Photography Betwixt and Between, Lucy Soutter
Extract from Reference Works, Birmingham
In Andrew Lacon’s work, the materials of photography meet the materials of construction and contemporary sculpture, highlighting the fact that an image is never just a picture, but must also take some physical form. Lacon’s works for the commission evolve from his own photographs of the new library’s construction, and from the building’s relationship to the architect’s models that prefigured it in miniature. Incidental details of the current and new building become points of departure for photographs of abstract shapes, each of which are framed with one of the colours specified by the architects, Madin and Mecanoo, for carpets or walls. Chance observations yield permanent forms; a series of photographs documenting the way a palette of concrete blocks was unloaded is reworked as a series of concrete sculptures on plinths. In the catalogue the piece is represented in elegant colour photographs showing the plaster models that preceded the sculptures. Lacon’s material forms demand different manifestations in a book or in exhibition, and improvise on the relationship of sculpture and photography to architecture and archive. A marble neoclassical bust of the former Shakespearian librarian that appears as an image on the page of the catalogue will appear in the gallery in a huge free-standing oak frame, backed with shiny black acrylic, influenced by Madin’s table design that reflects the viewer and recalls the claude glass, a pre-photographic device used by landscape painters to abstract the world around them into painterly scenes.
© Dr Lucy Soutter / Reference Works / Library of Birmingham