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281 Karangahape Rd Auckland

Mark Purdom



Under is located in suburbia’s marginal space, defined as the open territories between the city boundary and the countryside: these are spaces that are generated as inevitable by-products of urban spatial development. The site and the BMX trails pictured exist in this sort of ‘non-place’, outside of cultural classification. The county council theoretically owns the land but they do not enforce any regulations or safety legislation here; the trails are not signposted locally or marked on maps and the exact location is not clearly defined on websites. Therefore to all intents and purposes it is a space that does not officially exist – this adds to the mystery of the site.

Purdom presents the mud constructions on the ‘trails’ as enigmatic structures: their physical presence mirroring the ambiguous landscape around them. The images can be viewed as evidence of other unseen things but implicit within the objects pictured are ideas about land-use, settlement, earth building methodology, arguably encoded in a kind of primitivist nostalgia. There is a continual tension between what the photographs describe and what they reveal. In this exhibition, Purdom exploits the potential of photography’s indexicality – when it is at its most factual is often when it is most obscure.