Preview: Tom Pope – The Escapades of the Higher Man

Tom Pope, The Escapades of the Higher Man, 2009. Courtesy Glynn Vivian Art Gallery

Exhibition: Tom Pope – The Escapades of the Higher Man, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, until April 18 2010

Having foreseen the coming of the Higher Man, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche had, surely, grand deeds in mind. He could not have predicted a photographer from Bristol would come along and try to catch a bucket of water.

Tim Pope has also leapt from stupid heights and disguised himself beneath a pile of rubbish in the street. It seems that now God is dead, the Higher Man is free from the shackles of reason.

Photographs provide the evidence. Pope has set up some real events with reactions from real passersby. And yet these deeds are also staged, a comment on photography as much as the writings of Nietzsche.

“Employing performative strategies within my photography sees the record of an event and the event itself form a creative dialogue,” the artist has said.

“The resulting performative photograph encourages the viewer to invent meaning resulting from a blurring of fact and fiction.”

In other words, any response to these shots will be subjective. So this may indeed be the Higher Man. The rest of us just might not recognise as much.

The zany self-portraits were taken in Marseille in 2009 and now provide emerging talent Pope with a first major solo show in the city where he first studied art.

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