Gina Glover – Playgrounds of War (4 stars)

Gina Glover – Playgrounds of War

Evocative photography exhibition concerning militarized landscapes

A small child kitted out in wellies and a windbreaker stands with her hands covering her ears between large truck tracks in a desolate, barren, concrete landscape. This black and white photograph forms part of a 1980s series that shows the artist’s child playing in the grounds of the old nuclear missile base in Harrington, one of Britain’s most secret military sites.

London-born Gina Glover’s fascination with the psychic detritus of abandoned military bases comes from her own childhood confrontation with these landscapes. Not fully grasping the meaning of these haunting scenes at the time, today she plays unofficial archaeologist to the Harrington site and collaborates with local inhabitants to uncover some of the human stories. Her scanograms are taxonomic arrangements of the memorabilia of war that present bits of bomber aircraft, war kit, shells, bottles and so on.

Her pictures are evocative. Beautifully composed, with linear perspective and clear focal points, they guide the viewer’s eyes around the picture plane. For most of the photographs in the exhibition she used the primitive technology of pinhole photography. This technique of long exposures and layering of light creates dramatic effects, and softens the impact of a Cold War hangover.

The colour photographs capture pill boxes and other utilitarian rubble as exquisite ruins in the landscape, giving them a meaning beyond the paranoia they invoke. White clouds moving over spectacular blue skies make the landscapes surreal and mythical, haunted by the memories of old wars.

Streetlevel Photoworks, Glasgow, until Sun 7 Aug.

Gina Glover: Playgrounds of War

  • 4 stars

Glover presents poignant images of abandoned military bases in the UK, Germany and Eastern Europe.

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