Graduated from Camberwell College of Arts
Selected by Lucy Harrison
On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, 2007
The Sun has a diameter of approximately 1 million 390,000 kilometres and is 150 million kilometres away from the earth yet its light takes a mere 8 minutes to reach us.
If you imagine that the sun is not 1 million 390,000 kilometres in diameter but roughly the size of a tennis ball, earth is approximately the size of a pinhead and this pinhead would be 12 metres away from the tennis ball sun. Jupiter is the size of a green pea about a football pitch away and another 3 and a half football fields away is Pluto, a spec of dust.
I am fascinated by the transformative nature of light. The earth orbits the sun in such a way that light will never fall on an object in the same way twice. Perhaps this is an obvious statement to make but light has the ability to transform the mundane in to the magical. Attempting to grasp how far, and fast, light has to travel in order to reach us has fuelled my fascination with the minute nuances of light in my immediate environment.
Within my practice I explore and juxtapose my own emotional responses to the light in the spaces I inhabit (public and private, home and work) with contemporary and historical thought (philosophical / scientific) on its nature and origin.
In recent works I have recorded and re-presented the phenomena of light through deploying the book structure, sometimes physical, sometimes metaphorical. By engaging with the qualities inherent to book form: page, order, sequence and through these, contained duration and utilising these characteristics when documenting and re-presenting shifts in light and shadow within an architectural framework; I draw attention to specific moments in time and space.
Books are a space in which to escape, fantasise and time travel but they are also a repository for truth, fact and history. The book is both an internal and external space. My works, whether photography or video based, installation or book, operate via a tension between opposites such as: the minute and the massive; the personal and the universal; the fleeting and the permanent; truth and illusion or fact and fiction.
Leanne Bell is fascinated by light and particularly our relationship with the sun, both through emotional responses to how its light passes over the earth, and how the science of this has been examined and presented through history. As she says herself 'light will never fall on an object in the same way twice'. The form of the book is repeatedly used in a series of exquisite video pieces which use the sequence of the image and the brightness of the pages as a way of expressing this fascination, exposing speculative attempts to pin down its nature in scientific fact.
In the digital animation 'On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres' (2007) Bell uses the book of that name from the National Maritime Museum, published in 1543 by the Polish astronomer Nicolas Copernicus, who positioned the sun at the centre of our solar system. Bell photographed each page after one minute in the light from the window. Diagrams appear and disappear before our eyes before we have a chance to properly understand them. In 'Astronomy for Beginners' (2007) light is trained through a magnifying glass onto the page of another book, showing an illustration of the sun. Various represented versions of light are entwined and interplayed.
In 'Real Fiction' (2007) a video of a forest is projected onto the type of desk you might find in a school, with a blue-lined exercise book placed onto it. As you look closer it becomes clear that the video itself contains the book and table, almost but not quite lined up with the image in the video. For this piece Bell took the book and desk to Epping Forest and photographed the pages in sequence, overlaying the desk with its own representation. A further twist is that underneath the book is a printed illusion: a book-shaped hole. Bell's work begins to uncover the many layers of understanding related to the study of vision.
(Lucy Harrison, 2007)
Qualifications and training
- 2007 MA Book Arts, Distinction, Camberwell College of Arts, London
- 1999 BA (Hons) degree, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne
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