Thursday, 9 October 2008
All images © Jesse Alexander
Jesse Alexander Threshold Zone
Redcliffe Caves, Phoenix Wharf, Redcliffe, BRISTOL, U.K.
Open: Saturday/Sunday 1st/2nd November 2008, 12 – 4pm
Private View: (by invitation only) Friday 31st October 2008, 6 – 9pm
To request an invitation, please contact: email@example.com
For millennia, and throughout every culture, the subterranean has been a setting for mythologies and folklore, with a prince of the underworld keeping guard in almost every known religion. Although caves and the underground are culturally known for where beasts reside and where bad things can happen, they have also functioned as sites of initiation as well as provided shelter and sanctuary.
Threshold Zone explores this dichotic relationship by placing the viewer in the space between the entrances to underground spaces (the ‘light zone’), and where the space enters a state of perpetual darkness – the ‘dark zone’. The works create a tension between apprehension and curiosity, inspiring images of mythology, fantasy and science fiction. This experience is heightened by their presentation as lightboxes,and their site-specific installation at Redcliffe Caves in Bristol. As well as providing a potent atmosphere, the Caves are an appropriate location to show the work, given the rich history they have, and the mythology that surrounds them. Jesse Alexander has photographed caves and man-made subterranean structures including mines, bunkers and reservoirs, predominantly around the South West of England. Using a large-format camera with only available light to illuminate the images, he has had to rely on exposure times as long as one week to capture enough light. The resulting ‘hyperreal’ tableaux are decoys – photographic renditions that seem to depict a split-second, yet actually portray an extended period of time, made possible only by the static and isolated nature of these underground locations.
Jesse Alexander is a photographer and writer on photography. He was born and works in Bristol. Threshold Zone is the resolution to a postgraduate Masters degree course at the University of Wales, Newport.
Whilst the Redcliffe Caves are safe to enter, visitors should be aware that there are potential hazards involved with caving and underground exploration. Visitors do not require any special equipment to visit the installation but are advised to wear sensible footwear. Accessibility to the caves is very good.
For more information on Redcliffe Caves, please visit: