From Sharne Wolff…
Oliver Hopes’ latest exhibition Drains 2 at Robin Gibson Gallery is one of dozens of events that comprise part of the 2013 Sydney Head On Photo Festival which runs during May and June. It’s also the second in a series of solo shows that have resulted from Hopes’ camera-in-hand journeys to some of Sydney’s least visited destinations. ‘Draining’, as Hopes describes these occasionally daring and sometimes dangerous exploits, is a category of ‘Urban Exploration’ – a subculture prevalent in many modern cities and defined [thanks Wikipedia!] as the ‘exploration of man-made structures, usually abandoned ruins or not usually seen components of the man-made environment’.
This underworld of city storm water drains provides fertile ground for atmospheric images of concrete structures, tunnels, ladders and walls tagged with graffiti. The spontaneous entry of light into dark filled spaces creates the kind of natural drama captured in Hopes’ composition entitled Ladder 2013. However, it’s also the humans and other creatures who inhabit these sub-city zones and the reasons why they seek solace or adventure in this earthy-smelling sanctuary that also spark the artist’s curiosity. As the city breathes above, Hopes’ exhibition intends to bring a very different version of the urban experience to life.
Until May 29
Robin Gibson Gallery, Darlinghurst
Pic: Oliver Hopes, Ladder, 2013. C-Type print, 72×90cm (paper) / 57×80cm (image). Courtesy the artist and Robin Gibson Gallery.