You are here: Home Institute Connections Known by Art Artists in Residence at PIK The British photographer and installation artist Steven Pippin

The British photographer and installation artist Steven Pippin

Steven Pippin (born in 1960 in Redhill, Surrey, UK) works with complex mechanical procedures and kinetic structures, which he uses also as metaphors for social mechanisms. He studied engineering at Charles Keen College in Leicester, and sculpture at the Chelsea School of Art in London.

His kinetic sculptures and photographic experiments are often based on physical models. The electronic sculpture Black Hole  combines a representation of the solar system with surveillance  technology, a TV monitor and concepts such as 'black hole' or 'global warming'.Pippin_windowonwall.jpg

Pippin's fascination with physics and astronomy extends as well to the history of measurement and photographic techniques. Nominated in 1999 for the Turner Prize, his entry at the Tate Gallery was based on the work Laundromat Locomotion, in which he converted a row of washing machines into a series of cameras triggered by trip wires, and then rode a horse through the laundromat to recreate Eadweard Muybridge’s pioneering photographic studies of a horse in motion. Building conservation regulations prevented us letting him turn the photogaphic refractor into a pinhole camera!

In his exhibition at PIK Pippin showed some first images from his series "Simultaneous Symbiosis" (see photo) produced during his stay in Potsdam, as well as photos from his "Point Blank" series, in which cameras record the moment of their own destruction by bullets from a pistol.

In the photo "Window on the World" shown here, a camera placed in a central position shoots a roughly symetrical object simultaneously from two 180° opposite perspectives. A closer look at the image reveals seemingly blurred lines and other distortions produced by blending the two images. The undefined appearance of the picture draws the viewer out of the dead-end of his or her normal, defined and fixed perspective and thus becomes a "window on the world".

This approach is typical for Pippin. In much of his work, his interest in the process of realising an idea and the concept behind it are greater than the finished product, which presents (at an initial glance) a rather boring view, but one in which irony and understatement are combined. In much of his work, Pippin offers a bland and uninteresting view to our gaze: In order that we create from this as much as the imagination allows. In this way the reserved and patient artist succeeds in presenting us with something that is the 180° opposite of what the images we see in our daily lives seek to present to us. Here the artist himself explains the philosophy behind his work.

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