Anthony Shapland


The Guildhall

The work of Anthony Shapland momentarily slows an accelerated world. He uses images that dwell on periods of inaction, encouraging the viewer to notice the often overlooked details and minutiae of our surrounds. Although the footage is lifted directly from everyday events, or perhaps precisely because of this, his work elevates the images to a magical level. In an empty corridor deep in a public building – a non-place, an in-between place, a place of limbo – heavy wooden double doors open occasionally to the movements of employees passing from office to office. In a market, at the time of day when it is neither open or completely closed, cleaners move through the empty building to prepare for the next day and the well trodden paths between the stalls are still. A man passes time in the market waiting for an unknown appointment, looking at his watch, lost in his thoughts amidst the bustle of shoppers.

The developed world functions at an accelerated rate, and will thrive as long as it can keep its pace. It makes the act of focussing on moments of inaction all the more spellbinding. Shapland’s video works indicate that we have become used to the medium being a fast changing window on the world; though within the work, as if staring out of the window, real time inertia ticks by cultivating a portentous sense that something must be about to happen. The imagination becomes overactive as if the works force the viewer to fill in the gaps – even the smallest activity momentarily relieves us of this responsibility.

“Using two very different public buildings as my starting point; one is the centre of commerce and the other the civic centre, different but co-dependent buildings within the city. While each thrives under its own workload both have times and places where little happens, when the buildings rest; the work for Locws2 looks at these periods of inactivity at both spaces. I have selected those transitional points when one thing becomes the other, focusing on that unnamed point in between the two”. Anthony Shapland 2002