Birth Springs Death Falls

‘Birth Springs, Death Falls’


Flat Time House

London. UK


10th January to 10th February 2013


Flat Time House opened its adjoining flat as a permanent residency space in 2012. For his first solo show in London, Stuart Whipps presents an exhibition of work made while in residence.


Stuart spent his time at FTHo researching the archive material from John Latham’s work with the Scottish Office Development Agency during a placement, negotiated by Artist Placement Group (APG) between 1975 and 1976. APG was conceived by Barbara Steveni (then Barbara Latham) in 1965 and established a year later as Art Placement Group (Trust). Stuart’s residency involved a visit to the shale bings of West Lothian – Latham’s object of study during his time in Scotland. Stuart’s exhibition maps the connections between Latham and other historical protagonists including James “Paraffin” Young, who was the first to refine mineral oil on a commercial scale. This process left behind the shale heap bings of West Lothian and financed David Livingstone’s “explorations” of Zambia – Latham’s birthplace. Stuart’s complex project involving photography, installation and text aligns multiple histories and geological monuments with the contemporary moment.


Although the archive was Stuart’s starting point, the trajectory of his investigation disassembles any archival categorisation or order by collapsing the representation of historical events and their material evidences into one body of work. Birth Springs, Death Falls positions alongside each other representations of geographical phenomena both naturally occurring such as the Victoria Falls as well as the man-made shale bings and to scale replica of the waterfall built by “Paraffin” Young in Scotland. Stuart’s exhibition traces a complex genealogy between the various geological and historical characters by adapting established modes of presentation stretching from landscape photography through to museological framing.