Tangent | Dieter Appelt: Forth Bridge Cinema, Metric Space

From March 9 to May 22 in the Octagonal Gallery, the Canadian Centre for Architecture announces the opening of this exhibit which presents a major new work inspired by the spectacular late 19th-century Forth Rail Bridge near Edinburgh in Scotland. This second Tangent exhibition curated by Hubertus von Amelunxen, visiting curator of the CCA photographs collection, presents Dieter Appelt’s monumental eight-part photographic tableau commissioned in 2002 by the CCA, together with conceptual drawings for the project. The exhibition also includes a provocative selection of images from the CCA’s vast archive on the Forth Bridge, most notably, photographs by Evelyn George Carey (1858-1932), a young engineer who became the official project photogapher for the engineering firm of John Fowler and Benjamin Baker responsible for the design of the bridge.

The CCA Tangent project was conceived to engage artists in new reflection on the relationship between photography and architecture, beginning with a corpus of photographs selected by von Amelunxen, from the CCA’s vast collection materials conceived as the beginning of a phrase to be completed by the artist. Invited to the CCA in the spring of 2002, Dieter Appelt was immediately drawn to the CCA’s large archive on the Forth Bridge, which he had first seen and photographed more than 25 years earlier, and which still held great fascination for him. Appelt’s early investigation of the Forth Bridge significantly informed his subsequent work, an dupon returning to Scotland to photograph the colossal structure, after his visit to the CCA archive, he reframed the project in light of his longstanding preoccupation with the analysis of architectural constructs in spatial and temporal terms.

The exhibition comprises a tableau composed of eight individual photographic panels, each containing 3 black and white, single-frame, gelatin silver prints which together propose a novel reading of the bridge. Appelt’s conceptual drawings for the project are also on view, providing a key to the genesis and development of the work. Having first studied music, and then experimental photography and art, Appelt’s work involves the creation of resonant spaces, submitting the visual experience of objects to a prolongation of the moment in the case of the Forth Bridge, focusing on the particular kinetic effect of the bridge as a momentum movens. The basis of the work is a transposition of the logic of the built structure into a musical notation system that conforms to metric formulae, expressed in the individual photographic images which are then mounted in a tableau that enables the bridge to be read both horizontally and vertically. As Appelt has explained, "To my mind, the work has an intimate structure; it is an organized dance of signs."

For more information, please visit www.cca.qc.ca