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Anderson & Low's VOYAGES

19 May 2017


From the project Voyages. ©Anderson&Low All rights reserved 


Anderson & Low’s Voyages is an extraordinary reinterpretation of the Science Museum’s historical collection of ship models. It also represents a continued exploration of recurrent themes in the artists’ work: it studies the relationship between fantasy and perceived reality, pushing at the boundaries of what a photograph is ‘supposed to do’, and relating these concepts to art history.

In these photographs the artists have used the protective sheeting that covers the models as a prism, separating out an entire spectrum of previously hidden dramas. Looking at the ships through this additional layer has transformed both scale and context.



From the project Voyages. ©Anderson&Low All rights reserved


By creating these images, Anderson & Low have revealed associations with historical depictions of ships and seas, from Rembrandt to Turner as well as descriptions in literature and music. There is a sense of the heroic and the mythic as the model ships take on magical new forms. Some appear like legendary vessels emerging from fog to stalk and surprise an enemy, while others are seemingly lost and drifting at sea, or caught in a terrifying storm.

These inner dramas were present all along, awaiting discovery. The history of both science and art shows us that one can look at the world in different ways, and re-imagine what it might be. Turner said that ‘I paint what I see, not what I know to be there.’ The physicist William Bragg said ‘The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.’



From the project Voyages. ©Anderson&Low All rights reserved


The power of the images in this exhibition comes from looking at the world with fresh eyes, and in the process creating extraordinary voyages for the viewer.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” Marcel Proust

Having been displayed for almost half a century before the decommissioning of the Science Museum’s Shipping Galleries in 2012, the models have been subject to careful conservation over the intervening five year period. This new series of photographs by Anderson & Low gives new life to a valued part of the UK’s national collection.


Anderson Low

Voyages exhibition ©Anderson&Low All rights reserved


Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group, said: “Anderson & Low have found entirely new and original stories to tell of these old objects. I am thrilled that the Science Museum Group’s collections have been re-imagined and revealed in such an incisive and profound way.”



From the project Voyages. ©Anderson&Low All rights reserved


Jonathan Anderson and Edwin Low have been collaborating as Anderson & Low since 1990, and are known for bringing drama and mythic qualities to their wide-ranging work. Recurrent concepts bring unity to their output as a whole, whilst stylistic shifts allow them the best expression for each new project. They were official artists for the London 2012 Olympiad, were invited to create an art project based around the James Bond film Spectre, and created images for Star Wars VII; their project Manga Dreams was exhibited in the Venice Biennale.

Voyages, a book by Anderson & Low featuring 43 full-colour plates and contributions from Science Museum Group Director Ian Blatchford and Dr David Rooney, the Museum’s Keeper of Technologies and Engineering, will be published to accompany the exhibition.

The exhibition Voyages is on now until 25th June at  

Media Space

2nd Floor, Science Museum

Exhibition Road

London SW7

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