Coinciding with the finale of the 2012 Paralympic Games, Lighthouse Gallery in Poole welcomes Sailing out of Grain from September 8th – 29th, an intimate portrait of Hilary Lister, the first disabled woman to sail solo around the UK. This new artwork by renowned artist Juan delGado captures her in a distinctive, mesmerising way.
Drawing on poetic and evocative images, Sailing out of Grain is a non-linear narrative split over 3 screens, with a nuanced, naturalistic soundscape.
Sailing out of Grain explores themes of dreams and reality, freedom and confinement, and challenges our perception of what constitutes the ‘perfect sports body’. It is the story of Hilary’s journey to regain her independence.
Creating the work Juan delGado’s approach is an experiential one: “I try to live whatever I am filming, immersing myself as far as possible. If it is sailing, I learn how to sail.”
Through this, the development of the project becomes an organic process. It also means that Juan better understands where to place his camera. For him, this is all important: his camera is a static observer, picking up as much as possible, capturing images and scenes but without influencing or interfering with them.
Some years ago he made a realisation: “the artist can’t help but impose some of himself on the piece, just by observing the subject. Then the images are always mediated by the viewer’s background and experiences… In a sense you are always going to fail – the ‘perfect’ portrait is impossible to achieve.” But it was this realisation that really freed Juan creatively. “I embrace it. I fragment it. By doing that I am hoping to get closer to the truth.”
In Sailing out of Grain Juan’s approach has been particularly effective. “I wanted to go beyond what most people might see of her. I wanted to show her complexity.” Juan’s fragmented, non-linear style does just that. The result is a mesmerising, inspiring experience.
Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts
Saturday 8th – Saturday 29th September