green postcard, Ibid Gallery, London, Curated by Max Henry, 2015
The exhibition green postcard considers the eponymous John Baldessari short film (1971) as a meme painting in today’s era of the meme. Its ramifications are felt in the today’s cult of digital gamesmanship where image is manipulatively used to affect perception. Early photography’s conjuring of the representational through a glass plate and chemical emulsion spelled the doom of painting. Digitization has made analog photography and celluloid film the new obsolescent “painting”. All three traditional mediums rely on chemical processes and metallurgical binding to leave an imprint now culminated by the inkjet printer, software applications, and the blinking screen.
Now it happened that in this drawer was a box containing some unexposed photographic plates and the ampoule of uranium bisulphate fell right on top of the box remaining there undisturbed for several weeks.
But when he developed his photographs he found that the plates were badly spoiled as if they had been previously exposed to light. This was very strange, since the plates had been carefully wrapped in thick black paper and yet never opened.
Turning over the ampoule in his hand is it possible he thought that this substance spontaneous and without any previous excitation, emits some invisible, highly penetrating radiation that can pass without difficulty through the cover of the box and black paper and effect the photographic emulsion?
To answer his question he repeated the experiment with some new plates and placed an iron key between the photographic plate and the ampoule. A few days later his hands were shaking with excitement as under the red lamp of the photographic darkroom, a diffuse silhouette of the key began to slowly appear against the darkening background of the negative.