All Images Are Unstable

Claire Harvie


This exhibition explores the connections between perception, language, and memory. Sparked by a friendly disagreement over the true colour of the Golden Gate Bridge during a visit to San Francisco, Claire Harvie began an expansive and unconventional investigation. Her research took her on a winding path from a standardized colour called International Orange, to the construction and history of the Golden Gate Bridge, to darkroom experiments in chromatype printing.

The chromatype is a photographic print that remains light‐sensitive even after the image has been fixed. The finished print is chemically unstable, and darkens over time to a rust‐red hue, if left exposed to light. Harvie’s studies in this process are integral to her research on colour subjectivity. Foregrounding the artist’s process of inquiry, All Images Are Unstable comprises two bodies of photographic prints: one sequence of chromatypes using original text, and an arrangement of prints and text made from found images and literary sources. Harvie’s exhibition references the personal subjectivity of colour and the shortcomings of language to describe the nuances of visual experience. The instability of the chromatype prints highlights the fugitive qualities of history, playfully hinting at the limitations of absolute knowledge.

Presented in partnership with Alliance Française Toronto and Ryerson School of Image Arts.

Organized by Elena Potter.