Kvadrat's textile mill, Wooltex, United Kingdom, 2016

Surreal Reality

Alastair Philip Wiper looks into the heart of industry and science with the photo book "Unintended Beauty".
by Anna Moldenhauer | 7/20/2020

The British photographer Alastair Philip Wiper leads us with his photographs into artificial worlds that man has created to satisfy his needs. To technical facilities that help us to fulfill the desire for knowledge, for objects, food and feelings of happiness. In his photo book "Unintended Beauty", we thus look with him into industrial processes, scientific facilities, cable tangles, conveyor belts and shiny metal pipes. We see snapshots in the production of loudspeakers, ocean liners, textiles, shoes, canned meat and sex toys. We look at equipment that serves the European Organization for Nuclear Research, at wind tunnels and absorption rooms or at the futuristic architecture of a solar furnace.

Each image of the temporary processes is impressive in itself - completely independent of whether it is researching nuclear energy or shaping the perfect marzipan pig. With his camera, Wiper explores the cool aesthetics of industry and science, framing moments. Although the scenes seem to be staged, each of them was created by chance, glowing in vibrant colors. Every detail of the complex processes is in sharp focus. Despite the two-dimensional character of photography, the works thus offer a plastic, almost tangible proximity. Fascination alternates with the sometimes distressing raw reality of the processes. There is no valuation on the part of the artist. It remains a mere reproduction with a minimum of information about what is to be seen on it. Wiper thus leaves room for interpretation, for the germination of questions about consumption, progress and mechanization, the answers to which the viewer must give himself. Divided into the chapters "Learning", "Eating, Drinking, Medicating", "Making" and "Powering", we are thus allowed to approach a surreal-looking backdrop through his photographs, which was created by humans to serve humans and yet remains hidden most of the time. Currently and until 10 January 2021, the Musée des Arts décoratifs et du Design in Bordeaux is showing the work of Alastair Philip Wiper.

"Unintended Beauty" by Alastair Philip Wiper

The musée des Arts décoratifs et du Design
39 rue Bouffard
33000 Bordeaux

Until 10. January 2021