Pah Homestead, TSB Wallace Trust, Auckland Festival of Photography 2019
F4 Collective have re-interpreted and combined the work of the Northland freelance photographer Tudor Collins in two inter-connected installations, in collaboration with composer Maree Sheehan. Additionally, Shaun Higgins, Pictorial Curator at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, adds to the exhibition the extraordinary story of the discovery and rescue of the vast body of work left behind by Tudor Collins.
Drawn together by a mutual fascination for the exquisite decay of Collin’s legacy of images on glass and film, the artists and Museum curator “collaborate” with the archive itself to create a narratives which draw on two themes in Collin’s work; imagery of kauri logging and his photographs of brides. The bridal portraits are heavily degraded; pocked, cracked and mouldy from the horrors of time. There is a sense of loss and passing, as we gaze through the defilement of the glass negatives that captured threshold moments, the figures merge redolent of human hope and expectation.
The innocence and anticipation expressed by the brides is bizarrely reflected in the images of plunder of the virgin forest which occupy the next room. A juxtaposition which highlights the aesthetic of dystopia and pathos created by photographic entropy. Sound and lyric enhance this aesthetic, suggesting the ecological and cultural fissure that underscore the tragedy of deforestation. The narrative is brought full circle by an image fused through time and entropy into a allegorical portrait of children turning to trees.