Approaching some work  of Paul Eachus
Text for Skin Magazine  Amman  2006

There are strong de-stabilising forces at work when you confront the photoworks of the British artist Paul Eachus, the term ‘photowork’ which he uses in all his statements to date is a curious one, one which the computer dictionary fails to acknowledge. It is no doubt a deliberate hybrid word which acknowledges one position whilst firmly denying another, it foregrounds the work as a concept, an idea in progress whilst denying its status within the canons of photography . This constructing of a word, a term unfamiliar to the mainstream of art terminology sets the direction of what is to come, a kind of Derridian ‘sous rature’ which recognises the necessity of language but inevitably its inadequacy. What is certain here is that this work is not about photography or its history nor in anyway does it relate to the familiar genres of photographic practice except those that might come under the general heading of catalogue photography ( furniture catalogues, brochures, IKEA or Habitat publications) there is a particular bland quality a full frontal attack with direct ‘unnuanced’ lighting that refuses subtlety or atmospheric effect.

Tthe word schizophrenia comes to the mind here, there is reference to the American philosopher Frederic Jameson’s use of it as a model to outline the  postmodern condition of historical experience. According to Jameson ‘schizophrenia implies a loss of the mental capacity to perceive time as ongoing in a consistent order, which results in the inability to organise experiences in coherent sequences that would allow them to make sense, which in turn generates a heightened sense of the visceral and material presence of isolated fragments of perception’1. This ‘state of affairs’   is further complicated by the spatial context, the lacunae that will hopefully offer some rational respite to the disordering so far experienced, however this similarly fails to materialise. In the early pieces made between 2000/2003, the lacunae affect is powerful, the space, perhaps an office, a gallery or an in between location seems to refuse an awareness of the events taking place, somehow the space is disassociated from the active but fragmented narratives. In the more recent works the contextualising space has become in fact a number of spaces. A point of  reference for these might be a media or film studio in which the ‘fakeness’ and the fragile façade seek to convey a specific orientation, a mood, a style, an authority but one that only exists for the camera and one that operates as surface, as the camera pulls away we witness the desolate nature of the film warehouse a dislocation of events.

Maurice Blanchot in ‘The Writing of the Disaster’ comments on the nature and identity of the fragment, on the one hand it is clearly a fragment, a part of something but in its becoming a fragment it becomes  itself  a whole, it has defined edges. Yet this fragment as such gives us no evidence as to the nature of the whole to which it was once a part. So with these photoworks, they operate as large fragments in that they are cropped, their edges cut just at the point of revealing themselves, information becomes partial and there is strong suggestion of things happening beyond the boundary of the photographic surface. An activity which critiques the photograph as a capturer of information as a powerful supplier and witness to a truth as if the authority of the frame to include as well as to exclude has somehow missed the subject and has failed to fulfil its role, as if  when the film strip passes through the gate of the projector slips between frames and becomes blurred. However the photowork remains the only evidence of the construction’s existence having completed its production the structure is dismantled and we are left only with this distanced ‘documentation’, fragmentary, incomplete and disordered.

Andre Brade
Vienna 2006