Dan Holdsworth: Spatial Objects

Date: 9 May to 31 August 2015
Venue: Southampton City Art Gallery

British photographer Dan Holdsworth (b. 1974) explores the relationship between landscape photography, science and technology. From the 1990s to 2010, Holdsworth’s work including A Machine for Living (2000) explored the ways in which nature, architecture and technology operate within landscape. Most recently, his work has become an investigation into both real and virtual representations of the geological landscape. However, despite being deeply informed by the uses and applications of the newest technologies, Holdsworth’s work refers openly to the history and tradition of landscape photography.

This exhibition presents Holdsworth’s latest series, Spatial Objects (2015), alongside some of his most significant bodies of work from the past five years. Blackout (2010), and Transmission: New Remote Earth Views (2012), marked the beginning of Holdsworth’s investigations into the interface between analogue and digital forms/processes, and the geological and technological world, through the use of Geological Survey Data.

Shown here for the first time, Spatial Objects is the result of Holdsworth’s ongoing enquiry into contemporary photographic processes, and what he calls the ‘surface interface of the image’ within today’s digital, media-saturated visual culture. In computer science, ‘spatial objects’ refer to values that exist within a specific place simultaneously in the real and the virtual spheres. As in Holdsworth’s Transmission, the starting point for Spatial Objects is geological mapping data of the American West. But while in Transmission the resulting images echoed both nineteenth-century and ‘new-topographic’ photographic languages, Spatial Objects draws on the vocabulary of Minimalist sculptural practices of the 1960s and 1970s. Holdsworth transposes aerially scanned scientific data of geological landscapes into 3D virtual models, working deep within the material to explore the architecture of the virtual. Going beyond the limits of representation, what we see in these works are the edges and fragments of the pixel resolved within the geometry of the interface itself, transformed into forms of pure colour and light.

Born in Welwyn Garden City, UK, in 1974, Dan Holdsworth studied photography at the London College of Printing in London. Exploring the intersection between art and science, Holdsworth has been working since 2010 in collaboration with the Northumbria University department of Geology. His work has been featured in international solo and group exhibitions worldwide, including the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris) Tate (London). His work is held in major international public and private collections including Tate (London), Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Mumok (Vienna) and the Goetz Collection (Munich).