Untitled Document

Going back - David Bate + Denny Robson

Date: 30 October - 30 November 2006


In Going back Denny Robson is interested in the ways a medium of stillness can take time itself as its subject and suggests something of the complexities of relationships with the past. Her work depicts a journey, both spatial and temporal, back to the seaside towns where she grew up, and back to another time. Denny is interested in the universal in any ‘going back’, that at such times the past can exist in the present, a present in the past, so that in the act of looking we may see not only a present-day landscape, but also an overlay of the site it once was.

A dark, deserted funfair marks the end of the journey, and climax of recall. The Spanish City at Whitley Bay, built in 1903 and recently pulled down, was the summer backdrop for generations of teenage desire, played out in nights filled with excitement, the smell of diesel, music deafening at every ride.

These images are devoid of life, the dodgems, the waltzer, the grand national (on which only the coolest would stand, precarious but nonchalant), all are stilled. But the emptiness of the images, together with captions that float rather than anchor, hints at narratives, at tales that have no beginnings or ends.

“I don’t believe the past is fixed, any more than our memories are fixed, but that both are flexible, subject to interpretation, to our creativity, and open to narrative possibilities that may alter as often as we do ourselves. In Going back I wanted to explore such possibilities, in spaces that might invite the viewer to do likewise”.

Denny Robson

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