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"The Metal Mirror Coin Photography by Stephen Sack"
1999-10-05 until 1999-12-05
British Museum
London, , UK United Kingdom

The Metal Mirror Coin Photography by Stephen Sack Supported by the American Friends of the British Museum, the British Museum Society and the Royal Numismatic Society 5 October-5 December 1999 Room 69a Admission free Stephen Sack was born in New Jersey (USA) in 1955 and for the last twenty years has lived and worked in Brussels. His work has been widely exhibited in Europe and America and is included in many public and private collections, including the Bibliothèque Nationale and the Musée Carnavalet, Paris, the Whitney Museum of Art and the Chase Manhattan Bank Art Collection, New York, the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp and the Collection Banque Bruxelles Lambert, Brussels. Since 1983, Sack has worked on several distinct series of photographic images, collectively called the Chromosomic Memory.

Often using macro photography and sophisticated lighting techniques he has investigated tombstone inscriptions, gargoyles, coins, the reverse sides of engravings, medieval clocks and stereographs (a form of 19th century photograph), delivering a body of work that explores ideas of dream, fantasy and myth. All the objects he photographs are transformed through the processes of time and deterioration to create images rich in suggestion, where the final image, 'is an outcome of the process of symbolic understanding, remembering and recognition.'

In this exhibition the artist returns to the subject of coins, a theme that has fascinated him for many years, to produce a series of challenging new works largely derived from the numismatic collections of the British Museum and the Cabinet des Médailles in Brussels. The photographs themselves are the result of an eighteen month collaboration between the Department of Coins and Medals and the artist. Sack has worked closely with the curatorial staff, in the department exploring cabinets full of coins, many of which may be of relatively little interest to the expert numismatist because of their poor condition, but which under the lens of the artist's camera are transformed to reveal, images of phantom- like figures, mythical beasts and shadowy architecture - all suggestive of a lost and ancient world. This is an impressive new approach to the subject of numismatics and brings a new level of understanding to these familiar, everyday objects. A 24 plate full-colour catalogue accompanies the exhibition as well as a series of educational events involving the artist. For further information on these events please contact 020-7323 8852/8510 or e-mail educ@british-museum.ac.uk


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