Louis Nixon’s work traces borders, most often making journeys by car and travelling the boundary of a landscape, particular site or territory where a route of circumvention may be dictated for geographical or political reasons. From within the car’s private space using fixed mounted cameras, he tracks a journey, making video footage of the exterior surround, which is subsequently combined with sculptural and painting work re-configured from it, in multi media installation.
His projects have engaged with the inherently political nature of travel - Mt Ararat , 2007, where he filmed the mountain by tracing the Turkish and Armenian border, Mt Judd, 2006 encircling the landmark hill /slag heap in Nuneaton, the continuously rolling Esso drum sculpture of Rolling Barrel, 2001 and a recent series’ of paintings of gemstones mined from disputed territories - and with the shifting forces that delineate territory, how land, its mass, marks, and minerals, are contained and viewed from borders.
For his show at Southard Reid Nixon presents the video work Island, 2012, comprising two 20 hour films that encompass the time taken for him to drive the 832 mile road that rings Iceland. Orbiting the entire country from its coastal border, one video captures the interior landscape, looking inwards at the glacial land mass, and the other, the exterior view towards the sea surrounding the island. Physical vastness and inaccessibility, captured in the two indiscriminating views, both monotonous and beautiful, coupled with the breadth of 40 hours of actual journey time in continuous loop and the impossibility of viewing in its totality, is compressed in to the frames of two stacked monitors. Nixon has produced a series of paintings extracted from frames within Island , titled with the requisite time code from which they occur in the video and installed alongside, they appear as multiple screens and in turn are distillations of points within the journey.
Louis Nixon graduated from the Slade in 1989. He founded the collective Space Explorations in 1990 and as artist and curator participated in their large-scale interventions in response to specific sites (Space Explorations’ archive and publications were included in Life / Live, Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris, 1996 and Century City, Tate Modern, London, 2000). Since 2001 his practice has been independent – his work has been exhibited widely in group shows and Biennale, selected solo exhibitions include Across the Border (dispari&dispari project, Italy, 2010), Everywhere, Nowhere (atelier 25, Italy, 2005), and Rolling Barrel (Station, Bristol, UK, 2001).