“I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours, 1905
“That wish to enter into an elusive element which had urged Cosimo into the trees, was still working now inside him unsatisfied, making him long for a more intimate link, a relationship which would bind him to each leaf and twig and feather and flutter.”
Italo Calvino, The Baron in the Trees, 1957
“Who has never killed an hour? Not casually or without thought, but carefully: a premeditated murder of minutes. The violence comes from a combination of giving up, not caring, and a resignation that getting past it is all you can hope to accomplish. So you kill the hour. You do not work, you do not read, you do not daydream. If you sleep it is not because you need to sleep. And when at last it is over, there is no evidence: no weapon, no blood, and no body. The only clue might be the shadows beneath your eyes or a terribly thin line near the corner of your mouth indicating something has been suffered, that in the privacy of your life you have lost something and the loss is too empty to share.”
Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves, 2000
"Perhaps the land sings? Hymns from the ocean, anthems from the mountains, love songs, eulogies, dirges... in voices beyond logic but heard in the bones. It is ourselves we hear, taking the habited and inhabited earth for a sounding board that amplifies the mute ripples of pleasure and anxiety that are always with us seeking concrete objects to latch onto."
Shorthand Notes From The Spirit, Vicki Goldberg, 2009
Ideas of form dissolve in Guy Dickinson’s photographs of the megalithic henge at Avebury. Instead it is the tiniest variations of texture, tone and surface that endlessly hold the eye. In these tender visual fields, where entire landscapes can be found in the space of a few square centimetres, the viewer encounters the unexpected intimacy and softness of geology - a geology that appears to be not fixed but delicately fluid.
In a departure of emphasis for Dickinson, technical complexity underpins this series of photographs, not for complexity’s sake, but as a means of experimenting with new expressions of atmosphere and place. Each of the twelve finished works is a composite structure, produced by layering seven separate exposures from three or four individual megaliths. The use of a range of lenses means that multiple scales as well as subjects are embedded within each interleaved image. At once abstract and concrete, they solicit engagement that is both cerebral and powerfully visceral.
In Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love, the medieval anchoress details a vision of a hazelnut lying in the palm of her hand. ‘I looked upon it with the eye of my understanding and thought, ‘What may this be?’ And it was answered generally thus, ‘It is all that is made. ’ I marvelled how it might last, for I thought it might suddenly have fallen to nothing for littleness”.
One of the enduring characteristics of Dickinson’s work is his openness to both the grand and the granular. There is no risk, one feels, that any detail will ‘fall to nothing for its littleness’. This is one of the many reasons why, for the duration that we look, we feel we are seeing in a different way.
‘Each leaf that brushed his face deepened his sadness and dread. Each leaf he passed he'd never pass again.
They rode over his face like veils, already some yellow, their veins like slender bones where the sun shone through them.’
Cormac McCarthy, Child of God, 1973