Testament

2011 - 1998

Recently exhibited as part of Terre Vulnerabili 4/4
HangarBicocca, Milan


“For the last ten years Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey have been using grass as a living photographic medium. Conventional photography captures a present moment and in an instant turns it into the past. Photography sets up, in effect, not a perception of the being-there of an object… but a perception of its
having-been-there. Ackroyd and Harvey’s photography, on the other hand, is without closure.

Exploiting the light-sensitivity of young growing grass, they imprint photographic images on to grass grown vertically, so that the image is on the length of the blade, rather than dispersed over the tips. As the grass grows, the image becomes sharper. The further away you stand from the image, the higher the
resolution – the more distinct it is. But time is, of course, embedded in the fragility of these chlorophyll apparitions. We know that the image will fade, the grass will yellow and die. The gradual disappearance of the image from vision, memory, life, is implicit in what we are looking at. Ackroyd and Harvey are
giving photography a performative charge. As Peggy Phelan has pointed out, performance is about disappearance rather than preservation. Performance plunges momentarily into visibility in a maniacally charged present and disappears into memory. Ackroyd and Harvey’s work is a potent evocation of presence and presentness. It briefly delays the passing present but eventually both medium and representation mimic their subject and fade away…”

Read the full essay Passing Presence by Tracey Warr

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