To Leave a Light Impression

Darren Almond, White Cube installation shot

An exhibition of large-scale landscape photographs of ethereal beauty opens today at the Bermondsey Street outpost of White Cube. Darren Almond’s latest work follows on from his last solo show with the gallery, 2008’s Moons of the Iapetus Ocean, and includes images taken as far afield as Patagonia, Tasmania and Cape Verde.

The heart of the exhibition is a series entitled Present Form which depicts the ancient standing stones on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Presented on both sides of the gallery walls, the tall compositions loosely encircle the visitor. On the floor lie clusters of small columns made of hand-polished bronze, engraved with the initials of astronauts.

Elsewhere in the show, Almond’s photographs depict glaciers – a triptych filled to its silver frame by an ice-blue cliff face; empty train tracks stretching into the distance; the blackened stumps of deforestation; an oddly wooden stile, straight outta Constable; and vast flowing rivers, like soft-tumbling silk. One slightly peculiar work consists of a piece of Romantic/Modernist poetry by Nan Shepherd written over eleven gleaming bronze train plates.

Most of the works here are from Almond’s Fullmoon series, produced over the course of thirteen years, and taken under the light of a full moon using long exposure. The effect can be beautiful and other-worldly, filled with mists of gentle concealment. But there’s also a dulling effect, a sense of being over-polished. It’s hard to know exactly what level Almond is operating at: whether endorsing so many well-worn Romantic tropes or attempting to reframe them critically. Either way, separated from the visitor by protective glass that reflects the gleaming polished concrete of White Cube, this is work that seems to re-enact an age-old process of division.

 
 

Darren Almond – To Leave a Light Impression is at White Cube Bermondsey until 13th April 2014.

 
 

Darren Almond, White Cube

 
 

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Darren Almond, White Cube

 
 

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Image credits, top to bottom:
1. Installation photo: Ben Westoby
2. Fullmoon@Cape Verde, 2013 © Darren Almond. Courtesy White Cube
3. Fullmoon@Argentinian Patagonia, 2013 © Darren Almond. Courtesy White Cube
4. Fullmoon@Sandwalk Wood, 2013 © Darren Almond. Courtesy White Cube
5. Fullmoon@Esk River, 2013 © Darren Almond. Courtesy White Cube
6. Fullmoon@Cerro Chaltén, 2013 © Darren Almond. Courtesy White Cube

 
 

The Learned Pig

Tom Jeffreys

Tom is a writer and curator, and editor of The Learned Pig. He writes primarily about contemporary art, and is particularly interested in work that crosses over into the sciences or explores our relationship with the environment. His writing has been published in, among others, Apollo, Frieze, Monocle, New Scientist, The Independent, and World of Interiors. His first book - Signal Failure: London to Birmingham, HS2 on foot - was published by Influx Press in 2017.