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Wolverhampton Intellectual Repository and E-Theses > School of Art & Design > Centre for Art, Design, Research and Experimentation (CADRE) > Art, Society and Environment > A Month in the Country

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2436/10658
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Title: A Month in the Country
Authors: Cornford, Matthew
Issue Date: 2003
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2436/10658
Additional Links: http://www.active-media-solutions.co.uk/sadrae/mcornford/docs/a_month_in_the_country_2003.htm
Abstract: This commission called for a response to a historic photographic archive; we decided not to make new photographs but to hire existing ones, and appropriate them to focus attention on their ownership and control. Stock photography images may be understood as commodities in themselves, as signs produced in speculation of market demand. Such images are grouped in generic categories, which aim to ‘reflect current trends and aspirations’. The Corbis Corporation holds 70 million images, and is acknowledged as the world’s largest collection. Corbis is owned by the richest man in the world: Bill Gates, co-founder and chairman of Microsoft. We used our budget to hire images for one month, according to the conditions set by Corbis. Our picture search, ‘East Anglia Landscape’‚ yielded four images. Corbis permits its clients to produce prints of an image, whilst retaining ownership and control of the image’s appearance. After the contracted month, we kept the photographs on the gallery wall, but whitewashed over them. A Month in the Country trapped the image within the photograph, transforming the prints into abstract conceptual objects. During the Reformation, whitewash was used to obliterate paintings in Catholic churches, transforming them into austere places of worship. Today, a legacy of Modernism is the use of white painted walls as the defining visual statement of the art gallery. Within capitalism, whitewashing shop windows denotes bankruptcy. ‘A Month in the Country’ is the title of the novel by JL Carr, in which a young man attempts to recover from the trauma of the First World War. He spends his summer days in a mediaeval country church, meticulously revealing a biblical scene of damnation painted on the wall, which had been hidden by whitewash.
Type: Image
Language: en
Description: First exhibited at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Norfolk, England
Keywords: Corbis Corporation
Stock photography images
Appears in Collections: Art, Society and Environment

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