Matthew Buckingham: Image of Absalon to Be Projected Until it Vanishes
6 February–6 April 2008
What separates the firm document from what history randomly will preserve? What remains of a story when first hand accounts and visual representation is no longer imminent? The works of Matthew Buckingham (born 1963, Nevada, Iowa) reveals an interest in the construction of historical reality, and how genres like film and literature connect to notions of history and its underlying narratives. Here, such conceptions are put under scrutiny and given a visual representation, whilst narrative structures are made meaningful by elements of voice-over.
In the artist’s solo exhibition at Index, Buckingham juxtaposes Image of Absalon to Be Projected Until it Vanishes (2001) and False Future (2007), two works addressing ideas of historical presence versus the non-appearance. False Future, a 16 mm film installation tells the story of Louis Le Prince, the French inventor who, after his technological invention consisting of an eight-lens camera, mysteriously disappears after stepping onto a train in 1890. Was the surviving footage of the protagonist’s 1888 film photographic experiment, a split-second showing horses, carts and pedestrians crossing Leeds Bridge an ambition to record moving images? With Buckingham’s returning to the historical site and his recreation of the motive, it becomes a ten-minute cinematic short story which seeks to unearth a forgotten or lost story hidden beneath its archival surface.
Buckingham’s slide piece Image of Absalon to Be Projected Until it Vanishes portrays the statue of Copenhagen’s mythical founder Absalon towards a wide-open sky – shot from behind, almost disappearing and out of frame. The fact that the slide is slowly fading away due to the heat of the projected light contributes to the work’s transitional nature -an image and a legend returning to point zero where meaning has to be rediscovered.
Matthew Buckingham received his B.A. in film production and film studies from the University of Iowa in 1988, and in 1996 he completed an M.F.A. at Bard College. In 1997, he participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York.