August 4, 2012
If Mark Kimber’s exhibition, The Pale Mirror, at Greenaway Gallery blurs the lines between make believe and reality, then it can be located in the terrain of remembrance. The mirror as a memory fuses the present with the past.
Kimber’s ethereal photographs of diorama-like sets, shot in film, feature city high-risesand seascapes are constructed with polystyrene, cardboard, masking tape and odds and ends scrounged from train modelling shops. These small dioramas – they measure no more than 40cm square – are light with appropriately tiny LED lights. Finally, he photographs them – on film – with an apparatus he has fashioned himself by combining a pinhole camera with a plastic Diana one.
Mark Kimber, Through the Windows of the Night, 40 x 40 cm, giclee print, 2012.
These photographs are an adult attempt to go back to that level of play. Kimber says that:
Most are journeys back to childhood memories – the Hindenburg disaster on TV, the Bates Motel in Psycho, more personal ones too. As I get older I see the relationship between the way I viewed the world as a child and the way I have gone on to view it over my life. These scenes are an attempt to recreate those childhood imagined landscapes and make new ones.
These hazy, indistinct images are about play--childhood play and creativity. Kimber says that when he was a kid he would come home from seeing a movie and try to build a replica of it in the backyard.
If our society is now marked by televisual spectacle and immediacy, then our sense of history fades. Photography becomes a material form of memory that counters the way instrumental reason's continuous history and technological progress leaves the past behind to create a new instant present. Kimber's photography counters the anachronism of the past and historical loss caused by the digital technological transformation.
Mark Kimber, Into seas without a shore, 40 x 40 cm, giclee print, 2012.
So we photograph in order to remember in a world increasingly marked by the shrinking of historical understanding. The instantaneous time of the 24 hours news media is a mechanism for our historical amnesia.