The commonly used phrase ‘The Art of Travel‘ describes both the philosophical enjoyment and intellectual approach to travelling but also the depiction of the experience and its history. As an inveterate traveller myself, an avid reader, dealer and collector of travel books, with a family history rich in tales of adventure, stretching from the Congo to St Petersburg, I have spent most of my life steeped in the lore of travel. It was therefore no surprise that in Chris Simpson’s work I should find a natural home, where dual passions for both Art and Travel could combine with such perfect synergy.
Wandering through the assembled prints which make up the magnificent ‘Museum Series‘ of Chris’s photographs, is like the ultimate world travel experience. From strolling down the iconic Allée des Baobabs in Madagascar to standing at the foot of a monolithic Easter Island statue, or sitting under a tree with a cigar-smoking Cuban farmer, it is like a veritable feast of exotic and transporting imagery.
However, to regard these works purely as the record of a place or an experience is to miss the point entirely, as each image feels like a haiku, capturing all the meaning and sensory character of a location, reduced to its purest form. The simplicity and economy of expression in Chris’s pictures is remarkable and leaves the viewer not simply an observer looking from the outside, but a participant, drawn into the photograph and becoming part of it. The experience is, as with all great art, transformative and my response and reaction to the viewing can be characterized by one simple word – Freedom. Chris’s amazing archive is an astonishing hymn to beauty, simplicity and harmony in an increasingly cynical and complicated world.
FOUNDER OF ATLAS GALLERY, LONDON