At Unseen 23 we present a solo presentation with new photos by Elspeth Diederix.
The series is a celebration of the ordinary things we spend most of our lives with, but usually overlook. A dented bottle of shampoo, a bar of soap, a can of beans; through Diederix's eyes, they take on a quality of their own and make you wonder why you've never seen them as such before.
The still lives of Elspeth Diederix have a precise aim: capture the beauty of the little things that surround us. She cautiously plans and builds sets of collected elements, to photograph them at their moment of maximum tension. Beside the works constructed in her atelier, many of the images are created in the middle of nature and during her frequent travels. Other times, when she cannot set off, she works with the continuous evolutions of her (studio) garden.
Although her images seem digitally altered, all their effects are obtained by a wise use of manual interventions, as optical illusions, or false perspective, without any use of artificial light.
After working for several years mostly on her garden projects and under water still lifes, Diederix felt the urge to go back to the world of things. In stead of grow, fluidity and romanticism, it was time again to give beauty to the appearance of things, nobody seems to care for.
Light is at centre of her work, especially in the way it reflects on both natural elements and synthetic objects. The latter are mostly recurring items as plastic bottles or supermarket bags, which Diederix gives as much attention as a painter would draw some centuries ago to a precious chandelier or water carafe.
There are more similarities with Dutch still lifes: in Energy still life, she presents two basic water containers on a table that, throughout a combination of dark background and sharp reflections, have gained a solemnity comparable with feasts portrayed in the Dutch Golden Age.
Diederix' enigmatic photographs create a sense of alienation which she achieves by stripping everyday objects of what one normally takes for granted. Special effects are achieved by manual intervention using only natural (sun) light, making everyday objects lose their sense of familiarity, acquire another meaning, and seem to become almost abstract.