John Hansard Gallery is delighted to present DUALITY, a new exhibition by Adam Barker-Mill.
“Obviously it is all about light. Light is the very essence of cinematography and light is the main material of my current work”
Adam Barker-Mill interviewed by Adrian Dannatt for MUBI, 2021
Adam Barker-Mill (b.1940, Wookey Hole, Somerset) started his career in filmmaking before devoting himself to his art practice in the early 1980s. As a highly respected cinematographer, Barker-Mill worked with a number of notable filmmakers throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He had long collaborations with the directors James Scott, known for A Shocking Accident, (Oscar winner for Best Short Film of 1983) and Barney Platts-Mills known for Bronco Bullfrog (1970) and Private Road (1971).
A fascination with light has been a constant focus throughout his career. The illumination of the local Mendip caves was an early inspiration. He has always been intrigued by the mechanics and workings of cinematic equipment, and has taken advantage of developments in technology (from the humble light bulb to tungsten-halogen to LED). The constantly moving and changing light source that is the sun has also played a significant role in his work: “My understanding of how to use light comes out of that formative cinematographic experience – however different the end result”.
For the exhibition DUALITY, Barker-Mill has brought together the filmic and the sculptural. The film work Magnum Opus Part 1 comprises sequences of videos recorded on his iPhone and Sony Camcorder between 2004 and 2021. The iPhone now allows anyone to become the “fly-on-the-wall” observer that is at the core of the British documentary film.
We are taken on a seemingly random voyage through Barker-Mill’s personal “take” on the world – subjects as varied as canal life in Venice, Southampton Station, “Picture” installed in an empty Aberdeen shop window, workmen pouring “Traffic Yellow” paint, an exploding lemon. The film echoes the experience we all have of personal moments and memories…
The new light sculpture FLOW is a culmination of the light works that Barker-Mill has been developing since the early 1980s. A changing cycle of eleven colours (including black) creates a mesmerising flow of slowly evolving colour combinations. The work runs to 57 minutes, by which point all possible colour permutations have been seen. The cycle then returns to the start.
DUALITY is presented by John Hansard Gallery in partnership with City Eye as part of Southampton Film Week 2021.