Chris Bucklow
Notes d’après les Entretiens de Mark Haworth-Booth avec Christopher Bucklow (1957) le 1er février 1996, disponibles à la British Library dans le cadre du projet « Oral History of British Photography » (références C459/ 84, 6 bandes)



1ère bande (31:31)

“works with light-sensitive materials. Guest series: images are printed-out by sunlight on direct positive (Ilforchrome) paper; lens-less photographs.”

Born June 1st,  1957. Former curator at V&A (78-?). Early interest in nature (birds, cacti) and in physics. As a curator and writer, was constantly in search of the answer to a question (what is the nature of the world?), abstract questions but emotional needs:  what was the place of man in the world, in nature, the place of mind in nature? Discomfort with the place of oneself in the world.

In 1989, waking up, changing roles, method of including the self in the system, becoming responsible, stopping being an apprentice (submissive role).

Met Garry Fabian Miller in 85.


2ème bande (31:32)

Interest in Garry’s work: respect for the edge of the leaf, very humble role for the human.

Met Susan Derges in 1987, also very humble work (Chladni figures), allowing the world to record itself.

August 8, 1989, 7 am: woke up from a dream about making sculptures (cactus), decided to become artist. First work: planting flower bulbs (intense blue, hazel?)  in a park(wilderness site)  in Hampshire, sort of ‘nature vandalism’, the Park rangers took them out); he made photos.

Cactus sculptures: grafted plants. Then potato-tomato plant: real grafting. Probing.

Interest in Hamilton Finley. Thinking of parody of Richard Long, of working on the rules of etiquette as a natural law. In 91, work on dreams (dream line as a cartography).

Make things more aesthetic.


3ème bande (31:33)

Mental reconfiguring, like grafting.  Experiments in grafting. Wanted to make a ‘genetic’ graft (carnations).

Summer of 91: more interest in photos and paintings. Residency in Banff. Interest in Teilhard de Chardin (noossphere, light). Understanding in the heart rather than in the head.

Paintings about light; using the sun.


4ème bande (31:33)

Making images of the sun in cluster, like noosphere of Teilhard. Idea of the pinhole camera (idea came at a Getty symposium in Los Angeles, spring 91), wonderfully simple. Black & white first (just put photographic paper in the box, no negative). Black sun on white background: what mattered was the energy, not the inversion.

Was I attracted to pinhole camera just because it was a practical solution (no lenses, no negatives, etc.) or was it because of the notion of directness, leaving the world to record itself, being frightened of intervention?  Both. Just the sun hitting the paper; no relic-like. In Garry’s work, love of proximity, holy relic. Not me. Series called ‘the beauty of the world’ (from Hamlet, double-edged title).

In 92, started to use Cibachrome to photograph the sun. Mystique of colour chemistry.

Suns like full stops, end of a sentence, of a conceptual framework which I stopped.

A thousand in a cluster.

No light meter, many failures. Cardboard box.

‘Islamic’ pattern, actually X ray deflection patterns with gold, beryllium. Interest in alchemy, a system inclusive of all phenomena.

At beginning, I used everything, gels, filters, to experiment, to obtain colors (also some very chemical colors).

Summer 92 first show ‘Inside of a microcosm’ (Laura Jenny gallery) (following year at Lisson, show with Jane & Louise Wilson). I showed some of the blue and white solar clusters.

Made also fields of suns (14 000 of them…)

Monkey pictures, at the Zoo.


5ème bande (31:34)

Notion of the soul, of Christianity. Interest in Blake, transforming Christian myth into believable system of its own: as a strategy for art making, using traditional beauty to camouflage less traditional notions.

June 93 Lisson show. I showed a tree called Host, and some solar clusters and fields.

Make it more readable: field in the form of a silhouette. My dad built a dark slide (very complex), 40 by 30 inches. Sheets of aluminum foils that size. Put my subjects naked there, draw the silhouette on the foil, filling it with 25 000 apertures (very small, so less bright, better sensation of depth), it takes 8 to 10 hours, one hour per day.

Started with people using light in their work:  Peter Schyuff (NY painter), Adam Fuss, Garry, Susan Derges, Ralf Leckner, people I admire.  Cast of characters representing elements of my own thinking, extended self portrait, as if mapping my own psyche. Answer to question: no need to do that anymore, answer is redundant.

Invited to work in Israel on recycling: built a structure representing the body, with silhouette of human images (summer of 94). A box, 2.5m x 2.5m x 3m, one wall with solar image projected on floor then ‘climbing’ the wall depending upon sun’s place (astronomy, hard planning work). (Tel Aviv Museum).

Videos: with a model and a baby, constructing a narrative. Two films (Sartoris, Guest).


6ème bande (23:08)

A striptease film.

Show at André Emeric in NYC, with Fraenkel in SF (Guest), with Casnen in NYC, with Elliott Puckutte and Adam Fuss, IAF (summer 95).

Now figure painting with solar images projected.

Box prefab in Italy (ProArte foundation, in Turin); box in earth in Cornwall.

In 95 big show in Paris of Robert Irving: some relation to his work.

Light = immaterial (metaphor).

I have been too much in the mindset of the scientist: seeing and representing a phenomenon. Now I’d rather do and build, rather than see and represent (like Garry art making in the morning, being in the world the afternoon, gardening). Not being wrapped up in art; I’d like to do more.

Portrait of Matthew Barney as Guest: I hung it upside down (like Marsyas in Titien, hubristic).