alexander james submerges 8 tonne floating cemetery in a dark tank of water
 
alexander james submerges 8 tonne floating cemetery in a dark tank of water
may 14, 2014

alexander james submerges 8 tonne floating cemetery in a dark tank of water

alexander james submerges 8 tonne floating cemetery in a dark tank of water
(above) ‘arcana II’, 2014
image © 2014 alexander james

 

 

 

 

photography, painting and sculpture marry in british artist alexander james‘ underwater compositions, which he submerges in a huge, dark tanks of purified water. for his latest installation, james has engaged in a dialogue with a russian space, working with local models, materials and artifacts for ‘distil ennui’, a recent exhibition at triumph gallery. figures of young, men, women, and children are captured floating freely within a veil of liquid in a controlled and intricately composed scene.

 


a short film projected from within the space
video courtesy of alexander james

 

 

 

the photographs are merely the documentary stage of each piece’s process: the labor-intensive practice involves creating submerged complex arrangements using natural materials and handmade items, and finally using a paintbrush on the surface tension of the water to add chroma and hue to the scene. containing the artificial landscape reservoirs of water, light is allowed to pass through, giving the resulting images a painterly appearance. the surface of the water becomes a canvas on which james can move a brush, briefly capturing the haunting and ephemeral moment in an intense state of depth and chiaroscuro. 

alexander james' 8 tonne floating cemetery is immersed in a dark water tank
‘fall of heratculus’, 2014
image © 2014 alexander james

 

 

 

‘the faces are covered over in ripples, they blur, sometimes they can’t be made out at all. the fabric of bright colors, in which the bodies of the individuals are wrapped, or the clothing of an indeterminate-romantic style in which they are dressed, under the water is made up of incredibly intricate, but always smooth, as in a slow-motion film, streaming folds and wrinkles. the continual and reciprocal shifting of lit and shadowed sections across the faces and bodies of the models, defined by the natural movement of underwater flows and eddies that can’t be made out by the naked eye, give the images a mysterious and enigmatic but genuinely painterly character that is stressed by the black, neutral background against which each figure stands out so effectively,’ andrey tolstoy, grandson of leo tolstoy describes of the project.

alexander-james'-8-tonne-floating-cemetery-is-immersed-in-a-dark-water-tank-designboom-03
‘lament in free fall’, 2014
image © 2014 alexander james

alexander james' 8 tonne floating cemetery is immersed in a dark water tank
‘mycenaean II’, 2014
image © 2014 alexander james

alexander james' 8 tonne floating cemetery is immersed in a dark water tank
‘scream’, 2014
image © 2014 alexander james

alexander james' 8 tonne floating cemetery is immersed in a dark water tank
‘torment’, 2014
image © 2014 alexander james

alexander james' 8 tonne floating cemetery is immersed in a dark water tank
‘jupiter’, 2014
image © 2014 alexander james

  • Nice work… but it looks like the David la Chapelle Great Flood work… so not really an new idea of art…

    Cosimo

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