26.03.15Review: Still Now Is Then Forever
Written by Leanne Cunningham
Hanover Project presents Still Now Is Then Forever, an exhibition comprising works by artists Andy Broadey and Frances Richardson. As someone who is interested in any work that investigates the ideology surrounding aspects of time and space, I was intrigued by this exhibition.
Entering Hanover Project, I am greeted by the immersive Still (2014), aligned together to form the visual elements of a timeline. Left unmaintained since the fall of Bulgarian communism in 1989, the Budludzha Monument is the central element of Broadey’s photographs. The monument occupies the top of a hill in central Stara Planina Bulgaria, and was occupied by Broadey and his two Russian soviet cameras for twenty-four hours whilst he made this work. The two cameras are captured by each other, circumnavigating the corridors of the Budludzha Monument, which is the biggest ideological building in Bulgaria. Built as a marker to the creation of the Bulgarian socialist movement with government support and donations, the building was made and constructed by the Bulgarian army and volunteers. Due to the political changes of 1989, the state of the monument has since deteriorated. Mosaic portraits of the president momentarily destroyed and will soon no longer be. Deterioration and abandonment is a consistent theme that runs within and throughout Still.
A frozen aspect of what once was becomes more than just a photograph. It exists as a silent page of visuality that metaphorically speaks of a darkened past whilst seemingly presenting an invitation. A feeling of sedateness enforces a longing to stand inside the Budludzha Monument and stare out into the light that Broadey fears to see. As a result, this prompts me to the ideas behind the aspect of light within, the outside world. Is the latter a form of hope for Broadey and the viewers? Does the brightness aim to create a sense of ease? It reflects onto me as an unknown element.
In response to Broadey’s Still, Frances Richardson presents Now is then forever (2015), a sculptural intervention that engages directly with Hanover Project. The gallery is a purpose built extension on the side of a 1930’s renovated factory, which is now a building belonging to Fine Art at The University of Central Lancashire. Shattered broken windows made from MDF and aligned with copper sit comfortably within the space adjacent to Broadey’s series Still. Facing one and other, a visual and political debate seems to exist within the space. Slightly obscured views of the outside word and real life in Richardson’s piece result in the temporal aspects of what the space may possibly look like in the future, whilst simultaneously imagining visions of the past. Do Richardson’s installations correspond to the iron bars and doors that seal the Budludzha Monument, fundamentally leaving visitors to enter at their own risk?
The context of this urban environment consisting architecture, space and place within Hanover opens up a visual idea of Still existing as a silent decaying facade of Richardson’s sculptures. The abandoned ideology of the two pieces existing within the one space beautifully forms Still Now Is Then Forever, with the latter existing as an experience of time process that plays with temporality as what is visible is what is present. Yet this makes me question what is being lost and what is to be gained? A question that longs to be answered as a photograph of the latter would not provide the same effect as to what can be seen and what can be explored within real time. Being present within the space alongside the work results for one to witness what you see is what you get , further allowing one to explore every possible detail with a sense of true space and perception. The photographs become an element of the past that was once a presence explored by Broadey, which then leaves us with a challenging perception. Both, the urban and the new form a desolate condition – a feeling of emptiness.
 Frances Richardson, Still Now Is Then Forever introduction, Preston, UK (2015)