Camilla Grimaldi is delighted to present Sophy Rickett's most recent body of work, Objects in the Field. Made during her time as Artist Associate at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Objects in the Field develops the artist's interest in exploring how light and darkness define and articulate our relationship to space.
Rickett examines the legacy of some now obsolete astrophysical research conducted in the 1980s, and constructs or re-imagines a set of different narrative voices that are at times contradictory, or at odds with each other
Appropriating the lexicon used by astronomers and astrophysicists that refers to stars as ‘objects' and to the sky as ‘the field', Objects in the Field consists of several series of photographs, a monitor based video and an essay published in a supporting booklet. Each work reflects upon the artist's encounter with Dr Roderick Willstrop, a retired astronomer physicist, associated with the Institute of Astronomy since 1965.
The exhibition includes several works from the Observations series, where Rickett has appropriated a number of Dr Willstrop's abandoned negatives, reprinting them by hand using the analogue process and altering them through her own subjective and aesthetic decisions. The resulting works subvert the images' original scientific purpose and at the same time act as a retrieval, or ‘rescue' of the archive, in an intriguing and provocative confrontation of scientific and artistic endeavours.
Rickett is interested in the process of de-accessioning and the advancement of obsolescence. She uses the project to explore ideas around how meaning and interpretation can be fluid and contestable. The project tests the border between collaboration and appropriation, and explores ways of blurring the boundaries between them.
The 2000 word essay, a factual description of Rickett's encounter with Dr Willstrop, is inflected with more subjective impressions and memories from her childhood connected to optics, seeing, and the fleeting nature of the encounter.
Objects in the Field is an expanded version of the exhibition that was first shown at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge in 2013. In June 2014, it tours to the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford for a three-month run. Two of the works from the Observations series will be on show at the Discoveries exhibition, co-curated by Martin Caiger-Smith, at Two Temple Place, London from 31st January - 27th April 2014.
Objects in the Field is supported by the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge.
The Artist Associateship programme at the Institute of Astronomy is conceived and organised by Barry Phipps.