Peter Mitchell - A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission
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- April 2017
- Cloth with dustwrapper
- 80pages, 24x24cm
- Bilingual English/French
- Featuring essay by Val Williams
About this title
Peter Mitchell’s groundbreaking show was first presented at the Impressions Gallery of Photography York in November 1979, and more recently at Arles. Now, only 38 years overdue, it will be published as a book for the first time.
In the mid-seventies, the Viking Landers were the first to land on planet Mars. Though the alien landscape was magnificent, there were no canals or skeletons or wind-blown ruined dwellings. Today, not a single trace remains of Viking Landers 3 and 4. But myth (and conspiracy theories) have it that an alien survey was commissioned of planet Earth.
Peter Mitchell’s A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission features photos and portraits, taken in Leeds in the 1970s. The pictures show the traditional urban landscape presented on a background of space charts, the concept being that an alien has landed from Mars and is wandering around Leeds with a degree of surprise and puzzlement.
In the Earthly vernacular these photographs are of Nowheresville. Yet, for some people, they are the centre of the universe. Usually they call it Home.
“The full charm of Mitchell’s work is embodied in images of shops and factories with owners or work force standing proudly in front of their businesses. Quite why our alien visitors to Leeds never stayed, we’ll never know.” Martin Parr
About Peter Mitchell
Peter Mitchell, born in 1943, has been quietly building a career for 40 years. Living and working in Leeds for much of his life, Mitchell treats his surroundings with a unique sense of care that is evident in his work. An essential part of the colour documentary scene in the 1970s and ‘80s, Mitchell’s landmark show A New Refutation of the Space Viking 4 Mission has had an immeasurable impact on contemporary photographic culture. Mitchell has never been a prolific publisher of work; 1990’s Memento Mori was re-published in a new edition in 2016, and his latest work, the eccentrically autobiographical Some Thing means Everything to Somebody, was published in 2015.