Photobook, photobooks & exquisite issues

2003: Ozymandias



Ozymandias, 64-page, 24 color plates, 36x25cm, hard-back and hand-stitched publication with an essay by internationally renowned writer A.D. Coleman, published by Ffotogallery, Cardiff, Wales, 2003


order at:



Chapter Market Road


Cardiff CF5 1QE Wales UK

Phone: +44(0)2920341667


Introduction for Ozymandias

The title of this book is drawn directly from the well-known poem which A.D. Coleman uses to preface his topical and wonderfully inventive essay, Structure Implies and Movement Possesses on the work of Thomas Kellner. l had been obliged to read Snelley's poem at school, but as someone who was not very academically attuned, its potency and prophetic qualities were somewhat lost on me at the time. Revisiting the poem now after so many years and considering its metaphoric significance in the context of Thomas Kellner's 'architectural photocollages' - as Coleman describes them - it all makes perfect sense.

Here was the edifice of an apparently powerful historical figure, which the passage of time had rendered impotent, powerless, and in an inevitable state of atrophy. A salient reminder to us all that impermanence is the only constant and that eventually, however great our monuments may appear, they will ultimately be reduced to rubble and dust.

This notion of atrophy, of structures in a perpetual state of flux, runs counter to our conception of a world - and cities in  particular - made up of buildings which are reassuringly solid, inanimate and above all embodying a sense of permanence. Kellner's quirky and playful photographic 'portraits', at once light hearted yet disarmingly loaded with architectural and cultural iconoclasm, address directly this paradoxical unease.

His multiple exposure pictures, by their very nature, can of course be considered as cartoonesque, and by implication lacking in  gravitas, but one only has to view the artists sketchbooks and the storyboard drawings of each building which he meticulously  prepares to understand the seriousness and conceptual rigour of his mission. Similarly, his precision in orchestrating each individual composite work and completing the documentation process within a very limited time frame is indicative of Kellner's  dexterity and acute understanding of the constraints and vagaries of the photographic medium.

The pages in this book and the pictures printed on them will - as we all know - eventually disappear, but in the intervening years, readers will be able to consider the significance of Thomas Kellner's architectural works against the backdrop of A.D. Coleman's' incisive and thoughtful text which, l believe, underpins the provenance of the work without rhetorical embellishment. l am personally delighted that Ffotogallery has been able to provide a forum, which unites these two figures from the world of contemporary photography in such a meaningful way.

In publishing this book, we would like to offer our warm thanks to the team of Cardiff 2008, the body formed to champion Cardiff's bid for European Capital of Culture. Without their support, Ffotogallery would not have been able to commission the artist to make new works specifically in the capital city of Wales, nor realise this monograph as a case bound publication. Our gratitude must also go to the galleries that represent Thomas Kellner around the world (detailed on the colophon opposite), and whose faith in his work ensured that we were able to produce such a lavishly illustrated book. Finally l would like to record Ffotogallery's thanks to the artist, who has been professionally consummate through out the entire commissioning and publishing process, and whose abiding humour and humility has made a memorable experience a highly pleasurable one as well.