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The Gallery at Hermès presents an exhibition of work by conceptual artist Sharon Harper, exploring perception, technology and the night sky. Combining scientific rigour with an ambitious, artistic vision, Harper's experimental photographs force us to look afresh at our own environment.
Sharon Harper's photographs show us things that would otherwise escape our notice: the movement of stars and the trajectories of the moon. Providing empirical evidence of these celestial phenomena— while capturing their essential poetry — requires a highly technical but still-creative approach. The exhibition From Above and Below presents eleven large-format photographs. Cory Jacobs, curator at The Gallery at Hermès, has created a graphic, minimalist hanging highlighting each image, as part of three distinct series created between 2003 and 2010.
Sharon Harper harnesses technology to access things we would never otherwise be able to capture and see. Paradoxically, her use of the photographic medium in no way distances us from the terrestrial, natural world: on the contrary, it enhances our relationship to our environment. In the series Moon Studies and Star Scratches, the artist employs multiple exposures on one sheet of film over days, weeks, even months, to trace the trajectory of both the moon and stars. The result is a dizzying representation of time itself, where light years are echoed in just a few centimetres.
The same, deliberate 'slow photography' is used for One Month, Weather Permitting: a month-long chronicle of the sky, traversed by clouds, bursts of light, and the haze of pollution. Again, long and multiple exposures present the broad arc of the sky, alive with movement.
The third series, Sun/Moon (Trying to See through a Telescope), presents a montage of images of the moon and sun, taken with a digital camera fixed to a telescope: the distortion due to the use of both instruments reminds us that our own perception of distant celestial bodies is inevitably conditioned by technology.