Corrodium marks a major new body of work for the British artist Gina Soden. The series has developed over the last 10 months as Soden began to experiment with hand printing her imagery of abandoned buildings onto a variety of found materials. The process has developed in scale, ambition and range of surfaces including glass, reclaimed mirrors with foxing, copper sheets, aged aluminium sheets and steel.
Soden selects imagery from her journeys into abandoned territories and buildings throughout Europe and hand prints them onto the kind of rough surface she might have encountered on site when taking the original photograph. The work is then further developed through a process of corrosion as well occasionally the addition of gold leaf.
These works are original and take Soden’s journey one stage further beyond finding and capturing the extraordinary locations. Now the artwork will manifest itself in an organic way through the manipulation of various tools, chemicals, brushes, rollers, pliers, blowtorches and sanders.
The series title is invented from combining corrosion (evident from the decayed surface quality) and collodium which was an early photographic process used on tintypes and glass.
Soden’s work is typically recognised for symmetry and precision of composition. However, in this series, she puts herself in an uncomfortable position as the pursuit of the ideal and the perfect is no longer the aim. Instead the process is unpredictable and Soden has had to learn how to develop and incorporate beautiful accidents in her practice. The artist has gone from camera and tripod to a gas mark wearing experimenter.
The artist’s objective has always been to transport the viewer to locations she discovers, to demonstrate the beauty of decay and the poetry of ruins. Corrodium allows her to continue in this quest with a completely new and unique visual language. The work rewards longer looking and there is a new duality to the surface which can be abstract and highly textured in places through the use of gold leaf and mirror.
Text: Kate Bryan
Arts Broadcaster and Head of Collections Soho House and Co