The exhibition combines works from two series by British artist and photographer Simon Roberts: “The Celestials” and “Cloud Negatives”.

During the global pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, satellite images released by NASA and the European Space Agency showed a dramatic drop in nitrogen dioxide emissions; the skies were clearer and bluer, and the earth was breathing again. The cyanotypes in the series “The Celestials” were created during that time, using negatives of pictures taken from plane windows during work expeditions over the preceding years. The Prussian blue of the cyanotypes, a colour that is not found in nature, is brought about by a chemical reaction that produces ferric ferrocyanide. They evoke an otherworldly, dreamlike intensity that is augmented in several cases by layering multiple negatives – creating “fictional” images and allowing us to “look at what can’t be seen.” The same is true for the large-format black and white prints in the “Cloud Negatives” series, which were made using the same negatives. Both series work with a degree of abstraction that speaks of the essence of what many people experience in our time of climate emergency: our altered states and perspectives, collective uncertainty and deepening awareness of the interconnectedness between us and the natural world.

Simon Roberts (*1974, UK) is a visual artist widely recognised for his large-format photographs of the British landscape; his practice also encompasses video, text and installation work, which interrogate notions of identity and belonging and the complex relationship between history, place and culture. He has exhibited widely, and his photographs can be found in major public and private collections, including the George Eastman House, Deutsche Börse Art Collection and the Victoria & Albert Museum. He is the author of several critically acclaimed monographs, including “Motherland” (Chris Boot, 2007), “We English” (Chris Boot, 2009), “Pierdom” (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2013) and “Merrie Albion – Landscape Studies of a Small Island” (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2017), his work has also been profiled and published widely including in the New Yorker, Granta, National Geographic, ARTFORUM, Wallpaper, amongst others. Roberts holds a BA Hons in Cultural Geography from The University of Sheffield and is a regular public speaker and visiting lecturer. He lives and works in Brighton, UK.

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