How Do We Remember? Adam Forman at Highgate Gallery
PUBLISHED: 12:06 26 March 2019
Former Hackney GP displays keepsakes from the life of one woman and his photographic project of the same Hackney street crossing over 365 days in his interrogation of longitudinal memory and fleeting history
The passing of time, surveillance - incidental or intended - and everyday street scenes, have been recurring themes in Adam Forman’s work.
The former Hackney GP’s exhibition How Do We Remember? contains elements of all three in a two part display.
In the first, diaries, photos, letters and other keepsakes are displayed chronologically, spreading out the substance of one remembered life.
They belong to Helen de Mouilpied, who lived between 1914 and 1987 and through the objects, Forman aims to interrogate the fallibility of longitudinal memory - what do we keep of our lives and how much is it a reminder to ourselves and how much about how we want others to remember us?
He asks why was this material kept and the rest discarded? What has determined his own selection of material for the exhibition? And how does the viewer’s interpretation confer significance to these memories?
In doing so he hopes to trigger our own ways of remembering.
The second part showcases a photographic project in Hackney which saw Forman take 365 photos of the same busy street crossing over a period of 18 months.
The photographs were not taken at the same time of day, nor always on consecutive days. And with the exception of two or three all were taken as soon as he arrived and set up his camera.
Thus Forman captures “a fleeting history” the momentary memory of that instant, as cyclists, pedestrians, cars and buses pass through “at great pace”.
Forman exhibits both the contact sheets of the original photographs and the drawings, paintings and lithographs that he made from them.
Presented as a slide show, Hackney Crossing 365 captures these brief interactions in an act of clandestine photography on one East London crossing.
In earlier work Forman has also recorded time passing and observed everyday street scenes. His Imminent Public Spaces and CCTV series, in which he painted pictures from an imaginary surveillance camera, examine both the act of watching, and being watched.
How Do We Remember? is at Highgate Gallery at the Highgate Literary and Scientific Insitution, 11, South Grove, March 29-April 1.