Overpass is about what it means to move through the landscape. Walking along a vast network of centuries-old footpaths through the English countryside, artist Sam Contis focuses on stiles, the simple structures that offer a means of passage over walls and fences and allow public access through privately owned land. In her immersive sequences of black-and-white photographs, they become repeating sculptural forms in the landscape, invitations to free movement on one hand and a reminder of the history of enclosure on the other.
Made from wood and stone, each unique, they appear as markers pointing the way forward, or decaying and half-hidden by the undergrowth. An essay by writer Daisy Hildyard contextualizes this body of work within histories of the British landscape and contemporary ecological discourses. In an age of rising nationalism and a renewed insistence on borders, Overpass invites us to reflect on how we cross boundaries, who owns space, and the ways we have shaped the natural environment and how we might shape it in the future.