The Last Stand

EXHIBITION BY MARC WILSON
1 – 15 August 2017

2010 – 2014

Between 2010 and 2014, I photographed the images that make up The Last Stand. This piece of work aims to reflect the histories and stories military conflict and the memories held in the landscape itself. The series is made up of 86 images and is documenting some of the physical remnants of the Second World War on the coastlines of the British Isles and Northern Europe, focusing on military defence structures that remain and their place in the shifting landscape that surrounds them. Many of these locations are no longer in sight, either subsumed or submerged by the changing sands and waters or by more human intervention. At the same time others have re-emerged from their shrouds.

Over the four years I travelled 23,000 miles to 143 locations to capture these images along the coastlines of the UK, The Channel Islands, Northern & Western France, Denmark, Belgium and Norway.

It’s large format work and it’s quite beautiful (Paul Virilio’s Bunker Archaeology may be the most recognised photography of sea defences but that’s a different kind of book). Everything is shot in subdued diffused light, the pre-dawn it looks like much of the time, and the way in which the different defences merge and crumble into the landscape of which they are now part… The Last Stand is as multilayered as the landscapes which it features; there’s historical detail wrapped folded over into a chronotopia of functional brutalism, mixed with local touches that feeds into the geological, panoramic and tactical.

All the boxes are ticked in Robert Adams traditional landscape list: there’s geography, autobiography, and metaphor. But on top of that, Wilson gives us a politicised view of landscape and power that ties back to survey photography of Timothy O’Sullivan and the work of Mitch Epstein. Layered into that is an Arcadian vision. With its focus on Northern Europe it’s a dystopian Arcadia; there is a pagan feel to Wilson’s pictures, a syncretic vision where geology, flora, climate and war find a single expression. And it’s beautiful.

Colin Pantell

 

MARC WILSON

Born in London, 1968. Now living in Bath, England. Marc Wilson’s photography documents the memories, histories and stories that are set in the landscapes that surround us.

Marc works on long term documentary projects, such as his recent work ‘The Last Stand’ and his current work, ‘A wounded landscape’. Whilst his previous work focussed primarily on the landscape itself, and the objects found on and within, his current work combines, landscape, documentary, portrait and still life, along with audio recordings of interviews and sounds, to portray the mass sprawling web of the histories and stories he is retelling.

His work was one of the winners at The Terry O’Neill award in 2013 and ‘The Last Stand’ was published as a book in late 2014. It has sold out of its 1st edition by early 2015 and a 2nd edition has now been published.

Solo exhibitions include those at The Royal Armouries Museum, Focal point Gallery and The Anise Gallery, London. Group shows include those at The Photographers Gallery and the Association of Photographers gallery, London and the Athens Photo Festival, 2015.

His work has been published in journals and magazines ranging from The British Journal of Photography and Raw Magazine to Wired and Dezeen.

MARCWILSON.CO.UK

 

 

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