'Perihelion', Jason Oddy, 25 March - 3 May 2014
Unknown to most, perihelion, the day the earth’s elliptical orbit steers our planet closest to the sun, falls every year on January the 4th. Taking this abstruse and, for those of us in the northern hemisphere, counterintuitive idea as a guiding thought, Jason Oddy’s forthcoming exhibition brings together photographic works from the last decade-and-a-half to ask us to look with renewed intensity at the manmade world we normally take for granted.
With their stripped down aesthetic and emphasis on geometric rhythms, Oddy’s photographs of places such as Soviet sanatoria, the Pentagon or the United Nations headquarters, aim to take us beyond these specific locations to the ideas that created them. Equally the pictures ask us to consider how the manmade spaces we habitually inhabit might, at a primordial level, also inhabit us.
To help bring this enquiry into sharper focus the exhibition pivots around two distinct phases of Oddy’s work. Alongside his earlier investigations of containing and at times coercive architectures, his most recent series, Concrete Spring, explores what might instead be considered an architecture of liberation. Created on the back of a British Council facilitated EU artist residency in Algiers, Concrete Spring is an in-depth examination of the extraordinary if largely forgotten post-independence legacy of celebrated Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in Algeria.
All Oddy’s work seeks to bring to light the way the built environment plays a fundamental role in determining who we are. His striking, often large-scale depictions of politically charged spaces invite us to consider how no space can be considered neutral, and, moreover, how different types of architecture might imply, or even produce, different types of people.
Perihelion is a collaboration between UH Galleries, Smiths Row, Bury St Edmunds and The James Hockey Gallery at UCA Farnham.
Art and Design Gallery, University of Hertfordshire,
College Lane, Hatfield, AL10 9AB
Opening times: Mon-Fri, 9.30–5.00, Sat, 9.30–3.30