Chris Wainwright works primarily through photography and video as a means of addressing issues related to light and energy, both natural and artificial, in urban and rural environments. The work is made as a direct response to ‘place’ and is often the result of an intervention, a temporary action or construction made for the camera as a unique form of witness for the recording of light. Wainwright is interested in the cause and effect relationship between urban and depopulated spaces and the way light is deployed as a form of illumination, communication, invasion and pollution. In particular his work addresses the pressing issues of climate change and how we as humans through our lifestyles and increasing demands for energy are leaving a potentially catastrophic legacy for our future generations.
The title, A Catalogue of Errors, is derived from the semaphore signal for ‘Error’. He has been working with semaphore as a semi-obsolete signalling system for a number of years and incorporating it into a series of photographic performances and actions. These works are made at night and sited adjacent to places where there have been natural disasters or sites of environmental fragility caused by human intervention and exploitation of resources. The work in this exhibition has mostly been made in the Tohoku region in Japan both before and after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. The more recent work has been made directly in coastal areas that have been severely affected by the events of March 2011.
Chris Wainwright is an artist, curator, Professor, Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges, at the University of the Arts London. He is currently a member of the Tate Britain Council and Chair of the Board of Trustees of Cape Farewell, an artist run organisation that promotes a cultural response to climate change.
His artistic practice is primarily in photography and video and his recent exhibitions include; Futureland Now at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, UK; Between Time and Space, Heijo Palace, Nara, Japan; The Moons of Higashiyama, Kodai-ji temple, Kyoto, Japan; Between Land and Sea at Box 38 Ostende, Belgium; Trauma at the Cultuurcentrum Brugge, Belgium.
He has co-curated a current major international touring exhibition for Cape Farewell called U-n-f-o-l-d that profiles the work of 23 artists addressing the issues of climate change. The exhibition has been shown in Vienna, London, Newcastle, Newlyn, Liverpool, Chicago and New York. Chris Wainwright’s photographic work is held in many major collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Arts Council England; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; the Polaroid Corporation, Boston, USA; and Unilever, London.