Lucy Gunning

Circa 106 review

Lucy Gunning: Quarry , video still; courtesy Spike Island

The focus of Lucy Gunning's three-month Moving Image Residency at Spike Island was a geological fascination for rocks and crystals. Quarry , the resulting work, addresses our material and emotional relationship with the landscape. On one side of a video screen, an explosion at a quarry plays relentlessly on a loop. Despite the ominous sound of an air-raid-style siren alerting workers to stand clear, the immediacy of the hand-held style and view of the landscape in section are absorbing enough for the eventual blast to come as a shock to the viewer. Video projected onto the other side of the screen shows a geologist discussing the collection of rocks and crystals stored in his kitchen and living room. His affection for the pieces is emphasized by the artist's choice not to reveal his face, drawing our attention not only to the sculptural qualities of the mineral specimens, but also to his careful handling of them and the strange beauty of the scientific language with which he explains their diverse forms. Gunning uses video with a sensitivity that exposes hidden complexity and the work's structural presentation aptly embodies a human desire for the earth that roams between tenderness, fascination and greed.
Victoria Walters is a Junior Fellow in Visual Culture at UWE Bristol.
Lucy Gunning: Quarry , Spike Island, Bristol, September/October 2003

Article reproduced from CIRCA 106, Winter 2003, p. 71.