We Are Back, (God & Man revisited), 2021 | Gareth McConnell

Edition of 33
Giclée print on Hahnemühle Baryta FB 350 gsm
29.7 x 42 cm / 11.69 x 16.53 in
Signed, titled & numbered on reverse
Shipped tracked and signed worldwide

— A bit of a departure for me but I have been working on this for the last couple of years believe it or not. The new series of work is called God & Man (after Leopold Godowsky & Leopold Mannes who invented Kodachrome in 1935). The original source material is taken off the internet as extremely low resolution digital files, printed at a high street lab then re-photographed / double exposed onto Kodachrome and then printed again on Cibachrome.

Primarily it’s meant to be a bookending of colour photography through maybe the most cliched (and unifying?) photographic image of all time, the sunset / sunrise. I think I mentioned to you before that these last years I have been struggling more and more with adding to that slag heap of photographs we all moan about and are implicated in and that I had been touched by Joachim Schmidt when he said something like ‘no more photographs till all the old ones have been used up’.

The idea first came to me when I woke from a sleep on a long haul flight and looked out the window onto a crazy beautiful sunset (or a sunrise I can’t remember and it doesn’t matter really, though they are quite different visually… something to do with the particles in the evening air refracting light I think) but you know it was one of those times on a plane when all is still and dark, everyone asleep and then you open the shutter a touch and BOOM straight to the brain. That line from Bladerunner came to mind… you know when Rutger Hauer says ‘I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark…‘. It took me back to a rave south of England early nineties (Is this the way they say the futures meant to feel or just 20,000 people standing in a field. JC) when I took three purple microdots and amongst other things over the course of a long night, hid from the Viet Cong up trees in deep jungle and watched monolithic skyscrapers grow up to the stars before collapsing in on themselves turning the world inside out in a psychedelic demolition day bathed in (what I remember as… don’t you hate it when people bang on about their trips?) red and orange apocalyptic twilight. Life changer. Deep breath.

Excerpt from This Long Century entry 2010

‘Gareth McConnell’s recent projects are essays in youthful bodies, saturated colors, and floral forms. They resemble stills from a cult initiation ceremony, a psychedelic clinical trial, or a nudist photography club. Their unexplained nature is countered by a calibrated use of color, as if shade and tint, not form, unlock their meaning. McConnell’s handling of color pursues the hue of rave music culture as the distillation of late twentieth -century youth culture. It grinds down all kinds of disparate imagery that captures the glittering tail of burning brightly and recalls the phosphorescent smears of disco lights across bodies. McConnell’s work recaptures the flashes of Dave Swindells’s snapshots from 1990s London nightclubs; the use of paused frames in Mark Leckey’s film Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999); the intense colour of Andy Bettles’s mid-1980s cross-process fashion editorials published in The Face magazine or Mark LeBon’s double-exposure portraits for i-D magazine at the same time; the Super-8 footage of Derek Jarman’s flower beds on Dungeness Beach filmed at night in The Garden (1990).’

Alistair O’Neill, Aperture 241, 2020