Philip Napier Void Gallery exhibition photos

Philip Napier

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Curated by Conor McFeely


In this passage I would like to make some connections linking this body of work to the geneology of its own discipline and to this place and time.

Arguably the terror of a security vernacular has been swept away by a new culture of consumption, currency differential and centuries of prevailing economic ill wind of debility. A kind of chronic terror then.

English Emily the voice on my sat nav. does not like it when you have left the highlighted route. She struggles a bit with the pronunciation of places here also. The effort of aquiring satellites to locate the Global Positioning System is to be in touch, located and to know where you are. However in terms of discovery to be beyond the known or highlighted route seems an interesting place for thought and action.

In this work in Void I am interested in exploring a creative condition between known co ordinates, by using the lever of the 1845 Franklin expedition which voyaged to the Canadian Arctic in an ultimately doomed attempt to discover the North West Passage linking Europe to China. That expedition became frozen in the arctic tundra and endured a slow descent from debility and dementia into privation, terror, death and hell. The fate of HMS Terror and HMS Erebus, bombships conveted for exploration, became a Victorian cause celebre. English Emily the sat nav voice would have approved of the derring – do but not the ultimate cannabalism.

In our contemporary condition of global warming, The North West Passage is now beginning to open as a marine superhighway where the logic of economy is forefront, as power in the world shifts East. There is a conspicuous scrample for sovereignty in the ‘high north’. Thus by searching for and locating the wreck of the Terror, Canada underwrites its arctic claims, – more for hard edged economic advantage than as a space of the romantic imagination.