New works and exhibtions by London Group member Eric Fong
Abandoned and decaying in cardboard boxes, a collection of thousands of glass plate negatives of portraits of patients were found in a cluster of decommissioned mental asylums in Epsom, Surrey in the 1990s. The portraits were taken by asylum officials as visual records of the hospitalised patients, now out of sight and long forgotten. They were eventually salvaged and archived at Surrey History Centre, Woking.
Apparitions is a new project inspired by this fascinating collection. It focuses specifically on patients who were given pauper burials in the nearby Horton Cemetery, now an abandoned and derelict site, overgrown with trees, ivy, and brambles, and where all grave markers and headstones have been removed.
The works comprise large cyanotype prints (77x57cm) developed from digital scans of the glass plate negatives. Inspired by the thought that the patients’ decomposed bodies have become part of the soil below and the vegetal growth above, the cyanotypes are toned (dyed) with extract of ivy leaves foraged from the burial site.
Apparitions offers remembrance and re-visioning of these voiceless and long forgotten patients, who went through untold experiences in the asylums.
The research and development phase of Apparitions has been generously supported by King’s Artists, a residency at King’s College London, in collaboration with Dr Alana Harris, Reader in Modern British Social, Cultural and Gender History.
Espacio Gallery: Porous Light: Experimental, Alternative Process, Analogue Photography
Private View: Thursday 26 October, 6-9pm.
Exhibition: 25-29 October 2023 (I will be showing 4 works)
159 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 7DG
Nunnery Gallery: Bow Open 2023
Exhibition: 19 October – 17 December 2023 (I will be showing 1 work)
181 Bow Road, London, E3 2SJ
The works were also shown at
Horton Arts Centre: Cyanotype Apparitions
Exhibition: 10-14 October 2023 (I will be showing 4 works)
Haven Way, Epsom Surrey KT19 8NP (formerly a chapel for the asylums, located near Horton Cemetery)