Oddy is fascinated by the politics of place. Using a slow-moving 5 x 4 film camera, he immerses himself in a given space for days and sometimes weeks. The photographs he creates examine the manmade world we normally take for granted.
With their stripped down aesthetic and emphasis on geometric rhythms, his photographs of places such as Soviet sanatoria, the United Nations headquarters and the Pentagon, aim to take us beyond these specific locations to the ideas that created them. Equally the pictures ask us to consider how the manmade space we habitually inhabit might, at a primordial level, also inhabit us.
To help bring this enquiry into sharper focus the exhibition pivots around two distinct phases of Oddy’s work. Alongside his earlier investigations of containing and at times coercive architectures, his more recent series, Concrete Spring, explores what might instead be described as an architecture of liberation. Created in the wake of the Arab Spring, the series is an in-depth examination of the post-independence legacy of celebrated Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in Algeria. By focusing on these remarkable and largely forgotten modernist masterpieces, Oddy’s aim in Concrete Spring has been to both identify and reanimate the emancipatory ambitions that have lain dormant in Niemeyer’s Algerian projects for decades.
All Oddy’s work seeks to bring to light the way the built environment plays a fundamental role in determining who we are. His striking, often large-scale depictions of politically charged spaces invite us to consider how no space can be considered neutral, and how different types of architecture might imply, or even produce, different types of people.