NEIL HAMON
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SUICIDE SELF PORTRAIT - HANGING Lure
Silver Gelatin Prints
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Neil Hamon uses photography and sculpture to investigate human relationship with loss. His project as an artist might be described as a fruitless effort to fix, that which is always slipping away, to make the mutable, immutable. It is Hamon’s exploration of the notion of the inescapability of all human endeavour to ultimately result in dissatisfaction through lack of verity that impels his practice.

Hamon employs techniques of representation that act as facsimiles of reality. Where once an animal ran and jumped, in Hamon’s hands it becomes stuffed, prone and made to breathe artificially. As in other aspects of his work it falls short of what is promised at first sight. In a recent series of photographs he has adopted the role of both documentary photographer and subject by presenting a series of suicide self-portraits based on crime scene photography in the 1920’s America. Earlier, Hamon travelled around the UK to meticulously document historical re-enactments and the people who dress up to take part in them. In re-enactment everything depends on the detail. The scene and the action must draw as closely as possible to the actual original experience. But, inevitably, the reality is trivialised and the experience nullified by the fact that the facsimile is only a cleverly and intricately prepared copy, devoid of the truth and the substance of the original.

Hamon’s territory exists somewhere between documentary and fiction where authenticity is challenged in a critical association of images and forms. In his fabrication of falsehood a different kind of reality emerges. By portraying the outer layers of experience and recording a lack of authenticity he establishes another kind of experience, one that is in parallel association. Hamon employs the illusion of reality to reveal a deeper truth, one that is more closely linked to the tragedy of the human condition.

In his work Spoilt Spill Hamon incorporates a table and lamp upon which sit a wooden skull and some (resin cast) poison bottles one of which is on its side. All these elements are set into a black liquid pool (again in resin) which runs off the table and down one of the legs of the table. The liquid appears to turn into a cluster of barnacles that cling to the table leg and which either produce or attract some fishing flies, of the kind that anglers use. The flies also appear at the light bulb element of the work which consists of an antique neon bulb (a fiery red ball of flickering light), In some sense the bulb element can be seen as a type of trap as it is surrounded by a glass dome and the shelf on which it sits has holes in it to let in the flies, some of which lie dead on their backs beneath the light. Like the flies all the elements that make up the piece are imitations. The work exudes a macabre domesticity, a vehicle for Hamon to externalise his thoughts about what the flies represent. His second work, Fly, also incorporates an enlarged fishing fly It is a small taxidermy piece which is an enlarged version of a fishing fly made from Hare's ears, Starling wings and a squirrels tail (all base materials which are used to make fishing flies). It is intended, in Hamon’s words, ‘to reveal the absurdity at the heart of fly fishing namely to the idea of using parts of one animal in order to reconstruct the appearance of another in an attempt to seduce and eventually through its representation, catch a third.’

© David Thorp 2007

Written for ‘European Triennial of Small-Scale Sculpture’ Catalogue, Gallery of Murska Sobota.

Neil Hamon
Anna Mecugni
David Thorp
Eduarda de Souza
Ben Borthwick
Simon Morrissey
Simon Morrissey
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