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HENSON, Bill, Untitled

Bill Henson is interested in the broad references of his photographic subjects rather than their specificity. This deliberate ambiguity works against the expectation that a photograph will represent a particular moment and place. While Untitled was taken in southern Italy, this island stands for all such islands and what they might represent in the viewer’s imagination.
 
The composition is simple: the island is centred within the image, its cleft echoed by the clouds behind, and the outer edges darkened as in a nineteenth-century vignette. Henson has carefully delineated the light on clouds, rock and water so that the whole photograph is animated and resonant. He uses the drama and highlights against the darkness, characteristic of Romantic or Symbolist paintings; Henson’s Untitled 2008–09 notably brings to mind the various versions of Die Toteninsel (Isle of the Dead) completed between 1880 and 1886 by Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin.

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Generated image of the artwork: Untitled

Untitled 2008-09

HENSON, Bill

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