The Ravestijn Gallery presents the works of Darren Harvey-Regan, a photographer interested in the concept that photographs do not exist just to show things, but are physical things that become objects themselves.
In 1955, Fortune magazine published, ‘Beauties of the Common Tool’, a portfolio by Walker Evans featuring pictures of ordinary hand-made tools, such as a ratchet wrench and a pair of scissors.
Harvey-Regan first constructed a montage of Evans’s images to make new forms. He then sourced matching tools, cut them in half and re-joined various halves together, with the resulting physical objects being photographed to create his final work. The montaged tools become both beautiful and bizarre objects, in which a ratchet wrench is combined with a pair of pliers and a Mason’s trowel joined with a pair of scissors.
Harvey-Regan finds photography that photographs objects – whilst in itself being an object – interesting as a concept. “It’s a means of transposing material into other material, adding new meaning or thoughts in the process. I think photographing materials is a way to consider the means of creating meaning, and it’s a tactile process with which I feel involved. Touching and moving and making are my engagement with the world and my art”.
Further illustrations in the exhibition include ‘The Halt’ in which a real axe pins the photograph to the wall, and ‘When is an image Not an image’, in which a trompe l’oeil effect occurs: an image comprised of surfaces and shadows is mounted on a block, two sides of which have a 45 degree outward bevel, meaning they are easily viewed, whilst the positioning of a spot-light on an adjacent wall creates a shadow on the remaining sides, thus completing the work’s ‘frame’.
On initial viewing, one may consider the works to be surrealistic, but Harvey-Regan refers to the works as ‘phrasings’, “different versions of a visual question or proposition”. He further elaborates: “If you take, ‘what happens if’…” as the beginning of the exhibition’s question, then the works explore how that question ends, by using the elements of the photographic material, the image, and the original object and shuffling these three around, giving different emphasis to each, in which each has a different phrasing”.