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Alan Constable


1956 –

Alternate image of Untitled by Alan Constable
Alternate image of Untitled by Alan Constable
Alternate image of Untitled by Alan Constable
Alternate image of Untitled by Alan Constable
Alternate image of Untitled by Alan Constable
  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    earthenware, glaze
    12.0 x 24.0 x 10.0 cm
    Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors 2021
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Alan Constable

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Alan Constable

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Alan Constable’s ceramics practice can be characterised as a sustained exploration of a singular subject: the camera. The camera is an instrument of image making and, as such, functions as a means of visual representation. Yet Constable is not so much interested in the camera’s operational output as he is in what it signifies. For Constable, the camera itself carries meaning.

    Constable has been fascinated with cameras since he was a child, making replicas with the cardboard from cereal boxes at the age of eight. As an artist who is both legally blind and deaf, this preoccupation with ‘objects that see’ takes on resonant significance. Constable’s cameras are intimate monuments to optical devices that expand our understanding of what a camera can be. Though inert and non-functional, these cameras carry an open possibility. They are proxies for another kind of seeing.

    To make these works, Constable holds his source material millimetres away from his face, scanning and tracing its surface to commit it to memory. He then works quickly to transcribe the form – viewfinder, lens, buttons and all – in clay. This process is itself a kind of photographic act; it restages the capturing of an image that takes place with the click of a shutter but turns it into a tactile exchange. These sculptures are snapshots made by hand and as such they recalibrate the definition of photography itself. They explode material boundaries and allow us to recognise sight and perception as elastic ideas.

Other works by Alan Constable