SMBH Magazine Review

February 2014

SMBH Magazine Review’s WUD: Four Fictional Walks in the Woods:


Sometimes when a curator brings a group of artists together for a themed show the theme itself can be so specific there is a danger of losing connection with the viewing public. This is most common when a show is based on a particular book, as there is a high probability that many have not actually read the book. A certain amount of trust is involved then, that the images selected give a good impression of the theme.

WUD: Four Walks in the Fictional Woods, published by Tangerine Press in London, is based on Russell Hoban’s 1980 post-apocalyptic novel Riddley Walker, and one does not feel excluded or intimidated by not being familiar with that specific source material. WUD brings togetherAlexander Binder, Grant Willing, Ellie Davies and Jonathan Illingworth not by virtue of their respective curriculum vitae’s or aesthetic styles but by approach to the subject; the four photographers contribute four individual projects quite literally exploring woods. For Black Forest-born Binder this is a normal location for his idiosyncratic abnormal vision, the woods representing a very Northern European dreamscape environment. Of course this is well understood, as the woods were in pre-Christian and later in post-Napoleonic Europe a symbol of a natural and free society. While the woods can be seen as a place of unknown danger they can also be seen from within as a place of refuge. They embody the human psyche, being of structure and chaos, infused with magic and grim reality, elaborate tales and uncanny sounds.