press release

Houldsworth is pleased to present a new photographic installation by the internationally acclaimed Scottish artists Dalziel + Scullion. The Measures will be the artists' first London exhibition since their concurrent solo shows at the National Museum of Film, Photography and Television, Bradford and the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow. Taking a deliberately scientific approach to photographing the natural world the artists investigate the subtle nuances of life, and the botany and geology that create 'landscape'. Displayed on 150cm x 122cm lightboxes, the photographs become almost sculptural, confronting the viewer with their visceral presence. The vibrancy and detail of these images offer a moment that is akin to the revelation of scientific enlightenment. The effect of the light emanating from the glistening leaves and damp moss creates the intensity of the scientist at the microscope. The Measures , at once hypnotic and captivating, collapses the romantic notions of nature, articulating landscape as something utterly urgent and real.

In making this work the artists collaborated with the botanist and plant ecologist Dr Hugh Ingram with whom they visited locations of scientific importance, examining sites such as limestone plateaux, peat bogs, rock pools and ancient pinewoods. Rather than capturing romantic vistas in the 'golden hours' of dawn and dusk, forests and rocks are illuminated by the midday light. The Measures presents images that are selected for their extreme botanical complexity, where the subtle quantities and qualities of water, light, and soil-bound nutrients permit a unique environment to occur. Each image oozes with a life force that has an essential and fragile balance, a force where human beings are muted and detached.

Dalziel + Scullion suggest that their concerns are not with landscape as symbolism or metaphor but with the deeper reality of the natural world. In this reality a complex choreography of interactions between ecology, geography, weather systems and a vast expanse of time is scrutinised. Dalziel + Scullion observe a truth about landscape that compels us to reposition ourselves in relation to nature.

Dalziel + Scullion are Fine Art Research Fellows at The University of Dundee. Since appearing in Young British Artists at the Venice Biennale, they have shown at CCA, Glasgow and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, in 1997 at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and in 2000 in the British Art Show at the Hayward. In 2002 the Public Art Fund, New York exhibited their work in Madison Square Park with Dan Graham and Mark Dion. They recently showed an outdoor projection in Austria as part of Am Polylog Project, and were also part of the International Video-Art Biennale in Tel Aviv, Israel. They had a solo exhibition in 2001 at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and in 2002-2003 their solo show Home toured to the Fruitmarket, Edinburgh, Milton Keynes Gallery, and Manchester Art Gallery. Their solo exhibitions Genus and Storm recently finished at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford and the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow respectively. They have also recently exhibited in Frozen at Site Gallery, Sheffield, Cold Explosion in Foggia, Italy, Summer in the City at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York and in Forest at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Works are included in collections of the Arts Council, British Council, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Crafts Council and the Science Museum.

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Matthew Dalziel + Louise Scullion