Blood on paper, an evening at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, April 25 2008
Images: The Silver Galleries, V&A Museum London; & installation view in the Silver Galleries, Anne Brodie, 2008
In 2006 Anne Brodie was awarded an Artist’s International Fellowship sponsored by the Arts Council and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). She spent three months living and working in Antarctica alongside BAS scientists and support staff.
Gradually approaching the Antarctic peninsula by ship, she became increasing aware of a sensory overload; just how white could the snowy mountain caps be, how could it be possible to see such crystal blue ice, to feel so acutely the crisp sharp change in the air, the anticipation of 'following in the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest polar explorers?
How to assimilate all of these new experiences in such an extraordinary landscape as a human being was hard enough, but as an artist? How would it ever be possible to mark make again in a world that so effortlessly does its own mark making quite so powerfully and profoundly?
Her initial response on board ship was to retreat indoors and ﬁlm the notion of passage via people sliding in chairs and ice cubes rocking in drinks in time to the surging seas. On arrival at the British Antarctic base Rothera, it was to try and physically ﬁlter her surroundings, sticking tracing paper up on her windows and wrapping it around her camera lens.
She did eventually come to terms with Antarctica, but in a way that took her by surprise, it became about us — the humans in the landscape.
Anne Brodie writes:
"Walking into the Silver galleries at the V&A after being asked to take part in the Friday Late series took me straight back on board the ship to Antarctica... too much, too beautiful, too impossibly bright and shiny. It stopped me from looking. There could only be one possible response. Sometimes only by taking something away do we truly see it.
There is also more to the Silver galleries than the silver, I wondered when the last time someone walking through here looked up at the paintings and ceiling above the cabinets?"