Matthew Broadhead is a British photographer currently based in Southwest England. Having graduated from the BA (Hons) Photography program at the University of Brighton in July 2016, his graduate body of work Heimr has received notable exposure since. Heimr was awarded 1st prize in the inaugural Photoworks award, featured in print with the July 2016 issue of The British Journal of Photography and again in the January 2017 edition of Wallpaper* magazine. In addition the project has been featured in numerous group shows and solo shows, and has accumulated a strong remote presence through online features and interviews.
Heimr is a manifestly contemporary project that reflects on varied hypotheses ranging from the world of science fiction into empirical discourse before the Apollo 11 moon landing and the shifting sands of debates into current times.
NASA continues to monitor the moon, empirically gathering and analyzing data to permanently transform humanity’s relationship from one of romantic longing of the earth’s only satellite to a lucid lunar mapping accessible on the Internet. The moon still holds interest into current times but in the media especially there’s a notable shift towards the imminent exploration and colonization of Mars that’s made it a popular topic for conversation.
A prevailing belief about the state of the moon was that it was largely considered a dead planet, and this view is largely ascribed to the celebrated astronomer Mädler, who in his book ‘Der Mond’ published in 1837 made a statement about the differences and contrasts between the condition of the moon and the earth. He pointed out that the view at the time of the moon being a copy of the earth was impossible. Mädler’s views crept into astronomical textbooks and gradually led to the conviction that the moon is a defunct planet destitute of air and life and exists as a mass of rocks and cinders, cold, lifeless, and unchangeable.
Despite this geologic activity on the moon has been monitored by selenographers who are optimistic in the existence of activity, and recently scientists in this field have revealed their findings that the planet is in fact expanding and contracting.
My primary motive in making reference to Icelandic mythology through the title of the project was to present the shared perspective that our world ‘Earth’ is humanity’s dwelling. I’ve come to realize that sending a man to the moon had complex implications for our species that currently faces many global environmental crises, where conditions are changing quickly and becoming unstable. Hieronymus Bosch’s artwork “The Garden of Earthly Delights” is a long-standing influence on my wider practice; it’s one of my favorite paintings and considered a masterpiece of the Northern Renaissance age. A tantric painting, it depicts a western representation of the intersection of divine energy with earthly life through the use of symbolism.
It’s a visual allegory that uses generalized Christian understanding yet displays a paucity of Christian imagery. Showing the descent from the divine into the material, it’s an interior depiction showing the Word of God as it descends to earth into material reality to becoming gradually corrupted and deteriorated by this interaction, solely due to the mind of man that degrades the word of god because of his sin. All that is depicted in the painting takes places in an imaginal realm, a metaphysical territory representing the inner life and inner state of man. It’s an esoteric painting that makes a psychological and spiritual commentary. Heimr is meant to convey a positive message, but as the maker it’s true that I’ve got significant external anxieties about the world we live in.
Images of Heimr Book
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To view more of atthew’s work please visit his website.