In many ways we’re tempted to think of these pictures as performance photographs, if only because looking at them seems to be so much about imagining what might take place. There are stages strewn with detritus and others that are totally clean, others occupied by materials intended for some future event and yet others stacked with items that have no obvious connection to performance at all. Looking at these images it’s all a matter of expectations – the empty stage awaiting its action, like the blank page or the empty screen of the computer awaiting words. Tim Etchells
Empty Stages is an on-going photographic projectby Tim Etchells and Hugo Glendinning which documents empty stages around the world, in locations that range from amateur theatres, pubs, schools, conference centres, church halls, city theatres and working men's clubs. Through its catalogue of these temporarily deserted locations for performance, the work explores stages as spaces of imminence and expectation - inviting the viewer to imagine the different kinds of events that could take place in these locations. In Etchells’ and Glendinning’s images the charged or magical space of performance, the “other world” of the stage, is often shown with all the lights on, without mystery. Here the stage can be seen for what it is – a piece of architecture, a zone of possibility, but in the end not more and not less than a built container, a frame of variable dimensions, that is so many metres wide and so many metres deep, and so many metres high. For the exhibition at Carpe Diem, Etchells and Glendinning are adding a selection of new empty stages images take in theatres and other performance spaces in Lisbon.
Tim Etchells is an artist and a writer based in the UK whose work shifts between performance, visual art and fiction. He has worked in a wide variety of contexts, notably as the leader of the world-renowned Sheffield-based performance group Forced Entertainment. He is currently Professor of Performance at Lancaster University. In recent years he has exhibited widely in the context of visual arts, participating in biennales Manifesta 7 (2008) in Rovereto, Italy; Art Sheffield 2008; Goteborg Bienale (2009); October Salon Belgrade (2010) and Manifesta 9 (Parallel Projects) 2012. Recent publications include Vacuum Days (Storythings, 2012), While You Are With Us Here Tonight (LADA, 2013).
Hugo Glendinning has been working as a photographer for twenty eight years. His output stretches across the cultural industries from fine art collaborations in video and photography, through production and performance documentation to portrait work. He has worked with most leading British theatre and dance companies and is regularly commissioned by The RSC, National Theatre and Royal Opera House. He has published and exhibited work internationally, notably his continuing project of documentation and the investigation of performance photography with Tim Etchells and Forced Entertainment Theatre Company. His work with Paola Pivi, Martin Creed, Matthew Barney, Yinka Shonibare and Franko B recording both performances for camera and public performances or events are in private collections and museums around the world. A regular visiting lecturer at Universities around the UK, Hugo was an AHRC fellow at Exeter University in the Department of Drama between 2008-2011. In the last few years his collaboration with Professor Adrian Heathfield making performance lectures has developed into a range of other projects including a series of 5 films co-directed with Heathfiield of conversations with leading philosophers and thinkers.