Our new project Landscape/Portrait (working title) follows on from Oxford Road by using archives to revisit and re-look at places today. We will select up to 10 landscape paintings, revisit these sites and film them to produce a modern-day portrait of that landscape.
We structured Oxford Road using photographic archives, this time we are going to dig back further and use paintings in a similar way to other archive records, this is fitting considering painting was (and debatably still is) a way to make a recording of a particular time, place or idea.
The project became a possibility when we visited the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield last November (2011). They had a number of Yorkshire and northern landscape paintings books, which included Turner paintings. Turner had painted the church on the bridge by the gallery in a different setting to today. We hope to film each place in the same season as each particular painting, with the aim of covering all seasons but may need the help of gallery curators to help us identify the seasons, as its not always clear.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been looking at the Manchester Art Gallery collection, looking for paintings for the project. One of the paintings featuring in the gallery is ‘Oxford Road’ (above) by Adolphe Valette, painted in 1910. It captures the construction of the Refuge Assurance Building (now The Palace Hotel). It’s a fitting example of how painting can help us understand our landscape today. And of course, our film, Oxford Road, is a portrait of this road as it was just over a year ago.
We’re excited to discover different landscapes by looking closely, both now and then. So begins another film experiment and the possibility of exploring new places and uncovering history as we go. In the meantime a few more photos from different people’s photo archives.