Order never persists, the only constant is change
HackelBury Fine Art
, London is pleased to present 'Can't, Won't, Don't Stop', an exhibition of new work
by Doug and Mike Starn. The Starns have been working conceptually with photography for over 30
years. This series of work, begun in 2021, sees the Starns returning to some of the techniques which they
pioneered in the 1980s when they explored the three dimensionality and physicality of photography and
combining the more recent inclusion of painting. This body of work also continues the Starns' fascination
with the passage of time. They make visible aging process and deterioration of the material with which they
work and examine how the meaning of what was created or conceptualised changes with time.
A photograph is not simply an image of a thing, but an image on a substrate - the photograph is a thing
in itself. The same way a photograph is not only a captured instant but exists in time and deteriorates and
expands with time, just as all things and all ideas change their meanings through time
. D+M Starn
The exhibition is made up of two contrasting but interconnected photographic bodies of work, Seascapes
and their monumental sculpture series - Big Bambú, reflecting the central belief in the Starns' work that
everything in life is interconnected, interdependent and in constant flow. The Starns grew up on the coast of
New Jersey. The ocean has long held a fascination for them as it is always changing but always the same.
The Starns see an innate connection between the Seascapes and Big Bambú photographs as they reflect
the dynamic forces of nature and the progression of time. They describe the construction of the Bambú
as taking the form of a cresting wave, we're constructing a slice of a seascape (like our photographs), a
cutaway view of a wave constantly in motion
. D+M Starn
Seascape in Fog, 1987-2002 © Doug & Mike Starn (courtesy of HackelBuryFineArt)
'Seascapes' focuses on the ever changing yet ever constant sea, a body of water in perpetual motion,
crashing against itself and captured in a fraction of a second by a camera - always the same but always
different. The photographs of their Big Bambú installations also embody these contradictions - the sculpture
is always complete, yet always unfinished. These works provide a visual metaphor for the interconnections
of life - that of cultures, societies, relationships and individual and collective growth.
Big Bambú represents the invisible architecture of life and living things. It is the random interdependence
of moments, trajectories intersecting, and actions becoming interaction, creating growth and change
A recurring theme in the Starns' work is that in the midst of chaos is an order and an essential structure. In
the Big Bambú sculptures the Starns create an architecture of random interconnections which becomes a
self-supporting structure and takes on a life of its' own - like a living organism. Adapting to circumstances
spontaneously as the structure grows and "each knot is a decision", it is philosophic engineering. The
structures work because, as in life, everything depends upon one another and the loads are distributed
throughout, fluidly and naturally.
SCP2228a, 2021 © Doug & Mike Starn (courtesy of HackelBuryFineArt)
For the Starns the Big Bambú structures are never finished and they often re-use sections of earlier pieces
when creating new structures, which provides continuity and progress. This idea of interconnection and
transformation is at the heart of all the Starns' work and brings with it philosophical and spiritual reflections.
The physicality and tactile nature of their work (such as scotch taping photographic pieces together)
ensures that they reflect the concept of time through incorporating dust, debris and discolouration that
occurs over time. The photograph is both the medium and a document - the images frozen in time, yet
time continues to pass.
About Doug and Mike Starn
Doug and Mike Starn
, American, identical twins, were born in 1961. They first received international
attention at the 1987 Whitney Biennial. For more than twenty years the Starns were primarily known for
working conceptually with photography. Since 2010 their Big Bambú structures, built from "random chaos"
with thousands of bamboo poles lashed together with miles of rope, have been installed in public institutions
such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the MACRO Museum in Rome, at the 54th Venice Biennial and
the Teshima Triennial. Major themes of their work include chaos, interconnection and interdependence.
Our vision is that nothing in the world is monolithic, nothing is one thing-everything is interconnected
(...) life is created through interconnected random moments (...) the invisible interconnected factors make
us who we are, and culture what it is
About HackelBury Fine Art
Established in 1998, the London gallery in Launceston Place is committed to nurturing long-term relationships
with both artists and clients. It continues to evolve and progress through an expanding program of gallery
exhibitions, museum projects and publishing ventures.
The small group of artists with whom HackelBury work, represent a diversity of practice, pushing
the boundaries of various media. The work and practice of these artists encompasses the worlds of
photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture and performance. Each artist, whether emerging
or established, creates work defined by a depth of thought and breadth and consistency of approach.
1000 Arms to Hold You_6.13.14_0647, 2015-2020© Doug & Mike Starn (courtesy of HackelBuryFineArt)