Visions From The Shoreline: Alexander James Hamilton

14 May - 10 June 2018

Dellasposa is honoured to present ‘Visions from the Shoreline’, with new series of unique works by international artist Alexander James.  The exhibition serves as a timely and poetic testament to the vitality of our environment and its importance in our cultural life. 


Alexander James has developed a unique process and has gained a reputation as one of the most visionary photographers working today. The exhibition will showcase unique photograms and illuminated pieces from his ongoing series 'Texts and Textures from the Shoreline'; an endeavour the artist has embarked upon to draw attention to the diminishing sea levels and destructive force of pollution in the Maldives. 


For over thirty years, British artist and photographer Alexander James has skilfully composed sculptural scenes from beautifully crafted materials through his studio and location-based practices. Conveying his philosophy of ‘in-camera purity’, James explores each piece in relation painting with light through the alchemy of water by distinctively combining photography, sculpture and painting into one singular, unique image.


James' new series of unique illuminated photograms celebrates his longstanding medium of water, exploring its interaction with light while revealing the tension between the beauty and danger of nature.  This time, the artist has eschewed his camera altogether by employing the early photographic technique of the photogram to create evocative and enigmatic images that explore the complexity and transience of life. 


Adrift at sea, James created striking compositions through the exposure of light by overlaying found objects - retrieved from the shoreline and coral reefs - onto transparency plates. The photogram is the direct result of exposing the image by moonlight and the light of the setting sun; an evolving and unpredictable process that is just a compelling in its visual language as it is in the final work of art. 


Pure alchemy transpires as the moonlight of our world reflects in the burnishing red light emanating from the image before us. By 'drawing with light' Alexander James' photograms use 'light as a creative agent,' embodying the medium's essence and allowing the photographer to create something never-before-seen, as opposed to merely reproducing the world. The association of James' practice with the medium's most famous proponent, Man Ray, is not lost - encountering his art has indeed been described by the New York Times as 'like Man Ray meeting Jet Lee'. 


The way that we view photographs has profoundly altered over the last decade as digital technologies have severed the connection between the image and our experience of the external world. In the hands of Alexander James, the process has conceptually transformed the medium by conveying the photogram as being less about the presence of objects as their absences. Burning lights steeped in red of these works signify a beacon warning to the diminishing state of our planet. The shadowy traces of detritus found in the vast ocean evoke the transitory nature of time and question the materiality of life.


Working with the landscape of the Maldives, (while ensuring that no footprint is left behind in his artistic endeavour), the artist explored the polarity of creation and destruction imbued within his works, which is indeed central to our disappearing world. ‘It allows the environment itself to provide the materials and enable the process', says Alexander James, 'resulting in unique environmental collaborations with water as a recurring exploratory medium.’ 


These works encapsulate the tensions between man and nature behind the exhibition.  ‘There is a macabre dichotomy that the destructive pollution I collected by free diving the waters can create images so hauntingly beautiful,’ commented James.  ‘Contemporary art often tries to shock us; it seems to forget that the greatest art has to be beautiful and convey a message after it has hung on the wall. Nature is danger and beauty intertwined in a never-ending dance, but humanity’s survival at this dance hall is unsure as we pollute our environment and threaten every wild species on the planet, through careless behaviour and reckless growth.’


We look forward to welcoming you to the exhibition and invite you to enjoy the sight of these works of art, on view for a limited time.