently depend on one another to be fully realised. Absence directs our attention towards the concept of presence and vice versa; so how can we portray something that is not there, delineating a form out of nothing?
Perceiving something that should be there but is not, creates a space incomplete and impossible to fully interpret. A space that is not empty, rather filled with meaning lost and muted, generating a silence that distinguishes the void from an empty space. Absence can therefore form itself like a void, fragmenting our reality in its perception - resulting in the closest thing we have to nothing.
To engage with and understand the idea of absence, one has to look beyond the real, towards the metaphysical. Boundaries come alive in this space, where traces and remnants conceive their physicality that tell something new about something gone. Absence is a homage, a celebration to presence and its fleeting immateriality that wants us to be present, while placing ourselves in the vastness of time passing by.
'Disappearing Act' 2017-2018
During my adolescence, I endured continuous sexual trauma from multiple people. The ongoing exposure to extreme stress and fear has severely impacted my short and long-term memory. Any past experience, whether it was pleasant or traumatic, can be hard for me to recall.
It's difficult to be engaged in the world when my brain is working against me. Even though I'm an adult now, I still feel like a child. The more I look back at my past, the more distorted my memory gets. Moments feel liquid: like putty slipping through my hands. As time continues, more of my life seems to fade away and when it disappears I cannot get it back. The people I love and the places that surround me will continue to change despite my brain being unable to keep up. I wonder if the dust will ever settle.
'At the seaside with no railway home' 2018
Molly Gibson graduated with a Fine Art Degree from Central Saint Martins. Molly has since focused on developing and articulating her style combining her love of landscapes from city to countryside to seascapes. Molly uses the traditional film photographic process with a modern twist to create unique pieces.
For the Absence exhibition Molly wanted to combine the nostalgia of her childhood memories of summers at the British seaside shown by the saturated colours of the seaside and highlighted by the slide and swings, contrasted with the absence of the Ramsgate seafront railway station which was opened in 1863 it was then sold to a company and the sight was turned into a funfair. However, in 1998 a fire burned down the remaining station building and the sight was demolished to the ground and currently replaced with a yellow tractor which reminds the viewer of the presence of absence.
'Absence' 2017 & 'Evidence' 2016
The subjects in the photographs seem undisturbed, almost lifeless, they refer to a permanent state and a permanent space. They are not dead, they are suspended in a parenthesis. They are specters in a limbo between subject and object.
The empty spaces, devoid of any human presence, represent Rome, a city torn between preserving the past and the impossibility of its conservation, in the brink of becoming Pompey, a petrified eternity.
These places will remain thus for all times. They are a slot in memory, a storage space where deleted archives are sent in order to fasten and preserve irrecoverable times.
'horror vacui' 2013
The series horror vacui is made up of 20 photographic still lifes. The everyday objects depicted are all in a state of dissolution. They incorporate organic and inorganic remnants, packaging, shells and empty cases. The arrangement of the folds in both the fabrics and papers play a central role in the composition of the images. The map acts as a base and as an object and is settled in a space between the two. The veins of its urban structures form a patterned plane.
Nowadays there is no space for emptiness. Based on this area of tension my work is connected through themes of emptiness, abundance and transformation. The title horror vacui refers to a psychological phenomenon of the same name, describing a fear of empty space. The subject of this artwork is the visual impression of patterns in relation to empty space.
This work leads to an idea of a world where the level of emptiness is raised. Defining for my work are also these essential questions about photography as a medium: What is photography, what has it turned into and what could it become?
The nonexistent areas are of particular interest.
'Outer Edges' 2018
Outer Edges is an exploration of blank and marginal spaces. Documenting space with a minimal aesthetic has allowed Rebecca Dudley to study how blank space and the concept of emptiness can be used to provoke emotion. Through the combination of textiles and photography a collage piece has been created, which allows the viewer to become more equated with the idea of the minimal canvas. This allows us to question how we see the world and what we value enough to photograph.
For this artist, there has always be an obsession with capturing the notions that lie on the peripheral of our vision; the objects that the everyday person does not value, but are more formative and important than one would ever have thought. She wanted to embrace this obsession in order to make a project that seemed curious, informative and aesthetically pleasing in equal measures. The outcome of this is Outer Edges.
Absence, a passage between imagination and reality.
I see it as a mark, a mark of something left over. I see in it, everything I could see in a dark glow. It is physical as well as virtual. In my photographs, always here, Absence leaves trace of the humain passage, but denotes from precise temporality. She is a suspended point. Suspended to the spectator.
Present and distant, between ephemeral and eternal, between physical and virtual, it is the proximity of a thing, and makes us remember.
Absence, structure of signs.