Rosier Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works by the contemporary British artist James Dean Diamond from May 21 – August 18, 2019. Dreaming of Le Gibet features 27 large format black-and-white photographic pieces, curated by Samia Ashraf. Diamond’s interest in the progress of science and technology has led him to undertake his work as a sequence of analyses and inquiries. With this series, he continues his exploration of a lens-based photographic medium, to reconfigure the moment and expand the possibilities of the field. Dreaming of Le Gibet is a unique alternate reality that inspires and intrigues. This show marks the first time Rosier Gallery is showcasing the artist's work.
Dreaming of Le Gibet is a magical journey that unravels the mind at sleep. This hallucinatory body of work draws on the music of the French composer Joseph-Maurice Ravel (1875–1937) – in particular, his 1908 piano piece ‘Gaspard de la Nuit’ (‘The Keeper of the Night’). The inspiration lies with the temporal and formal innovations of Ravel’s second movement ‘Le Gibet’, which reveal a ‘nonlinearity, continuity and discontinuity’1, paralleling the obscure nature of dreams.
Using urban environs to illustrate a state of mind, the artwork oscillates between figuration and abstraction. In an age of digital manipulation, Diamond conceives the work ‘in camera’ with film and formal rigor, over a period of five years. Shooting in London and Paris with multiple exposures – up to 200 within a frame – structures, constructions, surfaces, space and scale are overlaid to extend time and make a unified composition.
This twilight state – Diamond’s most cinematic – is imbued with an ambiguity within which ethereal figures and unidentifiable buildings merge into an abstracted pictorial language. Diamond’s own dreams have triggered his fascination with the field of oneirology, the scientific study of dreams. Brain-mapping research suggests dreams contribute to the transference of the short-term memory, a day or a week into a long-term retention. From an unconscious state the brain awakens and permits the semiconscious to observe the collation, slicing and sequence of multiple scenes. Diamond’s visually complex vistas contemplate the uncertainty that pervades these fragmented images – and present a world where ‘time scintillates, and the dream is knowledge’2.
James Dean Diamond was born in Southampton, UK in 1968 and lives and works between London and Brighton. An earlier career as an electronics and mechanical engineer led James to embark upon a BA Photography at UAL, London College of Communication and graduate with an MA Fine Art from the University of Brighton. Diamond is currently engaged in a collaboration with academics from the University of Sussex’s Genome Damage and Stability Centre, part of the School of Life Sciences – and is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including a 3-year Polaroid Sponsorship Award for Innovation, University of the Arts London Student of the Year and Kodak prize. His work has been exhibited in Europe and New York City, as well as reviewed in LENSCRATCH, Elephant, Art in America, Creative Boom, ArtRabbit, Crime, Media & Culture, Contemporary, British Journal of Photography and many other publications.
1 Jessie Fillerup, ‘Eternity in Each Moment: Temporal Strategies in Ravel’s “Le Gibet”, ‘A journal of the society for music theory’ (MTO), Vol 19, No 1, March 2013
2 Paul Valéry, ‘Le Cimetière marin’ (The Graveyard by the sea), 1922, An Anthology by James R Lawler, edited by Jackson Mathews, Princeton University Press, 1977