PRINT February 2015


James Richards, Raking Light, 2014, digital video, black-and-white and color, sound, 7 minutes 5 seconds. Installation view, Cabinet Gallery, London.

JAMES RICHARDS'S seven-minute video Raking Light, 2014, begins with a slow panning shot of a glass desk. Bright sunlight reflects off the camera lens and the desktop, which appears to be embossed with a pattern of fingerprints. In fact, this surface texture is neither deliberate nor decorative. It is, however, entirely bodily in its making: The pattern is the accumulation of daily life, formed not only from fingerprints but also, according to Richards, from dust, detritus, and semen. Shot in extreme close-up, the fingerprint whorls are unambiguously apparent—these are not just graphic traces but material ones, obviously corporeal, subtly carnal. Just as the camera pulls back to show the desk clearly, this intimate, visceral sequence cuts to a dramatic scene of fireworks in a forest, shot in black-and-white. It is as if the trees are raining light. A montage of fleeting, mostly

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