A Month in the Country
artist Cornford & Cross
region 2 East (East)
index no. 05.2.01
about the media The book shows three projects inspired by a collection of historic photography housed in the collections of the Norfolk and Norwich Millenium Heritage Library, Norwich.
about the project The exhibition and book 'A Period Eye: Photography Now' highlights the role new photographic materials and technology play for 21st century photographers - which does not differ much from the early photographers before them. To celebrate this spirit of experimentation, three contemporary artists (Richard Billingham, Cornford & Cross and Sarah Jones) were commissioned to produce new work, inspired by a collection of historic photography now housed in the collections of the Norfolk and Norwich Millenium Heritage Library, Norwich.
The partnership Cornford & Cross did not take the collection of historic photograpy as a starting point; the word ‘collection’ triggered them to think of contemporary collections. They were fascinated by the pictures photographers make for the database Corbis. The database is used by – among others – companies that need images for their corporate publications. The images can be bought for a limited amount of time, after which they cannot be used anymore.
Cornford & Cross accessed the online image bank of Corbis and keyed in ‘East Anglia Landscape’ to conduct a picture search. This yielded only four images. They bought a month-long contract at Corbis to show the printed images in a gallery. After the month was over, Cornford & Cross whitewashed the glass of the frame the pictures were listed in. In this way, the image was erased (and thus the contract was not broken) but still present.
Cornford & Cross entitled the work ‘ A Month in the Country’, after the novel by J.L. Carr. In this novel a young man attempts to recover from the trauma of the First World War by spending his summer in a medieval country church, carefully revealing a painted Biblical scene on the wall that had been hidden by whitewash since the Reformation.
about artist and participants Matthew Cornford and David Cross have worked together since meeting at St Martins School of Art in 1987. Since that time they have created a body of work made both in the public realm and for galleries. In the main, their way of working has been to respond to a particular context or situation, by examining the problems that arise out of it. Accordingly, each of their projects has been radically different, not only in form but in function.
Equally, the artists have not worked in a single media, but produced sculpture and installations, worked with video and photography, and created one-off events and sound works.