What’s On: In Light of Moving Images by Alex Nevill @ CentreSpace Gallery
by Alice Adlide
At CentreSpace Gallery, nestled in the winding alleyways that loop off Bristol’s Corn Street, filmmaker and PhD student Alex Nevill presents his portfolio of practical work in his ethereal exhibition In Light of Moving Images. The show is an immersive, visual array of his experimentation with light, moving image, and the philosophical considerations imbued in both. Crossing over a variety of filmic media, the project also seeks to explore the possibilities presented by new developments in media formats and consumption. For example, one installation titled ‘#Life_Drawing’ involves two projectors – one HD digital and the other analogue Super-16mm – which alternate projecting images of a life drawing class. The two projectors are triggered by live-time Instagram posts, according to relevant hashtags being used on the social media site. In another installation, ‘Camera/Projector’, we are shown a split screen. On the left, a running projector in a dark room is filmed through an iPhone; on the right screen, that same projector is filmed through 8mm film. Both media distort, flare, and glitch as the cameras move into the light of light, and through their juxtaposition we are invited to observe the diverging quality of the two formats as they process the same glare.
The exhibition is laid out in such a way that we may walk around the images, immersing ourselves in their light and space, and viewing from multiple angles. Some of the moving images are projected onto glass panes, which hang delicately, suspended by thin almost invisible wires, such that the viewer can walk around the image, and such that images can be projected onto both sides of the pane, as is the case in the third installation, ‘From Light & Shadows’. On either side of the panel, the viewer sees two representations of an archetypal window: the first is live-action, and accompanied with a reading of a French text written by cinematographer Henri Alekan; the second is a computer-generated image of the window, and accompanied by Nevill’s own English approximation of the passage. Both images show ephemeral day passing through the window, time signified by the changing of the light. There is a clear inquiry, I feel, into reality and its representation, or reality and its translation through film - much like translating a passage from one language to another, the window has been translated from one medium (live-action film) to another (computer-generated imagery).
A particularly immersive piece is found in one corner of the gallery. Entitled ‘iPhone Collage’, the work collects a series of videos taken over Nevill’s three years of research, seeking to “document unusual instances of light using an iPhone camera in a diaristic approach to cinematographic reflection.” Brief snippets of intriguing shadows, of dust filtering through beams of sun, or light bouncing off reflective surfaces, form an amalgamation of images that afford insight into the artist’s mind. Something about the work feels deeply personal, as though we are viewing small windows of Nevill’s experience, of the various forms and figures in the world that have caught his searching eye.
Nevill began studying filmmaking at the University of Gloucestershire, before moving up to Edinburgh to complete a cinematography-based Masters of Fine Art at the Scotland Screen Academy. He has been working on his PhD at the University of West England for the past four years, funded by the AHRC 3d3 doctorial training centre, and this exhibition comprises the final practical piece of the project. In the final corner of the room, three short films he has collaborated on play on a loop; it’s an excellent chance to catch some beautifully composed and touching shorts, as well as see Nevill’s fascination with light being carried through to more commercial film-making.
Studying the relationship between light, cinematography, and reality, Nevill’s work seeks to draw from all instances of light and life, pondering their representation and reception. A poetic, pensive and absorbing exhibition, Nevill’s In Light of Moving Images is photosynthetic food for thought.
Nevill's In Light of Moving Images runs November 4 - 7 2017 at CentreSpace Gallery, open 10am-6pm daily,
‘Si le noir est lié a la mort, la lumière est lié a la vie. … La lumière donne à “voir”: mais, plus encore, elle donne à “penser”’
// ‘“If black is related to death, light is related to life … Light allows us to “see” but even more, it allows us to “think”’
– Henri Alekan, translation by Alex Nevill
Check out Nevill's webiste to see more.