Interview - Matthew Buckingham
Alexander Kennedy talks to Matthew Buckingham about his new film installations at DCA
AK Tell us about the work you are showing at DCA.
MB The three larger projects on view at the DCA are each organized around some of the questions that arise when we look at the past through the shape of a person’s life. I wanted to begin with each figure’s relation to themselves and try to reconnect them to their own time, to the quotidian, and most importantly, to our own time.
AK How would you describe your relationship with the idea of History?
MB Whether or not we like it, or are even aware of it, we are constantly interpreting our past in order to navigate the present. I’m interested in what happens when we see this in connection with more self-conscious categories of history.
AK Would you say that Art is the truth to History’s lie?
MB By approaching something historically we are looking at it dynamically, over time. That usually means looking at a span of time outside of our experience which, in turn, means we must interpret. In that way we begin to make an argument of some kind. Bringing non-fiction narratives into the art context highlights this contract we’ve made with narrative and, I believe, puts the art viewer in a more critical position, where the responsibilities of interpretation are more obvious. I almost never employ fiction in my work, but the fact that it’s seen in the gallery raises that spectre and ushers in a degree of caution.
AK You have previously said that the cinema is a ‘placeless place’. Can this also be said of the gallery?
MB Yes, there is a much-remarked corollary of ‘neutrality’ between the so-called ‘white cube’ and ‘black box’ (which in art-terms is a sort of surrogate-cinema). There are differences, however, that I find important-differences of space, time and mobility. As art viewers we retain a different control over how we engage with the work. We decide how we move through the space and how much time we will devote to the work. We are more aware of our ‘editing’ process and hopefully see this in connection with the physical place (gallery, city, region) that we are in.
DCA, Dundee, until Sun 20 Jan.