Photography is both the document and the point of resolution in the creative odyssey for young, London-based artist Tom Lovelace.
Largely, but not exclusively, Lovelace orchestrates spatial and sculptural installations, which are often presented in galleries, or as photographs of objects in gallery contexts. They show images of feet precariously perched on makeshift yet elegant floor-based sculptures or views of solitary columns, either with or without the artist perched atop, dandy shoes and all.
Lurking quietly, propped up in the corner or hung on the wall, they allude to an action that has taken place in the exact same space the viewer stands in. They are records of performance pieces enacted for the camera. Yet, given their dual function, they also serve as the artwork itself. The artist’s subsequent publication, Work Starts Here, taps into, or rather is born out of, this trajectory of the image.
Within its pages, Lovelace presents recurated and repeated versions of the original exhibition display from Son Gallery in London, 2012, arguably his most visually dynamic rehearsals to date. To this end, it’s an elusive and at the same time obvious convergence between the action, related structures, context and photographic counterpart.
In an accompanying text at the centre of the book, Kyla McDonald, Head of Programme at Glasgow Sculpture Studios, follows the unbroken link between artists Robert Morris, Jan Verwoert and Bruce McLean and the work of Lovelace, arriving at the conclusion that the specific relationship between real-time experience and exhibition formats is what marks out Work Starts Here.
‘If the artist re-photographs the gallery again, creating a further layer and places it in a new type of space, such as a book,” she says, “then the real-time experience shifts and the hierarchy is compressed: the document is no longer weak. It has become the real-time experience.”
Yet while Lovelace investigates the conditions and concerns of temporality, this is a far from dry academic exercise. Pleasure is present, with anarchic energy, and these images reveal an alternative view of constructed photography while at the same time offering a strange reversal or mash up of the dynamics between artwork, physical presence and audience. His is a layered and multifaceted approach to manufacturing the ephemeral.