IF YOU’VE SEEN IT, YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT is a new exhibition of poetry and photography by Edinburgh artist Ellen Renton. It asks the question: how do you reconcile visually impaired identity with the act of photography?
This exhibition at Agitate Gallery is the culmination of a research project undertaken by Ellen with the support of an artist associateship from Disability Arts Online and the Edwin Morgan Trust.
Ellen’s experiences in arts galleries as a visually impaired person have shaped her thoughts about the gallery experience she wanted to create for this exhibition. Visitors to IF YOU’VE SEEN IT, YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT will listen to an audio guide leading them through a series of images. A character in itself, the guide takes on the role of an unreliable narrator with a shifting tone – at times direct, at points abstractly poetic, and sometimes reflective. These inconsistencies and fluctuations in approach conjure up questions around the ways in which our eyes and our minds often sit at odds with each other. How many ways can an image be read? Is seeing really believing?
The bringing together of photography and poetry in Ellen’s exhibition was inspired by Edwin Morgan’s instamatic poetry which he wrote about photographs taken in locations as varied as Chicago, Renfrewshire, Venice, Nigeria, and translunar space. The title of Ellen’s exhibition, IF YOU’VE SEEN IT, YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT, comes from another series of Morgan’s work, the news-poems.
Ellen Renton is a poet, performer, and theatre maker from Edinburgh. While always keeping poetry at its core, her work varies in form and has included publications, journalism, installation, and multimedia collaborations. Her poetry theatre show ‘Within Sight’ has toured the UK and in 2021 her debut pamphlet ‘An Eye For An Eye For An Eye’ was released with Stewed Rhubarb Press. She undertook an Emerging Scottish Writer residency at Cove Park in 2021 and in 2022, she was awarded an Imaginate Jerwood Fellowship.
Agitate Gallery, 20 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 5JZ
Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday from 12:00 – 18:00
Access information: Agitate is located on Haymarket Terrace, situated across from the entrance to Haymarket Train Station. The gallery is accessible from street level but has no accessible toilet facilities. The exhibition is located within a space up three short steps.