Wrecked Matter, Andy Hughes

Beach Monster
Location: Swanage, Dorset, 2019
Media: C-Type Light Jet Print 30 x 40 Inches

Hughes traveled to Swanage in the summer of 2019, visiting and walking the paths and beaches that Nash most likely walked. Nash lived in various locations including Swanage, looking for objects and finding particular places that spoke to him. He often thought about “objects as personages”, for instance in his 1930s photographs of animal-like fallen trees, he called “monsters”. During his life he identified different kinds of monsters, from rusted anchors to Dorset dinosaurs to bomber planes; it was another way of rendering the English pastoral uncanny.

In his essay "The Life of the Inanimate Object", he wrote "the endowment of natural objects, organic but not human, with powers of personal influences..." and …merely because they are not perceived… To discover, for instance, the landscape of bleached objects is to open up endless possibilities of fresh adventure… But, you may protest, who in the world wants to bother their sight or understanding about a bleached object? That, however, is an entirely different matter. All these things under consideration here – stones, bones, empty fields, demolished houses and back gardens – all these have their trivial feature, as it were, their blind side; but, also, they have another character, and this is neither moral nor sentimental nor literary, but rather something strange and – for want of a better word, which may not exist – poetical".

Wrecked Matter Andy Hughes

Location: Near Ballard Cliff, Swanage, Dorset, England, 2019
Media: Digital C-Type print, 16 x 20 Inches

Wrecked Matter Andy Hughes

Location: Swanage, Dorset, England, 2019
Media: Digital C-Type print, 16 x 20 Inches



Hughes's journeys are part of an ongoing research project which is at its core connected to extended pilgrimages, which examine the notions of place, agency, and how Hughes' own position as an artist might align with Nash's fascination with materialism and the metaphysical. Paul Nash's ability to infuse everything, even inanimate matter, with a sense of vitality strikes a chord with Hughes. More than 80 years later, Jane Bennet echoed a similar notion in her book "Vibrant Matter," describing the idea that all matter pulsates with life.

Nash Pilgrimage

In the summer of 2018 and 2019, Hughes embarked on a coastal journey starting from Cornwall and passing through Somerset, Dorset, and the Kent Coast, with stops at Hastings and concluding at Dungeness. During this period, he found himself increasingly drawn to the works of Paul Nash, particularly Nash's writings and depictions of inanimate objects and wrecked materials like "Totes Meer" (Dead Sea) from 1940–1.  The painting depicts a coastal scene scattered with the wreckage of German bombers that crashed into the coastal marshes of southern England. The eerie presence suggested in Nash's portrayal of these materials resonated deeply with Hughes' own exploration of the seashore and the concept of lost matter.

Wrecked Matter Andy Hughes

Location: Sea Wall, Dymchurch, Kent, 2018
Media: Digital C-Type print, 16 x 20 Inches

Wrecked Matter Andy Hughes

Location: Sea Wall, Dymchurch, Kent, 2018
Media: Digital C-Type print, 16x20 Inches

Dymchurch Kent

Location: Sea Wall, Dymchurch, Kent, 2018
Media: Digital C-Type print, 16 x 20 Inches

Swanage Dorset

Location: Swanage, 2018
Media: Digital C-Type print, 16 x 20 Inches

Wrecked Matter

Location: Lyme Regis, Dorset, 2018
Media: Digital C-Type print, 16 x 20 Inches

Dominant Wave Theory

Location: Peveril Point,Swange, Dorset, 2018
Media: Digital C-Type print, 16 x 20 Inches

Dominant Wave Theory

Paul Nash, Totes Meer (Dead Sea), 1940–1

‘The thing looked to me suddenly, like a great inundating sea ... the breakers rearing up and crashing on the plain. … nothing moves, it is not water or even ice, it is something static and dead.’ - Paul Nash

Photo © Tate | CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported)
https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/nash-totes-meer-dead-sea-n05717

Dominant Wave Theory

In 1919 Nash moved to Dymchurch in Kent, beginning his well-known series of pictures of the sea, the breakwaters, and the long wall that prevents the sea from flooding Romney Marsh.

Photograph by Paul Nash 1889–1946 | Title: Black and white negative. Cottages, Dymchurch, Kent [c.1930–4] Photo © Tate |CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported) 
https://www.tate.org.uk/art/archive/items/tga-7050ph-219/nash-black-and-white-negative-cottages-dymchurch-kent

Wrecked Matter, Andy Hughes

Location: Hastings, 2018
Media: C-Type Light Jet Print 30 x 40 Inches

Wrecked Matter, Andy Hughes

Location: Derek Jarman's Garden, Dungeness, Kent
Media: Digital C-Type print, 16 x 20 Inches

Wrecked Matter, Andy Hughes

Location: Dungeness, Kent
Media: Digital C-Type print, 16 x 20 Inches


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