Artspace

Gavin Hipkins

Gavin Hipkins

The Tunnel

 

2 October - 31 October 1997


Tunnels are dark, evocative and fraught with danger. For The Tunnel, Gavin Hipkins lines up hundreds of photos of balls at head and crotch height. Hipkins' double-hung photos address viewer's eyes and testicles. The two lines offer a meandering hypnotic trench, channeling the viewer's gaze. The balls could be read as musical notes, dots along a guitar’s fretboard, or even as the pillars along Princess Di's fatal tunnel. Escape photographers at your peril! The Tunnel is one of a series of Hipkins installations whose component images recall a retro brand of modernist abstract photography. However the artist is concerned less with the formal issues that were originally thought to animate such work, and more with metaphorical, romantic and psycho-sexual implications that went unsaid. Hipkins locates his work in relation to notions of the sublime. For Edmund Burke, the sublime involves apprehending nature as awesome, as terrifyingly vast and other. Hipkins writes: ‘The Tunnel turns back to Burke's definition of the sublime but underlines the key ingredient of intensity. The Tunnel could be claiming a spot for the sublime in the bedroom or under the romantic's mountain.’