terrain vague
dysfunction, enchantment and the landscape

david blackmore
alessandra chilà
tania coates
allan forrester parker

26 july - 25 august 2015


Whitecross Gallery is pleased to present Terrain Vague a group exhibition of photographic work curated by Allan Forrester Parker.

First coined by Man Ray in 1934 to describe an unresolved and marginal space in an urban landscape, Terrain Vague has come to refer to areas of indeterminate identity in general. Increasingly familiar in a crowded country, these sites – neither fully urban nor rural – have changed our notion of what landscape is.
In some of the works in this exhibition we experience the landscape as a creation in its own right – a built response to a dynamically changing set of interests and aspirations – frequently in conflict with each other.
In others, landscapes designated for particular purposes such as tourism and recreation, sit uneasily next to industrial sites and utility buildings.
We also see ways in which the environment is used metaphorically, its condition informing our own states of mind. We readily refer to our surroundings to describe our experience, and its modifications are reflected in the images we make and the language we use.

David Blackmore’s images of urban locations feature the UV lights used to discourage heroin users. They reveal the impact of social policy on the urban landscape as well as highlighting their mysterious allure as urban stage sets.

Alessandra Chilá’s lightboxes feature the site currently in development for the 2012 Olympic Games. She looks at the regeneration the area is currently undergoing – a process with both environmental and social consequences. 

Tania Coates explores the physical and material transformation of the land around us. This series documents the creative and destructive processes that result from the engineering of the environment. In these works she shows the landscape in flux – presenting compositions that exist only in transition, while new sites are being formed.

Allan Forrester Parker’s images are accompanied by texts screen-printed on to glass. The texts are taken from psychometric tests used to assess potential employees for large organisations. The juxtaposition of text and image explores the complexities of place, mind set and metaphor.


Originally from Dublin, David Blackmore lives and works in London. David’s work ‘detox’ was short listed in the documentary category for the 2005 Next Level - Photography awards, and this body of work has also been published by Gomma magazine. Recent solo shows include Gallery Vassie, Amsterdam and Draiocht, Dublin. David is a lecturer at University College for the Creative Arts, Farnham.

Currently based in London, Alessandra Chilá has worked professionally for various magazines and was commissioned by Mute magazine to produce work for the ‘Dis-Integrating Multiculturalism’ issue. She collaborated on the realization of the short film Polly II: plan for a revolution in the Docklands. Other commissioned works include publications in The Wire magazine and Untitled.

Tania Coates has exhibited in London, Dublin, Berlin, Brussels, and other various locations around the UK. Tania graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Art & Design in 2001 and her work is held in several public & private collections. Portfolio magazine recently published Tania's work Transient Topography in issue 45.

Allan Forrester Parker has worked and exhibited within the UK and abroad. His project ‘The Mela Pictures’ is part of the V&A collection and was shown in South India last year. His work has been supported by the British Council in India, Germany and Greece, and is on permanent display at the Museum of Childhood. He is a senior lecturer on the MA and BA programmess at the University of Westminster.