Catherine Yass is a leading contemporary photographer and film-maker whose work captures the psychological impact of architectural space. The exhibition included recent work and a new commission Lighthouse (2011).

A new film Lighthouse (2011) is of the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse situated five miles out to sea, just visible from the Pavilion. Yass was fascinated by the structure of this unoccupied lighthouse, balanced precariously on the corner of a square platform, which is in turn balanced on a single concrete post. Lighthouse reflects the nature of the structure as the camera – placed on a helicopter, boat and with a diving team – slowly moves up, down and around the platform and into the sea, disrupting the viewers’ spatial order and boundaries.

Descent (2002)

Takes the viewer at a disorientating slow pace via a camera which is lowered by a crane on the side of a high rise structure in a Canary Wharf construction site. The camera frames are rotated by 180 degrees to invert the viewer’s sense of gravity.

Lock (2006)

Is filmed from a tanker on its slow passage through the gates of a colossal lock on the Yangtze River in the heart of industrial China. Forward and backward views are simultaneously projected on opposite walls from floor to ceiling giving a physical experience of cinematic space.

Sleep (2005-8) and Decommissioned (2010)

Are some of her recent photographic works presented in Gallery 1. These light boxes adopt Yass’s signature technique of overlaying negative and positive transparencies, which results in intense, electrifying colours that transport the physical space to that of the psychological or ethereal.


Is a new film commissioned by the De La Warr Pavilion.

About the artist

Catherine Yass (b. London, UK, 1963) trained at the Slade School of Art, London, the Hochschüle der Künste, Berlin, and Goldsmiths College, London. Important recent solo exhibitions include High Wire (commissioned by Artangel and Gi Festival, exhibition Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, and The Gymnaseum, London, 2008); Descent (St. Louis Art Museum, MO, 2009); and The China Series (Stedelijk Museum, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands). Public collections include the V&A, Tate and Arts Council Collection. She lives and works in London and is represented by Alison Jacques Gallery.