Brad Feuerhelm: Can you shed any insight into where you begin an idea? Is it looking at works by artists using photography at all?
Darren Harvey-Regan: There’s a sense I have that there’s three main ingredients: One is the subject - the initial object in the world. Two is the image - the photographic representation. And three is the material object of the photograph - be it framed, presented, etc.
And then an interplay or overlap or exchange continually going on with these things. Some pieces emphasise different aspects of those relationships but I think that’s the (shifting) sense of things.
BF: So your references start much like a photographer in a way, trying to visualise an object, then how to "capture it" and the perception of it before deciding how best to deal with the photograph’s mode of representation back in transitive value to the original object. I find this interesting. Generally when a photographer does this, the reference ends when print or frame is captured.....
DHR: I think there’s an interplay of that type of trajectory too. Sometimes the works such as More or Less Obvious Forms have directly started with a specific visualisation. Other times the installation has grown out of pre existing imagery of mine.
BF: I find the drained colour on the actual sculpture fascinating while compared to the photograph… but the object is present?
DHR: Yes, ok, so I think it’s fair to say that in all the work in this show, the objects are essentially themselves. Nothing is intended primarily as metaphor. A rock is presented here as a rock, the blocks are blocks. They don’t symbolise anything. That’s not to say they don’t make you think about things but they’re not represented as symbols or metaphors.
BF: Relational photography, in a formal sense of objecthood.
DHR: The work lies more in the process of translation and presentation and process itself.
BF: On that note.....Can you tell me why you chose not to display the tools for the Walker Evans referenced Fortune series…themselves?
DHR: Yes, same with the checkered pieces, (More or Less Obvious Forms) - I get asked a lot about this one. These were conceived to be photographs. There is nothing added in seeing the tools themselves, rather just an undermining of what is achieved in the photograph.…The photo provides the illusion of function here. The tools themselves are clearly just two halves stuck together and they don’t even join all the way due to their mismatched shapes. The photo recreated them.
BF: But you have the physical tools? They are physical not montages, etc…
DHR: Yes - I have them all. There’s a cool trajectory thing here where photography usually starts with something in the world and makes an image. Here I made collages from Evans’ images and then turned those into something in the world. I am saving them for that room of artefacts in my retrospective.
BF: Kunsthalle Harvey-Regan.
DHR: Exactly. I’ve had the original Fortune magazine in the show that just closed at Summaria Lund gallery.
BF: I love Ephemera!
DHR: Yes, it creates a nostalgia that is very present in the work. A lot of the pieces end up having connection to childhood interests and ideas.
BF: How fascinating! Your work is so clinical. So to add the elements of ephemera is bold. The age of the magazine against the cool patina of your palette is forceful, but not undermining in the least.
DHR: The drained colour could be read like that but, there’s an also an indirect emotional undercurrent or consequence I guess. The tools are printed and framed in quite a traditional manner on the other hand. Photography and Nostalgia, the loss of colour in adulthood, complexity of emotions and ideas set against the lost security of childhood.
BF: In your work, are the aesthetics of representation specific to the medium of photography or do these tendencies reside in other forms of display - the sculpture etc? Could you see yourself working without photography in the mix? Or is photography specifically our discipline in art?
DHR: I think it’s about the construction of meaning and perspective, the existing world compared to our interpretation/language of it. Photography is so ideally suited to reflect on this or traditional photography at least.
BF: Do you consider photography a language?
DHR: Yes, certainly. It has its own idioms and phrasings particular to it. The visual itself is the broader language.
BF: The camera its tongue…
DHR: Flash tonsils! It has that awkward relationship to the world, the reference/referent thing that is comparable to language itself. A tie between the world and the construct. I’m actually really interested in the possibility of a visual language, without recourse to symbol. Yes, maybe it could only be a purely subjective thing.
BF: Subjective, yet shared language?
In your piece The Halt you incorporate a large measure of violence with the use of a specific tool: the axe. There is an amount of violence that permeates the material use of photography, the breaking surface..Also the saw piece but, that is more clinical. The dead lizard under the rock as well. It’s interesting because the images are so tidy to the machinations of purity that seeing these distortions acts as a catalyst for abjection.
DHR: Yes, someone actually said that of the tools at a recent exhibition opening of mine then someone else directly disagreed! Maybe it’s my passive/aggressive tendencies.