Photographic Exhibition in the Tannery Gallery: Autographs from Llangollen – David Gepp
MOMA Cymru / Wales
18/08/2014 10:00am - 24/08/2014 4:00pm
A chance remark at a children’s party led to these silent signatures under ‘The Iron Bridge’ at Berwyn station, Llangollen. Merlyn spat on her glove and wiped some of the mud off. A fading trace became ‘James Candy… 23 Castle Street. Llangollen’. Around his signature were dotted others, dated in the time of the Great War, when these boy soldiers, sheltering from the rain, I expect, and sharing cigarettes, had passed the time as they waited for the train to take them towards the Front.
I have been back several times to Llangollen to record these ephemeral autographs, the marks and the monuments. It has been a delicate archeology, and a strange one. It will require more expert eyes than mine to finally decipher these traces, resolve these narratives – and in a sense it’s not the purpose of these pictures to reach closure – to be solved and resolved, and filed away – but to be a sad, open mystery. For each viewer to see, (and make new discoveries) and think and feel about, as they will.
When this project began I read the poetry of Wilfred Owen (born just down the road in Oswestry, and also killed in that War) and I started as I read:
‘…the dusk unearths old mournful odours,
In the garden unborn child souls wail
And the dead scribble on walls.’
[from ‘The Roads Also’]