By Nigel Frank, Curator Clifford Chance Collection.
Tanja Engelberts combines a photographic and sculptural practice, the one informing the other. Understanding photography as being experienced solely through the eye, she uses sculptural installations to explore how photography can relate to the body, how movement and space can affect the viewing experience. Her recent imagery reflects a fascination with corporate architecture, particularly the concept of the ‘Silver Aesthetic’, a 1970s coinage that described a way modern architecture could blend with the historical backdrop. A concept that was given an ideological content by Japanese architects in the 1980s, who called it the poetics of ‘almost nothing’ and saw their architecture as ‘symbolism of the void’. Using Canary Wharf as an exemplar, Tanja believes the concept has been lost, replaced with a type of global architecture that is visually appealing but raises concerns about cultural identity. Engelberts asks the question: Can Canary Wharf, in all its functionality, be a place of wonder and contemplation?
The Clifford Chance Art Group, who selected Tanja Engelberts (b. The Netherlands, 1987) from a shortlist compiled by the University, responded to the clarity of her proposal. A sculptural intervention into their working environment that both introduces an ethereal, fleeting quality and reflects on the specifics of their office's location at Canary Wharf; the moments of beauty and isolation she captures in her photographs of the office's surroundings. 'Viewers of her work will respond to the unseen beauty that surrounds us everyday', they said.
Digital print on silk, Aluminium
Dimensions: H x W x D
The Island, Periphery
160 x 400 x 100 cm
The Island, Centre
30 x 40 x 50 cm
The Island, Altitude
190 x 100 x 150 cm
Photographs by Paul Tucker