`Postcards from the Future`, the photographic montages of the artists Didier Madoc-Jones and Robert Graves provide a much needed forum for the debate surrounding climate change. Stepping away from the easy and obvious visual currency of disaster films, these works have a quieter resonance.
By eschewing the alarmist route, the images remain at the centre of discussions around the possibilities of climate change in London, new technology and the implications of what it could mean to those who inhabit the capital.
All images copyright Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones. Skating at Tower Bridge background photography copyright Jason Hawkes.
Described as “visionary artists” by Lord Foster, Graves and Madoc-Jones began to consider these issues in their work as a response to the 2008 G8 summit. The images were digitally crafted from aerial shots of London, together with found images, each piece taking weeks to complete and frame.
Each work touches upon a diverse range of references spanning the 1960s London of tourist souvenirs and fudge boxes – such as the Houses of Parliament, Pall Mall, busby wearing soldiers, and Buckingham Palace, to the photos of Norman Parkinson, the muted palette and repeated design of tapestry (‘The Gherkin’) and Dutch 17th century painting ( ‘Skating at Tower Bridge’).
The works have been embraced by the scientific and art world alike; James Lovelock and Sir Christopher Ticknell, director of the Policy Foresight Programme, Oxford University both acknowledging their significance as a catalyst for debate. The artists have utilised scientific projections of what climatically could occur, as in ‘London as Venice’. However primarily these are works of art rather than science, a factor Madoc-Jones is keen to point out.
‘Postcards from the Future’ suggest solutions and a creative human adaptability to climate change, which though not always optimistic, is a welcome voice to a subject that is usually considered in emotive terms.
‘Postcards from the Future’ can be seen at the National Theatre, National Theatre, South Bank, London SE1 9PX, from 14 March to 8 May, 2011.
Further details about the works can be found at the artists’ website, www.postcardsfromthefuture.co.uk