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detox 2003-06


“I was drawn to the aesthetic addition that these lights have made to the urban landscape, the alluring quality of the blue light radiating from each space.” — David Blackmore 2006

Gallery Vassie is proud to present ‘Detox’, a powerful body of photographic work by Irish Photographer David Blackmore. Born in Dublin, Eire, he moved to London in 2003 where he is now based.

Over the past decade institutions and public sector organisations within Europe have initiated the use of blue (UV) lighting in certain areas of semi-public spaces, such as public toilets. These are specific spaces in which intravenous drug users have been known to frequent. The reasoning behind the presence of theses lights is that under blue light it is difficult to find a vein. Veins being blue/green in colour do not appear visible to the eye under such light therefore restricting intravenous drug abuse within these spaces.

The vibrancy of these vivid blue coloured spaces, gives a compelling sensation of calm and so the tranquil cobalt blue plays a dramatic contrast to the illuminations actual and intended purpose. “At first I did not know what purpose the lights served… Blue is my favourite colour. Studies have shown that most adults in the West, particularly in more northern countries, list blue as their favourite colour.”

The body of work 'detox' deals with the stark contrast that exists between this arresting colour and the functional purpose of its installation in public spaces. The work enters into a discourse surrounding addiction and the control of addiction and so our environment by the state and semi-public organisations. “For me each light apart from performing a desired function stands as a form of vigil or warning light in the same way a lighthouse warns ships.” 'detox' was short-listed in the documentary category for the 2005 Next Level: Vorsprung durch Technik Photography awards and has been awarded a Merit Distinction by Fuji Film.

Blackmore has exhibited widely throughout the UK and Ireland, Germany, Malaysia and Canada. His work is held in both public and private collections throughout Europe and China. He also teaches photography at the University College for the Creative Arts, Farnham, Surrey in the UK and in 2002 Blackmore also became a co-founder of Epoch Exhibitions, an organisation set up to showcase the work of emerging photographic artists. All work is available for purchase.

Earlier Event: 16 September
New York in the 1930s - 50s
Later Event: 20 January
Between Dog & Wolf