Today sees the opening of ‘Axis Mundi’, an exhibition of new work by photographer Tom Hunter at Purdy Hicks Gallery in London.
Tom Hunter writes: ‘Growing up in Dorset, the ancient landscape always loomed large over my life. Every trip out, whether walking, catching the school bus or just going to the local shops, involved driving down a Roman road, passing a hill fort, spotting an ancient burial mound or meeting the Devil’s Stone on Black Hill. Later, as I started walking this landscape, the hill forts of Hambledon Hill, Hod Hill, Badbury Rings and Spetisbury Rings took me back to an imagined world of Asterix and Obelix fighting great battles of independence and liberation.
As a teenager in the late Seventies the tribalism and eccentricity in England seemed to explode, with hundreds of bikers roaring through our village on a Bank holiday, like a huge invading army of Goths, to the Mods, Skinheads and my new adopted brethren the Punks. Some of these tribes were drawn to the Stonehenge Free Festival. Wandering through the makeshift encampment was for me to wander back through the Imperial Roman Empire, with the police in strict formations, uniforms and detachments, stationed around the festival site, peering but not venturing in, as if scared by ancient magic. Inside the encampment, tribes of Hippies, Hells Angels, Punks, Druids and locals circled and swarmed in some strange dance. As you traversed the main drag, which led from ancient burial mounds to Stonehenge itself, you were bombarded with signs for magic potions with such names as White Lightnings, Supermen, Red Dragons and Shroom tea. This seemed to be the last stand for the plucky eccentrics who, like Asterix and Obelix, used stones as symbols of their connection to the earth and the environment around them.
Since then, while travelling through the south west of England, I have always tried to carry Ordnance Survey maps so that I might find stone circles, hill forts and ancient archaeological sites. I have become fascinated by megalithic architecture and its connection with the landscape that it inhabits. Creating Axis Mundi has led me on a pilgrimage through the landscape of our past.’
TOM HUNTER Axis Mundi
21 November 2013 - 18 January 2014
Purdy Hicks Gallery
65 Hopton Street, Bankside
London SE1 9GZ