Personal profile

Biography

Fiona Crisp’s practice resides at the intersection of photography, sculpture and architecture where the limits and capabilities of both photography and video are explored through the making of large-scale installations. Her past projects have used sites that range from the Early Christian catacombs of Rome to a Dark Matter Laboratory in the UK’s deepest working mine; works from this period formed part of the solo, touring exhibition, Subterrania, that launched at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in 2009. A monograph, Hyper Passive, was published to coincide with the tour and surveyed Crisp’s work from the preceding decade.

Over a number of years Crisp has centred her research on the idea of ‘Negative Capability’ – a phrase first used by the poet John Keats to describe a desirable state of uncertainty and doubt. Keats’ idea is used to pursue the photographic object as an unstable and deeply equivocal phenomenon as evidenced in the installation, NegativeCapability: The Stourhead Cycle for Matt’s Gallery, London in 2012. This exhibition reflected Crisp’s long-term engagement with the visual, political and philosophical ‘construction’ of a view – a position reflected by her inclusion in the 2013 exhibition, Looking at the View, at Tate Britain.

Since this time Crisp has developed the idea of Productive Doubt as a mode of enquiry, particularly within cross-disciplinary spheres. To this end, her recent Leverhulme-funded Fellowship, Material Sight 2016-2018, used non-documentary photography and moving image to interrogate extremes of visual and imaginative representation in fundamental science and technology. Based at three world-leading research facilities - including the Laboratori Nazionale del Gran Sasso, sited inside a mountain in Italy - the research places artistic production in the spaces where experimental and theoretical science is performed, foregrounding the “site” or laboratory as a social, cultural, and political space where meaning is shaped and constructed rather than received or observed.

The exhibition Material Sight launched at the new Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in March 2018 and toured to Arts Catalyst, Centre for Art, Science and Technology, London June-July 2018. To coincide with the exhibitions a book, The Live Creature and Ethereal Things: Physics in Culture was published. Edited by Crisp and curator Nicola Triscott, the book is a collection of texts, images and conversations that present fundamental physics and the physics of the universe as human activities and cultural endeavours.

In 2023, the exhibition Weighting Time surveyed Crisp's work from the last 30 years. Spanning across two venues - Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art and Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens - the exhibition included a new public artwork, 'Belvedere' developed by Crisp for Sunderland's Mowbray Park.

Crisp is a founder member of the research group The Cultural Negotiation of Science (CNoS) that she co-leads with colleague Christine Borland. CNoS was inaugurated through the exhibition and symposium Extraordinary Renditions at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in 2013 and in 2023 the group celebrated it's 10th anniversary with the festival of research events, Institutional Fieldworking: CNoS@10.

Research interests

 

Fiona Crisp’s practice resides at the intersection of photography, sculpture and architecture where the limits and capabilities of both photography and video are explored through the making of large-scale installations. Her past projects have used sites that range from the Early Christian catacombs of Rome to a Dark Matter Laboratory in the UK’s deepest working mine; works from this period formed part of the solo, touring exhibition, Subterrania, that launched at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in 2009. A monograph, Hyper Passive, was published to coincide with the tour and surveyed Crisp’s work from the preceding decade.

Over a number of years Crisp has centred her research on the idea of ‘Negative Capability’ – a phrase first used by the poet John Keats to describe a desirable state of uncertainty and doubt. Keats’ idea is used to pursue the photographic object as an unstable and deeply equivocal phenomenon as evidenced in the installation, NegativeCapability: The Stourhead Cycle for Matt’s Gallery, London in 2012. This exhibition reflected Crisp’s long-term engagement with the visual, political and philosophical ‘construction’ of a view – a position reflected by her inclusion in the 2013 exhibition, Looking at the View, at Tate Britain.

Since this time Crisp has developed the idea of Productive Doubt as a mode of enquiry, particularly within cross-disciplinary spheres. To this end, her recent Leverhulme-funded Fellowship, Material Sight 2016-2018, used non-documentary photography and moving image to interrogate extremes of visual and imaginative representation in fundamental science and technology. Based at three world-leading research facilities - including the Laboratori Nazionale del Gran Sasso, sited inside a mountain in Italy - the research places artistic production in the spaces where experimental and theoretical science is performed, foregrounding the “site” or laboratory as a social, cultural, and political space where meaning is shaped and constructed rather than received or observed.

The exhibition Material Sight launched at the new Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in March 2018 and toured to Arts Catalyst, Centre for Art, Science and Technology, London June-July 2018. To coincide with the exhibitions a book, The Live Creature and Ethereal Things: Physics in Culture was published. Edited by Crisp and curator Nicola Triscott, the book is a collection of texts, images and conversations that present fundamental physics and the physics of the universe as human activities and cultural endeavours.

In 2023, the exhibition Weighting Time surveyed Crisp's work from the last 30 years. Spanning across two venues - Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art and Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens - the exhibition included a new public artwork, 'Belvedere' developed by Crisp for Sunderland's Mowbray Park.

Crisp is a founder member of the research group The Cultural Negotiation of Science (CNoS) that she co-leads with colleague Christine Borland. CNoS was inaugurated through the exhibition and symposium Extraordinary Renditions at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in 2013 and in 2023 the group celebrated it's 10th anniversary with the festival of research events, Institutional Fieldworking: CNoS@10.

Education/Academic qualification

Fine Art, MA (Hons), Slade School of Fine Art. UCL

1 Oct 19911 Jun 1993

Award Date: 30 Jun 1993

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    Fiona Crisp (Organiser)

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