What is presence? What is absence?
In my recent practice, photography has provided me with the means through which to deconstruct dualities of presence/ absence and sense/ nonsense. In this series entitled ‘Presence of Absence’, my concern has been with how the image frame instigates a tension between presence and absence, and a play between limit and transgression. Here, the language of photography is used to explore the spatial limits of two-dimensional representation and to contemplate how framing affects meaning.
Photography provides a context, frame and structure, but it also provides me with base material for drawing and digital modification. My intervention in this series of photographs is a decontextualised black shape/ object/ void that cuts into reality. For me, the contrast between these visual elements evokes quite literally Henri Lefebvre’s assertion that “we are surrounded by emptiness, but it is an emptiness filed with signs”.
The photographs in this series were taken in and around an apartment complex in Yelahanka, a satellite town north of Bangalore. Across these images a non-linear narrative begins to emerge – the black shape moves in and out of the frame, sometimes it is overt, at other times it exists on the periphery. It is through this sequence that the shape begins to develop its personal character and meaning.
Matt Lee is an artist, illustrator and educator from the UK, currently working from Bangalore, where he is a member of faculty at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology. Over the past few years Matt has exhibited in Canada, France, Japan, England, Germany, USA, Netherlands and Sardinia. In 2011 a video collaboration with artist Smriti Mehra, entitled ‘ink’, was featured as part of ‘Paris-Delhi-Bombay’ at Centre Pompidou, Paris. Through his practice, Matt explores forms of meta-communication that transgress the boundaries of logic, structure and common sense. His recent projects use digital drawing, photography and video to interrogate the processes we use for constructing, framing, manipulating and reading visual messages. Matt’s work has featured in publications including The Guardian, The Independent, FT Magazine, Time Out, NY Arts Magazine, Don’t Panic, and Creative Review, as well as books such as ‘Fully Booked’ and ’Illusive 2′ by Gestalten.