Lisa Barnard

The Canary and the Hammer




We are surrounded by gold—though we may rarely actually see it or handle it: it is concealed in much of the technology we use, is a barometer for the state of the economy, and is, most fundamentally, a potent symbol of ultimate value, beauty, purity, greed and political power.

This project represents a personal journey through the world of gold and the structure of the story mirrors the complexity of the task of representing the world in these fragmented and troubling times.

The series as a whole is a response to the financial crisis of 2008 and its exposure of the western world’s determination to accumulate wealth at the expense of the poor. Like the ‘canary’ taken into the mine, gold is the gauge by which we monitor our environment; the hammer the tool that smashes the structures to which it is embedded.

Gold provides a prism through which globalism can be refracted and each topic represents a different strand, underpinned by a peculiar act of faith in its value.

Ultimately, gold – mysterious, powerful, singular – is a material substance that fuses together these different versions of striving for knowledge, beauty, wealth and inordinate power.

About the Artist
Lisa Barnard’s photographic practice is placed in the genre of documentary. Her work discusses real events, embracing complex and innovative visual strategies that utilise both traditional documentary techniques with more contemporary and conceptually rigorous forms of representation.

Barnard connects her interest in aesthetics, current photographic debates around materiality and the existing political climate. Of particular interest to her is Global Capitalism, the relationship between the military industrial complex, screen based new technologies and the psychological implication of conflict.

Barnard is Reader in Photography and Programme leader on the MA Documentary Photography at University of South Wales and a Senior Lecturer on the Documentary Photography BA. She has two publications both with GOST, Chateau Despair and Hyenas of the Battlefield, Machines in the Garden.

IN OTHER IMAGE, WHEN WORDS FAIL
International Portfolio Showcase

National Library Plaza
05 Oct—30 Oct
Free admission