18 Nov - 16 Dec 2009
WARREN VANCE | Voyage Imaginaire
Artist Statement, 2009
On a recent trip to London I discovered a group of topographical prints in the bottom of a large mahogany print drawer in a dusty old antiquarian print shop. These were quite a phenomena in the 18thcentury for expanding the world as it was known at that time.
These prints, viewed through a viewing lens or in travelling itinerants peep boxes at fairs, provided the first visible appearance of foreign cities, monumental architecture, palaces, promenades, churches, great events and festivals. It was a technology that gave people the chance to see the world without leaving their own villages. Ironically printmakers that most likely had not visited these far distant lands, yet had copied this information from pre-existent visual sources such as earlier paintings etched them. In London homes such prints became a window to a wider world.
Occasionally these prints were formatted with a day / night cinematic effect and the experience struck me as rather phantasmagorical and surreal for its day. I have applied these techniques to re-enact my own ramble of fact and fantasy, of imaginary travel through foreign cities, hoping to revive the intoxication of travel and magic of cities at night and the context of “other”. Metaphorically this reflects the poignant sensation that we are, yet again, on the cusp of another technological revolution that will expand our world.