Vessels and Vestiges is an exhibition of chemically unfixed photographic prints by Swansea-based artist, Ryan L. Moule. Against the ubiquity of digital photography, these prints are concerned with an investigation of the medium of analogue photography.
Through the presentation of photographs in their unfixed state, Moule repositions the image away from it being an assumed signifier of certainty to one of uncertainty and fragility. Exposure of the photographic light-sensitive paper is slowed down by their presentation under UV filtered box frames, which mimic the red-light environment of the photographic darkroom. This leaves them in a process of becoming, as the images continue to subtly transform over a prolonged period of time. Through the decision to not complete the traditional printing process, Moule aims to oscillate focus between both the images as a form of representation and its material.
More broadly, Moule’s practice is concerned with challenging the authority of the visual image and their passive consumption. As a gesture, the chemical destabilisation of the photographic image is intended to reflect on their subjective nature. He is interested in interrogating how the lens is implicated in the production of various forms of realism that establish a sense of objective truth The physical changes that take place on the prints as a result of their unfixed condition are also a comment on how an image’s meaning itself changes in and over time.