This exhibition of the work of artist Naglaa Walker coincides and compliments the joint exhibition ‘Made in Britain’ – Contemporary British Photography, also curated by hug Gallery’s Director Addie Vassie (which includes Walker’s photographic and video work) is scheduled at both The Huis Marseille, Foundation for Photography and Foam, Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam – which runs until 29th May 2005.
Naglaa Walker didn’t start out as an artist. In 1992 she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics whilst working as a Nuclear Particle Researcher with the University of Manchester Research Team. For the six years following that, she was a Market Trader in the City of London.
However, in 2003 London-based Walker graduated with Distinction and a Masters Degree in Fine Art from the Royal College of Art. She draws on her physics background, using photography and video to enable the viewer to make connections between the abstraction of physical laws and the reality of experience.
Walker’s photographic work presents an alternative to the way in which we interact with spaces that are apparently already ‘known’ or categorised. It also provides the observer with an opportunity to re-evaluate the roles of the people who operate within those spaces, both physically and hierarchically.
Central to this exhibition is a series of photographic diptychs, which juxtapose constructed blackboard images of chalked equations with carefully staged photographic images of people - for example, human emotional behaviour such as kissing or arguing is paired with a graphic physical law. The use of the painted-then-photographed blackboard references its object-ness as synonymous with knowledge, and raises questions about the ‘fixing’ of our knowledge system; whilst in the corresponding image clarification is offered via the performative, where the viewer invited to make connections between a physical law and an image, suggested by people enacting the roles of planets, electrons and other sub-atomic particles.
These highly emotive diptychs are complimented by sharply but understated coloured still lifes taken within the arena of physics laboratories and lecture theatres creating a whole profile of the science.
“Walker gives the work a tone that implies that interpretation is exactly what it is all about, and yet there is still something going on that cannot be fully understood. A sort of chaos emerges, from out of a sub-titled world which brings disparate elements to the same artistic place, and this seems to interfere with the very structures of perception.’ – Sacha Craddock, Physical Moment, 2004
In 2002 Walker took up a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France, which was followed by a second residency in 2003 at the Sweeney Granite Mountains Research Center in California, USA. Both residences concluded with exhibitions. She won the Jerwood Photography Award, in 2003, which resulted in a successful travelling exhibition around the UK. In October 2004, Walker launched her first solo publication – On Physics, published by Dewi Lewis Publishing. She has also exhibited in Switzerland, widely in the UK, and this will be her first solo exhibition in The Netherlands.
All work is available for purchase.
Curated by Addie Vassie