Autopsy

BATEMAN, Roger, ed. (2016). Autopsy. Sheffield, Sheffield Institute of Arts.

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Abstract

The work India Hobson has produced for ‘Autopsy’ is arresting for several reasons and on a number of different levels. India is a wonderfully good photographer, her images revelling in colour, observation and detail, in light, contrast and fantasy; it isn’t surprising that her work is in great demand today. India makes images like a painter: her still-lives of the Head Post Office are hugely revealing and capture in stark reality the naked, dilapidated beauty of what was once a jewel in Sheffield’s crown. Many have wondered just what the inside of building looked like since its abandonment in 1999, so it was important for India to be an empathic photographer respecting her surroundings, her audience and her craft. To autopsy the building she has wandered the corridors, rooms and staircases searching for just the right positions from which to make her pictures, which then place us at the centre of her exploration. The results are are deeply voyeuristic: she takes us into parts that were broken or barricaded, parts that only pigeons could visit and parts that we will never see again. She reveals the mending of a structure, the piecing together of components and spaces, the evidence of people long gone and the intrusion of the reconstruction. The images that you see in the exhibition and the supporting publication are just a few from the thousands that India has taken of the refurbishment. The selection was a painstaking process that demanded strict focus from all involved; without such discipline we would have been lost in endless conversations about each image and pacing up and down retracing India’s steps looking for where she stool when the images were taken. The photographs have been placed into four broad stages that relate to the visits India made to the building before, during and after the refurbishment. Images from all stages are reproduced in the publication which has been designed by Dust Collective under the direction of Ashleigh Armitage with the assistance of Sheffield Institute of Arts intern Gemma Milne. The original hand drawn and coloured architectural drawings for the Head Post office were tracked down to the National Archive in Kew, some of which feature here. Artist, writer and researcher Jo Lee has written the opening essay for which I am most grateful. Jo’s rich narrative style and her interest in the transformation of post industrial sites and how places ‘lie in-between use’ fits perfectly with the objectives of ‘Autopsy’.

Item Type: Edited Book
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Depositing User: Roger Bateman
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2017 13:44
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2017 13:44
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14345

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