In Clive Gillman’s evocative twin-screen installation, the light-seeking properties of the heliotrope flower (named for its tendency to follow the sun) act as a metaphor for the human pursuit of illumination. Combining large-scale video projections with interactive touch-screen components, the piece incorporates fragmentary reminiscences by the French/Algerian author Albert Camus – all pervaded by the fever and passion of their radiant Mediterranean setting – alongside iconic images of natural plenitude and numinous power. The Camus quotes are unravelled, like word-search puzzles, from an overlapping palimpsest of text – the intricate labour of their explication slowly completed as the image of a rising and setting sun marks the passage of time, casting this scrabbling for knowledge into stark relief. Punctuating this restless, almost tactile spirit of enquiry with moments of stillness and contemplation, Heliotrope is a paean to the virtues and vicissitudes of human nature and, in its skillful reconciliation of diffuse elements, Gillman’s most elegantly realised work.
Cartwright Hall, Bradford; 1 October – 1 December 1998
Artezium, Luton: 1 March – 1 April 1999
A Film and Video Umbrella Touring Exhibition in association with Cartwright Hall, Bradford. Supported by the Arts Council of England, Bradford City Council and Photo ‘98.