The Water People // Brian Griffin
In 2005 Brian Griffin was invited by the Icelandic geothermal energy company, Reykjavik Energy, to undertake a commission. The original idea was simply to ‘represent water’ and he was free to interpret it exactly as he saw fit.
His unique solution to this project was to create a mythic tale of an aerial adventure across the Icelandic landscape in search of The Water People. Griffin drew upon Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth to visualise the pathway of Reykjavik Energy’s remarkable geothermal infrastructure as a modern Icelandic saga. The adventure is retold through a surreal, filmic narrative of large-scale photographs and unfolds into a voyage across a netherworld of gaseous, ethereal landscapes, following a pathway of polished metallic pipelines to discover The City of the Water People, inhabited by strange, amorphous, liquid life forms.
The work combines artfully constructed portraits, utilising a specially-made screen to create a watery abstraction, together with landscapes inspired by the German artist Caspar David Freidriech. Griffin’s heavy use of symbolism, his fictional narratives and Noirish aesthetic runs counter to the objective, documentary approach that dominates much of contemporary art and corporate photography.
Published in 2006, hardcover, approx 200 pages