|Title||A Handful of Dust|
A book and internationally touring exhibition, A Handful of Dust is David Campany’s speculative history of the last century, and a visual journey through some of its unlikeliest imagery. Let’s suppose the modern era begins in October of 1922. A little French avant-garde journal publishes a photograph of a sheet of glass covered in dust. The photographer is Man Ray, the glass is by Marcel Duchamp. At first they call it a view from an aeroplane. Then they call it Dust Breeding. It’s abstract, it’s realist. It’s an artwork, it’s a document. It’s revolting and compelling. Cameras must be kept away from dust but they find it highly photogenic. The very same month, a little English journal publishes TS Eliot’s poem The Waste Land. “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”
And what if dust is really the key to the ensuing decades? Why do we dislike it? Is it cosmic? We are stardust, after all. Is it domestic? Inevitable and unruly, dust is the enemy of the modern order, its repressed other, its nemesis. But it has a story to tell from the other side.
The connections range far and wide, from aerial reconnaissance and the American dustbowl to Mussolini’s final car journey and the wars in Iraq. A Handful of Dust is also an original theory of photography itself that departs from existing approaches to the medium.
"David Campany’s intellectually ambitious book cum exhibition catalogue explores the motifs of dust, modernity and photography through the 20th century. Campany takes a single photograph, Dust Breeding, by Man Ray in collaboration with Marcel Duchamp to map the work’s uncharted links to a richness of images ranging from aerial reconnaissance pictures to conceptual art. The makeup of the book is simply brilliant as it offers two photographic volumes folded into one another, with the text encapsulated between them, a metaphor for the cumulative effect of ideas." - Roxana Marcoci, Senior Curator, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Le Bal, Paris, September 2015-January 2016
Pratt Institute, New York, September 14 – December 2, 2016
Whitechapel Gallery, London June 7 – September 2017
California Museum of Photography, March 17 – December 9, 2018
Polygon Gallery, Vancouver, February 8 – April 28, 2019
|Keywords||Photography Dust Ontology History Trace|
|Published||01 Oct 2015|
|Place of publication||London|