GINA GLOVER – PLAYGROUNDS OF WAR
Private View: Friday 10th February 7:30pm
Artist talk: Saturday 18th February 3:00pm
Exhibition: Saturday 11th February – Saturday 3rd March 2012, Mon – Sat, 12 – 6pm
Gina Glover's photographs deal with the monumental and emotional detritus of abandoned military bases, drawing upon Gina's own childhood memories and her personal sense of vulnerability in the face of threatened military force. Playgrounds of War presents the aesthetics of past wars, avoided wars and possible wars.
As a child in the English Midlands in the 1950's Glover travelled by pony and trap to Harrington in Northamptonshire, little knowing that it was a deserted former secret WWII airbase, converted to a nuclear missile base in the 1960s. Three decades later she began photographing this site. Since beginning the project, Glover has travelled to collapsing bunkers along the Moray Firth and explored missile targets in the Baltic States and in Germany. In accompanying her on her travels we begin to comprehend not only the massive destructive potential of these places and how they have succumbed to the corrosion of time, weather and nature.
Playgrounds of War illustrates Glover's changing photographic practice over more than two decades. These photographs range from harsh black and white toned pictures taken in the 1980s, some depicting a small child lost against foreboding concrete structures, to surreal-like colour pinhole photographs. In these, using long exposures and layered light, a clouded sky has the seeming capacity to dislodge massive concrete monuments. Glover's scanograms bring to the viewer the amateur’s efforts in the archaeology of such places, presenting bits of bomber aircraft, war kit, shells, bottles, images and objects.
Also included in this exhibition is Glover’s film Men of Air, a collaboration with the musician and designer Andy West. This film features the strange encounter between a farmer and ghostly presences of airmen on a secret WWII aerodrome in Northamptonshire. The film is based on recollections of his story by people living there. The star of the film is local farm worker Roy Leaning.
In the spring of 1968, I was ploughing in an area of Harrington Airfield and as I was just finishing up for the day I dropped the plough and suddenly had the feeling of being watched. I turned and looked back and to the right I saw a group of ten or twelve individuals, standing about 150 to 200 feet away, all dressed in full flying gear, one wearing a peaked cap, one with a torn flight jacket, several with flying boots unzipped. They exuded a sense of happiness rather than sadness. I got off the tractor to better observe, but the flyers had disappeared. - Roy Leaning, extract from the book ‘Airfield Focus’ by John Smith
Is the ghost story true? Who can tell? What might appear in the mind’s eye as the truth can, with the passage of time, get changed, passed around and distorted. What we imagine becomes part of local lore.
Born in London, Gina Glover is a co-founder and Director of the Photofusion Photography Centre, London. In 2008 Glover received the Royal Photographic Society's Hood Medal, and she has been twice winner of the Medical Research Council/Novartis/Daily Telegraph Visions of Science Award.
Playgrounds of War is a touring exhibition, shown in places as far apart as Glasgow and Guangdong (China). In June 2012 it will be shown at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, in collaboration with the European Council.
In October 2012, the exhibition moves to the Alfred East Gallery in Kettering, Northamptonshire.