Exhibition：As If I Was A River
by Dinu Li
Touring Exhibition of commissioned photographs and new media piece based on the Irwell. The exhibition made an important connection between gallery spaces and an external collection of public art in the Irwell Sculpture Trail. Rivers are used as a metaphor for life and also a catalyst of change. The exhibition was commissioned to encompass the renewed importance of waterways and by doing so becomes a real and imaginative, a strongly artist-influenced ‘window’ of access into the character of contemporary Britain. The ethos of this public art commission is to use art as a tool to enable the public to interpret their landscape and have the confidence to explore their environment.
The photographs follow its male protagonist, caught in a highly charged dreamlike sequence as he sets off on a wandering voyage that examines the wages of fear and dignified sentimentality. Traversing urban landscapes and country scenes, the main character returns periodically to a river, as if to recall the whisperings of buried histories. At times in a state of trance, the central character appears to seek atonement.
The video installation depicts one scene within a river’s journey from source to sea. As the changing seasons unfold before us we realise the river is a constant. A flash flood takes place and then subsides to a tranquil pace again. Rivers are elemental and it is this that attracts us to them. Contained within a 10-minute loop, the sequence slowly unfolds a transforming landscape as it passes from one season to the next, caught in a transitory moment in time.
Immaculate Drowning by Greg Leach
is a short story that is not an interpretation of the photographs but an alternative journey offered as a different experience.