Show: 132 KV PL16 Terminal Tower with tower-mounted sealing ends, single colour offset print. Theo Simpson.
Tell: “This print is being launched at my exhibition at Site Gallery, Sheffield, but it was always my intention to make it. What fascinates me with transmission towers is that are the second largest network of man made structures in the UK, except you don’t really notice them. That is testament to the architectural intentions of Sir Reginald Blomfield, who orchestrated and selected the final towers.
“They blend in yet, at the same time, have such a dominant visual appearance when you notice them. I was eager to show the intricacies and variation of such everyday structures. I referenced the architectural intentions by printing them in grey ink on grey paper stock. It is subtle. I don’t think many people notice, but I think it adds to the conceptual framework of it.
“Also it’s quite a loose topology, it’s more of a celebration of them rather than a reference. I was interested just as much in how they fit into the landscape than just how they appear as structures. The idea of the print is like a way to finish the series of work I’ve done on the subject. The PL-16 terminal tower has tower mounted sealing ends, notice the cables running to the ground as it’s the end of line. It seemed a nice way to end the series. The blue ink is a reference to technical drawings and Sir Reginald’s dilemma in designing and orchestrating them. These towers are so fundamental to our way of life; it seems natural to me to understand them better in some way.
“I find it quite hard to describe my practice. I guess I’m really interested in print. For me I think it’s a case of using the printed form to extend the ideas of a project. As much as anything I like materials and print, considering how it feels not just how it looks.but further to that I want to make publications that are indeed the project, not merely just something to contain it. I don’t really see myself as a photographer either; I’m only really interested in working in series, not single images. It’s just more of a convenient medium.
“I think my interest in ‘everyday’ things stems from understanding. When you can fully relate to, experience or understand something, then I feel you are able to comment on it. With all of my publications I’ve felt like I’ve had something say and understood it enough where I felt like I could say something about it. This is why every publication and project has been approached in such a considered way. I’ve always spent plenty of time with the subject matter beforehand.
“To this end I never really stop working on the projects after they’re in print and to me they never fully end. I still photograph transmission towers. In fact I now photograph transmitter masts to so it’s already evolving. The reaction to all the projects has been really good and also very interesting, I like more than anything to observe how people react to the books, the print, design and the subject. Overall it’s been very positive and a lot of people have been very supportive.”
Info: Theo Simpson is an artist, living and working in Sheffield, England.
The exhibition, [A] Quick Perspective of the Future is at Site Gallery, Sheffield between Saturday 27th – Tuesday 30th August 2011 brings together a selection of previous print work by Theo Simpson and Ben McLaughlin. The exhibition also sees the launch of Theo Simpson’s limited edition 132 KV PL16 print.
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