Photo: James Murray in Brighton/London, South East

James Murray

Artist, Technician
Early career

I am a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Brighton UK. The work on this page is part of an on going project, which finds its starting point in story of the Corinthian Maid as told by Pliny The Elder in Natural History (circa 77-79AD). This myth of origin situates the work of art at the intersection of desire and the pain of losing one’s beloved and opens up a number of ideas to do with touch, trace, surface and representation which informs my approach.

Underpinning this conceptual framework is an on-going investigation into the materiality of the photographic image and its relationship to sculpture. This is developed in Beheld—a series of large-scale photographic portraits printed on tracing paper. Here the inevitable distance between the spectator and the subject is emphasised by the translucency of these seemingly part-formed images. The scale and composition of these works allude towards the visual language of deification and the monumental proportions of Classical statuary.

Torso of a Youthful Divinity is a photomontage inspired by Lacan’s notion of the ‘mirror stage’—the point of psychoanalytical development in the infant child, which gives way to the conception of an idealised body that the individual strives towards for the rest of his or her life.

The final piece Semblance, partly inspired by Andre Bazin’s famous analogy between photography and the death mask, is a 1:1 ratio cast of my subject’s face in marble dust. Due to the fragile nature of the material the work cannot be moved once installed and thus each figuration is essentially a unique work. The sculpture is presented alongside a tonally inverted photograph of the object, extending the absence/presence—positive/negative—permanence/ impermanence paradigms that run throughout.         

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Location Brighton/London, South East
Activities Practice-based research, Technical installation, Photographic documentation, Graphic Design
Artforms / type of project Book Works, Installation, Photography, Research, Sculpture