Keith Arnatt’s exhibition Eden 69–89 at Sprüth Magers, London, mixes photographs taken around Arnatt’s home on the Welsh border with physical interventions, proposals and jokes that targeted his own and others’ conceptual interests of the late ’60s and early ’70s.

In texts and contextual interventions shown alongside color and black-and-white photographic works of the ’70s and ’80s, there are surprising connections: facileness of analysis to contrast with a Beckettian poetics, repetition and excess, the totemic and beautiful, the sharply reductive; the individual, its breakdown in parts.

 

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

 

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Type-Token Work, 1970
Looped recording, playback device, wall graphic
Edition of 1 + 1 AP

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The theme of a quick compression or flattening of the analytic moment of conceptual art is consistent throughout Arnatt’s early works. It is in the sound intervention Type-Token Work (1970) shown here in its New York Cultural Center, 1971 form, a plinth-mounted playback device repeating “Now” at a four-minute interval next to a wall graphic that reads “NOW.”

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Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Type-Token Work, 1970
Looped recording, playback device, wall graphic
Edition of 1 + 1 AP

Keith Arnatt
Type-Token Work, 1970
Looped recording, playback device, wall graphic
Edition of 1 + 1 AP

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Type-Token Work, 1970

Keith Arnatt
Type-Token Work, 1970

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The theme of a quick compression or flattening of the analytic moment of conceptual art is consistent throughout Arnatt’s early works. It is in the sound intervention Type-Token Work (1970) shown here in its New York Cultural Center, 1971 form, a plinth-mounted playback device repeating “Now” at a four-minute interval next to a wall graphic that reads “NOW.”

The work is a near paradoxical minimal thing, a materialized “now” that extinguishes any sensorial claim to isolate any condition of its experience. The “type-token” distinction is a formal distinction between “type” of a thing and its occurrences. Arnatt used the distinction in Type-Token Work to dramatize conceptual art’s contemporaneous analytic isolating of idea and object. Strictly speaking “now” is an idealization, there is no now to contrast with the idea of a now in the artwork. “Now” doesn’t index anything.

 

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
A tape of a packet of crisps being eaten, c. 1969–70
Type on card, license to perform the instruction
6 × 14 cm
2 3/8 × 5 1/2 inches

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Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
A tape of a packet of crisps being eaten, c. 1969–70
Type on card, license to perform the instruction
6 × 14 cm
2 3/8 × 5 1/2 inches

Keith Arnatt
A tape of a packet of crisps being eaten, c. 1969–70
Type on card, license to perform the instruction
6 × 14 cm
2 3/8 × 5 1/2 inches

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
A tape of a packet of crisps being eaten, c. 1969–70 (looped instruction recording)

Keith Arnatt
A tape of a packet of crisps being eaten, c. 1969–70 (looped instruction recording)

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The work Suspended Mirror (1969) is a photograph of an action, the photographing of a reflection in a mirror suspended in the artist’s garden. In its final form, the photograph is both the work and identifies the work. As Arnatt sees it, dissecting elements as material or conceptual in artworks risks constructing a cartoonish representation of the functioning of artworks.

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Suspended Mirror, 1969
Vintage silver gelatin print
17 × 17 cm (image)
6 3/4 × 6 3/4 inches (image)
54.1 × 43.6 cm (framed)
21 1/4 × 17 1/8 inches (framed)

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Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Suspended Mirror, 1969
Vintage silver gelatin print
17 × 17 cm (image)
6 3/4 × 6 3/4 inches (image)
54.1 × 43.6 cm (framed)
21 1/4 × 17 1/8 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt
Suspended Mirror, 1969
Vintage silver gelatin print
17 × 17 cm (image)
6 3/4 × 6 3/4 inches (image)
54.1 × 43.6 cm (framed)
21 1/4 × 17 1/8 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Suspended Mirror, 1969

Keith Arnatt
Suspended Mirror, 1969

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Eden 69–89, installation view, Sprüth Magers, London, November 22, 2023–February 3, 2024

Keith Arnatt
Eden 69–89, installation view, Sprüth Magers, London, November 22, 2023–February 3, 2024

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The work Suspended Mirror (1969) is a photograph of an action, the photographing of a reflection in a mirror suspended in the artist’s garden. In its final form, the photograph is both the work and identifies the work. As Arnatt sees it, dissecting elements as material or conceptual in artworks risks constructing a cartoonish representation of the functioning of artworks.

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

 

Pooping, shitting, defecating was a theme in early works intended to demystify the process of art making, theorizing art making. Defecation Piece draws attention to process as pseudo document and vice versa. A shit, found, perhaps done by one of his dogs, becomes visible and then prominent in a sequence of 6 images.

 

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Defecation Piece, 1969 (printed 2023)
Six digital c-type prints
14.5 × 14.5 cm each (image)
5 3/4 × 5 3/4 inches each (image)
28.1 × 113 cm (framed)
11 × 44 1/2 inches (framed)
Edition of 8 + 2 APs

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Details
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Defecation Piece, 1969 (printed 2023)
Six digital c-type prints
14.5 × 14.5 cm each (image)
5 3/4 × 5 3/4 inches each (image)
28.1 × 113 cm (framed)
11 × 44 1/2 inches (framed)
Edition of 8 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt
Defecation Piece, 1969 (printed 2023)
Six digital c-type prints
14.5 × 14.5 cm each (image)
5 3/4 × 5 3/4 inches each (image)
28.1 × 113 cm (framed)
11 × 44 1/2 inches (framed)
Edition of 8 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Defecation Piece, 1969/2023 (detail)

Keith Arnatt
Defecation Piece, 1969/2023 (detail)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Defecation Piece, 1969/2023 (detail)

Keith Arnatt
Defecation Piece, 1969/2023 (detail)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Defecation Piece, 1969/2023 (detail)

Keith Arnatt
Defecation Piece, 1969/2023 (detail)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Defecation Piece, 1969/2023 (detail)

Keith Arnatt
Defecation Piece, 1969/2023 (detail)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Defecation Piece, 1969/2023 (detail)

Keith Arnatt
Defecation Piece, 1969/2023 (detail)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Defecation Piece, 1969/2023 (detail)

Keith Arnatt
Defecation Piece, 1969/2023 (detail)

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Defecation Piece (1969) is an early example of a contextual play between what Arnatt would describe as a “nominal” subject – a shit – and its environment, here a picturesque sweep in a forest road. In linear progression the 6 images uncover – as a metaphor for process in art – a process involving both matter as sheer product and matter as concentrated material of process.

 

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

 

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Walking the Dog, 1976–77
Vintage silver gelatin print, artist’s print
25 × 25 cm (image)
9 7/8 × 9 7/8 inches (image)
48.6 × 38.6 cm (framed)
19 1/8 × 15 1/8 inches (framed)

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Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Walking the Dog, 1976–77
Vintage silver gelatin print, artist’s print
25 × 25 cm (image)
9 7/8 × 9 7/8 inches (image)
48.6 × 38.6 cm (framed)
19 1/8 × 15 1/8 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt
Walking the Dog, 1976–77
Vintage silver gelatin print, artist’s print
25 × 25 cm (image)
9 7/8 × 9 7/8 inches (image)
48.6 × 38.6 cm (framed)
19 1/8 × 15 1/8 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Walking the Dog, 1976–77

Keith Arnatt
Walking the Dog, 1976–77

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Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Walking the Dog, 1976–77
Vintage silver gelatin print, artist’s print
25 × 25 cm (image)
9 7/8 × 9 7/8 inches (image)
48.6 × 38.6 cm (framed)
19 1/8 × 15 1/8 inches (framed)

More views
Details
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Walking the Dog, 1976–77
Vintage silver gelatin print, artist’s print
25 × 25 cm (image)
9 7/8 × 9 7/8 inches (image)
48.6 × 38.6 cm (framed)
19 1/8 × 15 1/8 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt
Walking the Dog, 1976–77
Vintage silver gelatin print, artist’s print
25 × 25 cm (image)
9 7/8 × 9 7/8 inches (image)
48.6 × 38.6 cm (framed)
19 1/8 × 15 1/8 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Walking the Dog, 1976–77

Keith Arnatt
Walking the Dog, 1976–77

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By the mid-70s, the period of photographic work Walking the Dog (1976–77), there was a redirecting of earlier self-reflexive preoccupations. This was a shift to incorporate an informational (relating to Arnatt’s subjects) as well as sensual, spectral fullness in images. In works, this took the form of a kind of relaxed but specific pictorial encoding in images of the narrowed world around him, the twenty or so miles of the isolated rural and post-industrial fringes of west Gloucestershire and its Welsh border.

 

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

 

Throughout the exhibited works there is an interest in the tension between a type of formal directness, and reference, coded, to painting invoking the picturesque and Arcadian. On the one hand, there is the type of brutal or unflinching realism reflected in subject matter (as in Defecation Piece) and on the other, emphasized in the informational content of later photographic works, a type of interest in and deference to art historical subject matters as almost classically encoded. In this respect Arnatt’s interest in landscape directly relates photographic works at root to histories of uses of imagery in the art tradition.

 

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79
Five vintage silver gelatin prints, artist’s prints
22.5 × 22.5 cm each (image)
8 7/8 × 8 7/8 inches each (image)
31.6 × 126.6 cm (framed)
12 3/8 × 49 7/8 inches (framed)

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Details
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79
Five vintage silver gelatin prints, artist’s prints
22.5 × 22.5 cm each (image)
8 7/8 × 8 7/8 inches each (image)
31.6 × 126.6 cm (framed)
12 3/8 × 49 7/8 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79
Five vintage silver gelatin prints, artist’s prints
22.5 × 22.5 cm each (image)
8 7/8 × 8 7/8 inches each (image)
31.6 × 126.6 cm (framed)
12 3/8 × 49 7/8 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (detail)

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (detail)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (detail)

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (detail)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (detail)

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (detail)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (detail)

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (detail)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (detail)

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (detail)

Details
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For Gardeners (1978–79) he had scouted gardens for both background detail and “personnel.” The architectural, decorative details present in backgrounds in connection with the formality of the poses of subjects suggests again a kind of coordination and complementation of subject and scene considered in some sense objectified, that objectification just softened in comparison with earlier analytic works. Arnatt was working with a medium format camera on a tripod and there was a time commitment and period of engagement with his subjects involved in getting a picture. Naturalness as such wasn’t an issue.

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (printed 2019)
Silver gelatin print
28 × 28 cm (image)
11 × 11 inches (image)
52.3 × 43.8 cm (framed)
20 5/8 × 17 1/4 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

More views
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (printed 2023)
Silver gelatin print
28 × 28 cm (image)
11 × 11 inches (image)
52.3 × 43.8 cm (framed)
20 5/8 × 17 1/4 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

More views
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (printed 2019)
Silver gelatin print
28 × 28 cm (image)
11 × 11 inches (image)
52.3 × 43.8 cm (framed)
20 5/8 × 17 1/4 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

More views
Details
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (printed 2019)
Silver gelatin print
28 × 28 cm (image)
11 × 11 inches (image)
52.3 × 43.8 cm (framed)
20 5/8 × 17 1/4 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (printed 2019)
Silver gelatin print
28 × 28 cm (image)
11 × 11 inches (image)
52.3 × 43.8 cm (framed)
20 5/8 × 17 1/4 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (printed 2019)

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (printed 2019)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (printed 2023)
Silver gelatin print
28 × 28 cm (image)
11 × 11 inches (image)
52.3 × 43.8 cm (framed)
20 5/8 × 17 1/4 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (printed 2023)
Silver gelatin print
28 × 28 cm (image)
11 × 11 inches (image)
52.3 × 43.8 cm (framed)
20 5/8 × 17 1/4 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (printed 2023)

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (printed 2023)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (printed 2019)
Silver gelatin print
28 × 28 cm (image)
11 × 11 inches (image)
52.3 × 43.8 cm (framed)
20 5/8 × 17 1/4 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (printed 2019)
Silver gelatin print
28 × 28 cm (image)
11 × 11 inches (image)
52.3 × 43.8 cm (framed)
20 5/8 × 17 1/4 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (printed 2019)

Keith Arnatt
Gardeners, 1978–79 (printed 2019)

Details
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For Gardeners (1978–79) he had scouted gardens for both background detail and “personnel.” The architectural, decorative details present in backgrounds in connection with the formality of the poses of subjects suggests again a kind of coordination and complementation of subject and scene considered in some sense objectified, that objectification just softened in comparison with earlier analytic works. Arnatt was working with a medium format camera on a tripod and there was a time commitment and period of engagement with his subjects involved in getting a picture. Naturalness as such wasn’t an issue.

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

 

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Trees, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
30.5 × 39 cm (image)
12 × 15 3/8 inches (image)
42.9 × 53.7 cm (framed)
17 × 21 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

More views
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Trees, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
30.5 × 39 cm (image)
12 × 15 3/8 inches (image)
42.9 × 53.7 cm (framed)
17 × 21 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

More views

Trees and Reece’s Yard (both c. 1987) which show both details of nature and buildings taken in architectonic detail are relatively abstracted compared to images in The Forest (1986). Arnatt is flexible in terms of letting groupings of works separate out and interact with other works in terms of thematic devices, one can trace sub-themes or plots in groupings of works over periods of time or within larger groupings.

Details
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Trees, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
30.5 × 39 cm (image)
12 × 15 3/8 inches (image)
42.9 × 53.7 cm (framed)
17 × 21 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt
Trees, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
30.5 × 39 cm (image)
12 × 15 3/8 inches (image)
42.9 × 53.7 cm (framed)
17 × 21 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Trees, c. 1987 (printed 2023)

Keith Arnatt
Trees, c. 1987 (printed 2023)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Trees, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
30.5 × 39 cm (image)
12 × 15 3/8 inches (image)
42.9 × 53.7 cm (framed)
17 × 21 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt
Trees, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
30.5 × 39 cm (image)
12 × 15 3/8 inches (image)
42.9 × 53.7 cm (framed)
17 × 21 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Trees, c. 1987 (printed 2023)

Keith Arnatt
Trees, c. 1987 (printed 2023)

Details
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Trees and Reece’s Yard (both c. 1987) which show both details of nature and buildings taken in architectonic detail are relatively abstracted compared to images in The Forest (1986). Arnatt is flexible in terms of letting groupings of works separate out and interact with other works in terms of thematic devices, one can trace sub-themes or plots in groupings of works over periods of time or within larger groupings.

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

 

Devices like these groupings had helped sustain the idea that he was working in that same tradition of documentation that underwrites earlier conceptual work (and, differently, interest in the American and European serial or topographic and typological traditions). Trees marks a shift or relaxation in subject matter in that theme is less directly coded into pictorial repetitions.

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
The Forest, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
30.5 × 39 cm (image)
12 × 15 3/8 inches (image)
42.9 × 53.7 cm (framed)
17 × 21 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

More views
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
The Forest, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
30.5 × 39 cm (image)
12 × 15 3/8 inches (image)
42.9 × 53.7 cm (framed)
17 × 21 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

More views
Details
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
The Forest, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
30.5 × 39 cm (image)
12 × 15 3/8 inches (image)
42.9 × 53.7 cm (framed)
17 × 21 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt
The Forest, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
30.5 × 39 cm (image)
12 × 15 3/8 inches (image)
42.9 × 53.7 cm (framed)
17 × 21 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
The Forest, c. 1987 (printed 2023)

Keith Arnatt
The Forest, c. 1987 (printed 2023)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
The Forest, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
30.5 × 39 cm (image)
12 × 15 3/8 inches (image)
42.9 × 53.7 cm (framed)
17 × 21 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt
The Forest, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
30.5 × 39 cm (image)
12 × 15 3/8 inches (image)
42.9 × 53.7 cm (framed)
17 × 21 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
The Forest, c. 1987 (printed 2023)

Keith Arnatt
The Forest, c. 1987 (printed 2023)

Details
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1 of 2

Devices like these groupings had helped sustain the idea that he was working in that same tradition of documentation that underwrites earlier conceptual work (and, differently, interest in the American and European serial or topographic and typological traditions). Trees marks a shift or relaxation in subject matter in that theme is less directly coded into pictorial repetitions.

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

 

Unlike in the majority of the related series, The Forest, relaxes from a rather specific subject matter into more abstracted imagery deploying mannerisms as he saw them associated with pictorial depictions of neglect revealed in rural and decaying industrial architectural detail. Similarly, in Reece’s Yard (c. 1987), there is a completely embracing silver light lying on top of everything: lorry tire marks, part-built breeze block walls, the mud. Arnatt never treats anything as detritus; everything has a value.

 

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Reece’s Yard, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
39 × 49 cm (image)
15 3/8 × 19 1/4 inches (image)
53.9 × 63.9 cm (framed)
21 1/8 × 25 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

More views
Details
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Reece’s Yard, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
39 × 49 cm (image)
15 3/8 × 19 1/4 inches (image)
53.9 × 63.9 cm (framed)
21 1/8 × 25 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt
Reece’s Yard, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
39 × 49 cm (image)
15 3/8 × 19 1/4 inches (image)
53.9 × 63.9 cm (framed)
21 1/8 × 25 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Reece’s Yard, c. 1987 (printed 2023)

Keith Arnatt
Reece’s Yard, c. 1987 (printed 2023)

Details
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Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Reece’s Yard, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
39 × 49 cm (image)
15 3/8 × 19 1/4 inches (image)
53.9 × 63.9 cm (framed)
21 1/8 × 25 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

More views
Details
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Reece’s Yard, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
39 × 49 cm (image)
15 3/8 × 19 1/4 inches (image)
53.9 × 63.9 cm (framed)
21 1/8 × 25 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt
Reece’s Yard, c. 1987 (printed 2023)
Black and white print on resin coated paper
39 × 49 cm (image)
15 3/8 × 19 1/4 inches (image)
53.9 × 63.9 cm (framed)
21 1/8 × 25 1/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Reece’s Yard, c. 1987 (printed 2023)

Keith Arnatt
Reece’s Yard, c. 1987 (printed 2023)

Details
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Whilst Gardeners (1978–79) seems an achievement both of his subjects, the gardeners, and technical and social mechanics, as managed by him, the later Backs (c. 1987–88), which shows details of commercial yards, is different in conforming outwardly in type of content to numbers of photographic works – through, say, Eugène Atget or Berenice Abbott to Lewis Baltz – that favored a kind of distancing pictorial realism resolved too in terms of minute, telling detail and placement.

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Backs, c. 1987–88
Vintage silver gelatin print, artist's print
9.5 × 11.9 cm (image)
3 3/4 × 4 3/4 inches (image)
31.6 × 25.6 cm (framed)
12 3/8 × 10 inches (framed)

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Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Backs, c. 1987–88
Vintage silver gelatin print, artist’s print
9.5 × 11.9 cm (image)
3 3/4 × 4 3/4 inches (image)
31.6 × 25.6 cm (framed)
12 3/8 × 10 inches (framed)

More views
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Backs, c. 1987–88
Vintage silver gelatin print, artist’s print
9.5 × 11.9 cm (image)
3 3/4 × 4 3/4 inches (image)
31.6 × 25.6 cm (framed)
12 3/8 × 10 inches (framed)

More views
Details
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Backs, c. 1987–88
Vintage silver gelatin print, artist's print
9.5 × 11.9 cm (image)
3 3/4 × 4 3/4 inches (image)
31.6 × 25.6 cm (framed)
12 3/8 × 10 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt
Backs, c. 1987–88
Vintage silver gelatin print, artist's print
9.5 × 11.9 cm (image)
3 3/4 × 4 3/4 inches (image)
31.6 × 25.6 cm (framed)
12 3/8 × 10 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Backs, c. 1987–88

Keith Arnatt
Backs, c. 1987–88

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Backs, c. 1987–88
Vintage silver gelatin print, artist’s print
9.5 × 11.9 cm (image)
3 3/4 × 4 3/4 inches (image)
31.6 × 25.6 cm (framed)
12 3/8 × 10 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt
Backs, c. 1987–88
Vintage silver gelatin print, artist’s print
9.5 × 11.9 cm (image)
3 3/4 × 4 3/4 inches (image)
31.6 × 25.6 cm (framed)
12 3/8 × 10 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Backs, c. 1987–88

Keith Arnatt
Backs, c. 1987–88

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Backs, c. 1987–88
Vintage silver gelatin print, artist’s print
9.5 × 11.9 cm (image)
3 3/4 × 4 3/4 inches (image)
31.6 × 25.6 cm (framed)
12 3/8 × 10 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt
Backs, c. 1987–88
Vintage silver gelatin print, artist’s print
9.5 × 11.9 cm (image)
3 3/4 × 4 3/4 inches (image)
31.6 × 25.6 cm (framed)
12 3/8 × 10 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Backs, c. 1987–88

Keith Arnatt
Backs, c. 1987–88

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Whilst Gardeners (1978–79) seems an achievement both of his subjects, the gardeners, and technical and social mechanics, as managed by him, the later Backs (c. 1987–88), which shows details of commercial yards, is different in conforming outwardly in type of content to numbers of photographic works – through, say, Eugène Atget or Berenice Abbott to Lewis Baltz – that favored a kind of distancing pictorial realism resolved too in terms of minute, telling detail and placement.

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

 

Color photographs – from the darker Howlers Hill (1987–88) (Howlers Hill was a landfill site in the Forest of Dean) and from Pictures from a Rubbish Tip (1988–89) – sublimate aspects of that valuing and, richly suggestive as they are, float distant from a notion of depicting as in any way directly serially reducible, not to be seen as particulates for which one took a heightened, divisible responsibility.

 

The themes of Pictures from a Rubbish Tip are not inconsistent with the black and white Reece’s Yard. Written about at the time Arnatt was taken as reveling in a directly ironising use of squalid subject matter where there would be an obvious available allusion to the tradition of still-life painting in its standardly transformational depictions of decay. Actually Arnatt was concerned with a camera’s rendering of transformations associated with that tradition connected with pictorial conventions and symbolism set within precisely the tradition discussed.

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Pictures from a Rubbish Tip, 1988–89
Vintage color print, artist’s print
14.4 × 17.6 cm (image)
5 3/4 × 7 inches (image)
34.2 × 26.7 cm (framed)
13 1/2 × 10 1/2 inches (framed)

More views
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Pictures from a Rubbish Tip, 1988–89
Vintage color print, artist’s print
14.4 × 17.6 cm (image)
5 3/4 × 7 inches (image)
34.2 × 26.7 cm (framed)
13 1/2 × 10 1/2 inches (framed)

More views
Details
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Pictures from a Rubbish Tip, 1988–89
Vintage color print, artist’s print
14.4 × 17.6 cm (image)
5 3/4 × 7 inches (image)
34.2 × 26.7 cm (framed)
13 1/2 × 10 1/2 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt
Pictures from a Rubbish Tip, 1988–89
Vintage color print, artist’s print
14.4 × 17.6 cm (image)
5 3/4 × 7 inches (image)
34.2 × 26.7 cm (framed)
13 1/2 × 10 1/2 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Pictures from a Rubbish Tip, 1988–89

Keith Arnatt
Pictures from a Rubbish Tip, 1988–89

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Pictures from a Rubbish Tip, 1988–89
Vintage color print, artist’s print
14.4 × 17.6 cm (image)
5 3/4 × 7 inches (image)
34.2 × 26.7 cm (framed)
13 1/2 × 10 1/2 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt
Pictures from a Rubbish Tip, 1988–89
Vintage color print, artist’s print
14.4 × 17.6 cm (image)
5 3/4 × 7 inches (image)
34.2 × 26.7 cm (framed)
13 1/2 × 10 1/2 inches (framed)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Pictures from a Rubbish Tip, 1988–89

Keith Arnatt
Pictures from a Rubbish Tip, 1988–89

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 2

The themes of Pictures from a Rubbish Tip are not inconsistent with the black and white Reece’s Yard. Written about at the time Arnatt was taken as reveling in a directly ironising use of squalid subject matter where there would be an obvious available allusion to the tradition of still-life painting in its standardly transformational depictions of decay. Actually Arnatt was concerned with a camera’s rendering of transformations associated with that tradition connected with pictorial conventions and symbolism set within precisely the tradition discussed.

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

 

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Howlers Hill, c. 1987–88 (printed 2023)
Color print, mounted on aluminum
59.8 × 59.8 cm (image)
23 1/2 × 23 1/2 inches (image)
87.8 × 75.2 cm (framed)
34 5/8 × 29 5/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

More views
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Howlers Hill, c. 1987–88
Color print, mounted on aluminum
59.8 × 59.8 cm (image)
23 1/2 × 23 1/2 inches (image)
87.8 × 75.2 cm (framed)
34 5/8 × 29 5/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

More views

Howlers Hill were thematically a different kind of development of the subject matters of Pictures from a Rubbish Tip. They involve a kind of reanimation and transfiguration in groupings of pictured details: a particular transparency in color of a plastic bag, a richness in tone of some rotting fruit, a jauntiness of angle of a drinks can, reconstituted in pictorial space as reference to the chaotic, the sublime.

Details
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Howlers Hill, c. 1987–88 (printed 2023)
Color print, mounted on aluminum
59.8 × 59.8 cm (image)
23 1/2 × 23 1/2 inches (image)
87.8 × 75.2 cm (framed)
34 5/8 × 29 5/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt
Howlers Hill, c. 1987–88 (printed 2023)
Color print, mounted on aluminum
59.8 × 59.8 cm (image)
23 1/2 × 23 1/2 inches (image)
87.8 × 75.2 cm (framed)
34 5/8 × 29 5/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Howlers Hill, c. 1987–88 (printed 2023)

Keith Arnatt
Howlers Hill, c. 1987–88 (printed 2023)

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Howlers Hill, c. 1987–88
Color print, mounted on aluminum
59.8 × 59.8 cm (image)
23 1/2 × 23 1/2 inches (image)
87.8 × 75.2 cm (framed)
34 5/8 × 29 5/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt
Howlers Hill, c. 1987–88
Color print, mounted on aluminum
59.8 × 59.8 cm (image)
23 1/2 × 23 1/2 inches (image)
87.8 × 75.2 cm (framed)
34 5/8 × 29 5/8 inches (framed)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London
Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

Keith Arnatt
Howlers Hill, c. 1987–88

Keith Arnatt
Howlers Hill, c. 1987–88

Details
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1 of 2

Howlers Hill were thematically a different kind of development of the subject matters of Pictures from a Rubbish Tip. They involve a kind of reanimation and transfiguration in groupings of pictured details: a particular transparency in color of a plastic bag, a richness in tone of some rotting fruit, a jauntiness of angle of a drinks can, reconstituted in pictorial space as reference to the chaotic, the sublime.

Describing Howlers Hill in his catalogue essay for Arnatt’s 1989 retrospective exhibition, Ian Walker writes of “A particular combination of blue, tawny brown and gold [that] recalls Venetian painting, a swirl of black plastic has a baroque opulence of form. Arnatt gets close up now; he is in there with the rubbish, filling the frame in a vertical mass . . . ” Throughout the works, the Edenic encompasses the ugly as special too and is recast as a visual ache, for loss in the reconstitution of the self as consciousness of one’s knowing effect on the fullness of things.

 

Keith Arnatt – Eden 69–89 – London

All installation views: Ben Westoby