PORTFOLIO > Heroes
Action marked a departure from the digitally mastered multiple figure tableaux that had become somewhat of a trademark for Paul, and started a shift towards a more polished aesthetic.
In this series, Paul trained his sights more specifically on the mode of construction of specific images, placing emphasis on the lighting, objects, poses and gestures that characterised them. For the first time the moving image provided the primary references for the work. Paul employs separate elements common to the action film genre and grafts them seamlessly together to create a visual whole. Similarly, narratives are excised from their original setting and fused together as if in a single frame from a storyboard. Different times and places, plots and actions become the tessera for a single image.
The recreation of each of these elements took on film making proportions. Such as suspending Paul from a crane and hiring stunt pilots to fly a helicopter to within inches of his head. After careful editing of the images created, the selected frames are scanned and then merged via Photoshop to produce the overall composite. Paul still regards this process of digital construction as integral to the creation of the image and hence insists on undertaking it himself.
Paul acts as the unnamed hero for these dramatics, in a die-hard, James Bond style character. Although independently coherent, the images are deliberately montaged to create an overtly fabricated scene. In doing so avoiding any documentary overtones and producing an entirely fantastical environment in which to place the unassailable hero.
The immortal hero facing ineluctable doom becomes the contradiction upon which the storyboard is based. In one scenario we find our hero leaping between two buildings; this at first may seem a straightforward challenge for any international spy or all-action hero until closer examination reveals the unfeasibility of such a leap. Despite the apparent physical impossibility, our knowledge of film convention assures us that our besuited hero will clear the jump with barely a hair out of place.
In order to demonstrate his bravery and elicit female sympathy it may be necessary for our cinematic hero to acquire cuts and grazes, even the occasional "flesh wound". However these are merely an inconvenience to be tolerated and serve to demonstrate his essential invulnerability.
The archetypal adventure hero becomes defined by symbols, style and accoutrements; divested of any meaningful plot his actions are commanded by circumstance, his status verified by the genre he inhabits.
Action is displayed in light boxes suspended from the ceiling. The effect of this is to add a Hollywood glow to the vertiginous dilemmas faced by the character. Paul.s images shine down on us, and force us to look up towards the imaginary hero.