Fiona Crisp is an artist and academic whose research resides at the intersection of photography, sculpture and architecture where the limits and capabilities of both photography and video are explored through the making of large-scale installations. Her past projects have used sites that range from the Early Christian catacombs of Rome to a Dark Matter Laboratory in the UK’s deepest working mine; works from this period formed part of the solo, touring exhibition, Subterrania. A monograph, Hyper Passive, was published to coincide with the tour and surveyed Crisp’s work from the preceding decade.
Crisp’s recent research has centred on the idea of ‘Negative Capability’ – a phrase first used by the poet John Keats to describe a desirable state of uncertainty and doubt. Keats’ idea is used to pursue the photographic object as an unstable and deeply equivocal phenomenon as evidenced in the installation, Negative Capability: The Stourhead Cycle for Matt’s Gallery, London. This exhibition reflected Crisp’s long-term engagement with the visual, political and philosophical ‘construction’ of a view – a position reflected by her inclusion in the exhibition, Looking at the View, at Tate Britain.
Keats’s phrase continues to be explored by Crisp in her current project, Material Sight, where non-documentary photography and video are used to interrogate extremes of visual and imaginative representation in fundamental science. Material Sight places artistic production in the spaces where experimental and theoretical science is performed, foregrounding the “site” or laboratory as a social, cultural, and political space where meaning is shaped and constructed rather than received or observed. Crisp was recently awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to work with a number of organisations including Boulby Underground Laboratory, UK; Arts Catalyst, London, UK; Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics, Durham University, UK; and Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso, Italy.
Fiona Crisp is an Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Art at Northumbria University, Newcastle, U.K and her work is represented by Matt’s Gallery, London. She is a founder member of the research group The Cultural Negotiation of Science (website under construction) and developed the exhibition and symposium Extraordinary Renditions for the British Science Festival in 2013.
Fiona Crisp’s work was published in the September 2015 issue of GeoHumanities
Crisp, F., 2015. Negative Capability: Imaging and Imagining Fundamental Science Through Productive Doubt. GeoHumanities, 1(1): 188–197. DOI: 10.1080/2373566X.2015.1073115