Imaginary Geographies

Imaginary Geographies
A Light Box Project
Courtenay Place, December 8th 2011 – April 2012

Great title, strong concept, iffy execution, like so many of the previous Light Box projects. I’m not saying that all the work in an art exhibition should be produced especially for that exhibition, it’s just when there’s pre-made art and a very specific manifesto, you have to wonder if the artist just looked through their existing portfolio and thought “What can I bung in?” The photos of waves crashing on Piha Beach by Korean artist Jae Hoon Lee are magnificent (and impressively crisp for such a huge digital image), it’s just I’ve seen them before, uncropped, hanging on a doctor’s office wall to give an impression of calm.

Alex Dorfsman has also gone for the default Light Box option of huge landscape photos, this time presented as slides, taken all over Mexico but labelled as places such as Thailand and Ireland. This reminds us that New Zealand is valued by film crews for the versatility of our landscapes, and also emphasizes that there are rather a lot of places around the world that look like parts of Mexico.

Kate Woods has cleverly overlaid photos of Wellington with vines and trees in her Futureworld series, although with the same Control-V vine pattern used everywhere, this is done more for artistic effect, not a photorealistic effect to scientifically show long-term building decay, which also would’ve been interesting. Or maybe it’s just me.

I liked Australian Elaine Campaner’s photos best, shots of epic landscapes and oceans which are actually tabletop model shots, with tiny railway-model scale figures in the foreground for an audience, and commemorative china expanding on the scenes.

Two of the lightboxes are empty, to encourage four more contributions, although I don’t know if the additional artists are paid. Details for submissions are here, there’s already a few photos that people just had lying around. I’d like to try this, except I think I might produce something new.

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