In The End Is The Beginning. Towards The Thames Estuary

22 May – 30 September 2021

Gunners Park

Nadav Kander’s ongoing series, Dark Line – The Thames Estuary is a personal reflection on the landscape of the River Thames at its point of connection with the sea, through atmospheric images of its slow-moving dark waters and seemingly infinite horizons.

For Estuary 2021 Nadav has created an outdoor installation In The End Is The Beginning. Towards The Thames Estuary comprising a selected triptych from this series, writ large in the landscape of its origin at Shoeburyness, placed on an abandoned jetty in a stunning juxtaposition with the horizon.

The Thames Estuary at this point is sparsely populated – the land, studded with marshes and quicksand resists settlement and remains hostile to the visitor. It is shaped by the toil and grit of the thousands who have worked the river since Roman times, harbouring memories that remain embedded in the silt of the river forever. It has the richest of histories; of pirates roaming the waters, ships sunk in battle, departing expeditions towards the unknown, inspiring prose drawing on its mystical powers and of great trading nations bringing wealth and people to the harbours and wharfs. Many of these people settled here, creating Britain’s great diverse population that is present and politically relevant to this day.

Of the elemental forces upon earth, slow moving expanses of dark water have the strongest effect on me. I’m drawn to the grace, the power, and its ability to conceal what is unknown. More importantly to me, this work implies a passage of time, in contrast to our own. The life of the River Thames; flowing before, then into my frame and forever beyond. I’m drawn to making work that bears witness to the river and to time. Yet the photograph is static, while referring to the world and nature beyond its edges. It conjures images of destiny; it invokes the past and points to the future.

The water moves past ignoring me, widening out, flattening, slowing down, ending its passage, absorbed into a bigger whole only to be drawn up again into a cloud that wets the earth and begins again. This cycle never ends. So, the river’s end is also the river’s beginning. Since 2015, I have been echoing the pace of the river. Dialing down the ultra-realism of photography, reducing the visual information to a minimum, handing full authority to the viewer. I am moving away from common perceptions that photographs are the result of a lens that “focuses sharply” on what is in front of it. Absorbing, photographing slowly, producing slowly.” – Nadav Kander