Archives for posts with tag: studio

I have been gathering tips and components to build a cloud chamber for viewing cosmic particles but mostly my time has been spent in funding application form filling.

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Feeling the admin has been taking over. Not a creative time and am also finding the ground is not so firm beneath our feet when it comes to securing the promise of a grant.

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Challenges ahead but Laboratory of Dark Matters is taking shape and we are listed on Guest Projects website link here.

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I have moved studio once again, only a very short distance but into my own space. This is so I can film the cosmic particles I hope to see in the cloud chamber in low lighting and mess about with dry ice. I am starting to plan work using imagery of the cosmic trails. Looking at pentagon facets of the dodecahedron.

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Made a trip to Allenheads Contemporary Arts for the final weekend of events of their major project As Above So Below that saw artists come together to explore a shared curiosity and quest to answer questions about our existence and relationship to our planet. Iron River was a beautiful live sound performance synched to a video installation from Bennett Hog and Sabine Vogel using an exposed piano frame, pebbles and bass flute to describe the extraction process of iron ore abundant in the local water.

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Eerie sounds, almost words, deep and earthy boomed from the woods and echoed around the valley in Neal Willis’ coded interpretation of barbed wire patterns What Language of the Fox? I thought Bill Aitchison’s Stuck In The Middle With You was brilliant. The recording of his performance was positioned in the spot where the original delivery took place during the summer – the view on the screen and out through the window was the same, just browner outside now.

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Listening to Bill make connections, set up a scenario only to knock it down became mesmerizing and addictive, I was swept away.  Listen to this work at the link above.

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Lucien Anderson’s Prototype 2, or Splashdown floats in enigmatic isolation on the Allenheads reservoir.

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There is video relay to an observatory tent but it looks like contact may be lost…

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Thresholds (Proximity, Distance and Loss) a poignant video installation from Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman was running in the coal shed featuring sound from Lost Cosmonaut a recording from 1962 purporting to be broadcast from a damaged, State abandoned, Russian spacecraft overlaid onto imagery from a remote and subsequently abandoned Northumbrian village.

Pat Naldi’s research unearthed song lyrics written in criticism of the local mine owner during the early 19thC which the local Dale Singers performed on the green for Assembly 2016

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Alan Smith From NVC 100 to 10 Thoughts both reduces and expands inquiry as he condenses big questions into a series of 10 thoughts. Set in the cosy cosmos of his caravan it is a personal exploration of the very wide world we are invited to share in.

Bridget Kennedy installed The Measure Of It over the opening to Gin Hill Mine Shaft referencing the opening of seams for mining in medieval times when a prescribed square measure was termed an Ancient Meer and an oath was taken to claim ownership.

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“I swear by God and all the saints, and I call them all to witness, this is my vein; moreover if it’s not mine, I neither this my head or these my hands henceforth perform their functions” from De Re Metallica by Georgius Agricola.

Also made a visit to Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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The current headline show was from Not Vital – big shiny heavyweight sculpture, inside & outside. A lot of metal.

Was a nice surprise to discover Roger Hiorns Seizure has found a home here. Just as dazzling inside but a shame its place of genesis, the totally incongruous London estate setting is lost.

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Excited to experience James Turrell’s Deer Shelter Skyspace.

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The elements have left their mark on the floor.

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Incredible how the light changes the space, and framing the sky in this way makes it so luminous and almost tangible at the same time.

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When gazing up through the aperture of a ‘Skyspace’  it’s important to give your eyes time to adjust to gain the full reward. The contemplative state, like fire watching, that Turrell induces in his audience is common to all people through all time. He is fascinated by early cultures in which the position of the sun, moon and stars are responded to through environment. He appreciates light has a strong connection to our spiritual beliefs. Light is the materialization of energy. We are naturally eaters of light, our whole body is scattered with stray rods and cones outside of the retinal area which makes our relationship to light very primal. Our bodies are made from matter fed by the fruits of photosynthesis. Light is life. In using the stuff of nature as medium a direct connection is made between our body and the universe.

Caspar Sawyer’s exhibition Gamut at Thames-side Studios Gallery was another way of considering how our brains decipher the light messages that are fed to them, this show was about the pixilation of our world.

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Most striking are the giant heads of the 3 Kims triptych, leering in and out of focus as the angle and distance of perspective varies as you move around the gallery. The camera however, reverts the image back to tiny pixels and into focus. They are really not that clear to the naked eye when you are in the gallery.

The media construction of the larger than life characters made evident in oversized pixels.

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The sublime dissolving into sub-pixel RGB grids as we move too close.

Vibrant colour blocks as pixelated studies of constructed titles – internet searches for an image that best represents one word,

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reduced to pixels and blended with other word searches until the image represents the title – the source images never known even to the artist.

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And my favourite – This Moment is the Most Profound Experience You Will Ever Have in Your Whole Life (in progress)

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The image is revealed as a moving reflection of your body as you traverse the space, a shadow that casts light. Quite profound really. I am light.

Total takeover -Alex Hartley’s ‘architectural intervention’ A Gentle Collapsing II at Victoria Miro is wonderfully indulgent romanticism

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Stepping though the gallery doors to the garden becomes stepping though a portal to another time and place.

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The edges of reality blur as it isn’t clear where fantasy begins and ends. It is a place to enact and dream and enjoy its unreal realness.

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Other works inside are just as bewitching; paintings like translucent marble slabs  with hidden inner lives.

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Frosty surfaces shielding mysterious landscapes. Concrete pretending to be wood.

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I am always impressed by Alex Hartley.

Holly Graham showing After Harry Jacobs: The Studio and hypnotic looped animation After Harry Jacobs: Basket in Backdrop at ASC Studios as part of Artlicks weekend. ‘the works in the exhibition engage the backdrop as a context for action and seek to question the perception of its neutral or auxiliary role.’

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Scarlett Mueller creates her stunning hand printed woodcuts through layering techniques. At Anise Gallery for I Saw it Whole her work had been deconstructed and reimagined in a VR experience allowing the viewer to digitally enter the image. It was fun but unnecessary, her work has space for the viewer to enter without digital enhancement.

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There is something extra green about the green that is exposed on the river banks at low tide.  These glistening and gelatinous edges are captured by Anne Krinsky  in Tide Line Thames along with distressed defences like scabs barely holding together the banks of the old river. (old not ancient).

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Mysterious architecture, cogs, slippery steps, lengths and measures map out a life that dissects London, is passed over again and again without thinking. This exhibition is a pause in that momentum to look at the environment in the raw.

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Adding layers. Infinite Mix an off-site iteration from the Hayward Gallery. Sound and moving image. Some very raw and powerful images drilled into the mind with earworm rhythms and stanzas. Excellent stuff.

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Cyprien Gaillard Nightlife 

 

 

 

I have a new blank slate – a studio with Second Floor Studios at Thames Barrier in the same complex as Thames Barrier Print Studio. 1602 New Studio

I also discovered there are wood and metal workshops here, a gallery and lots of opportunities to take classes so I am very excited to be joining the complex and enjoy the amazing views across the Thames

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It was great to be back screen printing after quite a break.

1602 Induction Day Prints 1.jpgI had been working on an image I was thinking of using for an idea about the multiverse theory but wasn’t really happy with it so I cropped off a portion to use for my screen printing induction day. I saw these ancient fish in an aquarium in Shanghai, they look so prehistoric and are very alarming, hanging motionless in the water until they are offered a live snack then they move like lightning, leaping from the water to snap the victim in their jaws.

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The 56th Venice Biennale theme All The World’s Futures was a cue for a lot of artists to excavate the past.

The multi channel video Fire Talks To Me by Almagul Menlibayeva cuts into the past and layers time. 1601 Venice Union of Fire and water (13)Grand Palaces, industrialization and dystopian landscapes give an epic scale to a turbulent narrative. 1601 Venice Union of Fire and water (12)

This work has huge scope. The history of Azerbajan, the Persian Empire and Venice are intermingled.1601 Venice Union of Fire and water (15)

At the centre of the tale is the Mukhtarov couple’s rise in fortune on the riches of oil and their downfall at the soviet takeover. 1601 Venice Union of Fire and water (14)

Their palace, built with oil money and inspired by love has been reassigned from private to public love temple and is now the ‘Palace of Happiness’ in its new guise as Baku’s marriage bureau.

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The Union of Fire and Water  continues throughout the 14th C Gothic building with sculptural interventions by Rashad Alakbarov interacting with the environment and our journey through it.1601 Venice Union of Fire and water (10)

The journey can be circuitous.

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Armando Lulaj deals with spectres of history. In his series of films ‘The Albanian Trilogy: A series of devious stratagems’ he looks at how political symbols can appear in one context then reappear in another changing their meaning. over time. He aims to uncover  processes which govern social memory. The research that his films are based on is really interesting so I have included quite a bit of detail here and more can be found on the Albanian Pavilion website.

It Wears As It Grows references a story from the cold war years. In 1959 Khrushchev visited Albania to discuss the Soviet Union’s plans to arm Enver Hoxha’s state with submarines and warships to counter the U.S. threat from missile bases in Italy. Four years later relations between the USSR and Albania had broken down leaving an Albanian navy with a paranoid fear of enemy attacks. When they sighted an object that repeatedly appeared and disappeared at the surface of the sea they shot at it believing it to be a submarine. The unfortunate target turned out to be a Mediterranean sperm whale.

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After being recovered, the whale’s remains were displayed in the Museum of Natural History in Tirana. In 2011, the skeleton of the whale reappears in the streets of Tirana, raised onto the shoulders of a group of people, like a ghost wandering the streets of the city until it found its final resting place inside Enver Hoxha’s mausoleum “Piramida.” This pyramid-shaped structure completed in 1987 was designed by his own daughter and son-in-law to glorify his name and create an eternal monument to him, just like the pyramids of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs.

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NEVER looks at how the positioning of five letters in rock on a hillside tells a story of political power struggles. When communism was at its zenith in Albania around 1968, the Albanian Labor Party decided to celebrate the magnificence of their leader, Enver Hoxha with a monument to his name. Hundreds of young people were forced to join the Albanian People’s Army to position and paint enormous stones on the side of the Shpirag mountain to spell out the name of the dictator. After the fall of communism in the 90’s the Democratic Party gained power and ordered the army to destroy the rocks with explosives. It wasn’t a complete success; the letters were only damaged and two soldiers were burned alive in the process. The task was abandoned and over time what could still be seen of the letters was covered in vegetation. In 2012, locals decided to return to unearth the letters and rewrite the name. After uncovering, cleaning and painting, what materialized no longer read as ENVER, but something altered. The emblem of a dictator ENVER returned as the English adverb NEVER.

Recapitulation traces diplomatic relations between Albania and the U.S. and the sensitive use of language to affirm or negate friendship. In 1957 a U.S. Air Force plane entered Albanian airspace. Two Albanian fighter jets were scrambled and escorted the U.S. plane into a forced landing at Rinas Airport. The pilot, a high ranking WWII hero, was held and interrogated by Albanian officials but due to US diplomatic pressure was released two weeks later. The airplane, however, was not released and in 1971 was moved to the new  Weapons Museum in the birth town of the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha. This symbol of the Cold War was labelled “American Spy Plane”.  By 2009 relations with the U.S. were no longer hostile and so the Albanian government wanted to remove the plane feeling it was now deemed an affront to the friendly diplomatic relations. However that same year, the former US Ambassador to Albania, stated that history should not be rewritten. Immediately after his speech a question mark appeared at the end of the inscription “American Spy Plane” so that what had been an affirmation turned into a question: “American Spy Plane?”

Meanwhile Russia is rewriting its history and repainting its pavilion.  Irina Nakhova digs into a past tied to the wider context of the artists struggle for cultural acknowledgement.

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In 1993 the Russian Pavilion was emptied of art and painted Red by Ilya Kabakov in a statement of defiance against Moscow’s institutionalism.

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In 2015 Nakhova returns the Pavilion to its original green in the hope of a transformation filling rooms with references to past celebrated artists and archived images interspersed with organic matter, mixing history with inevitable entropy.

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Jiri David  showing at the Biennale for the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic presented Apotheosis an installation where the viewer becomes ‘immersed in the archaeology of knowledge and memories’. Uncertain of what we are approaching across the empty gallery  we walk towards a blank wall to discover a short narrow corridor hidden behind.

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Apotheosis – meaning the elevation to divine status is an appropriation of  Apotheosis of the Slavs: Slavs for Humanity (1926) by the Czech Secessionist artist Alphonse Mucha (1860 – 1939) reworked in greyscale and placed opposite a mirror of the same proportions. It literally brings you face to face with the politics of the region, the national pride and political idealism that inspired Mucha who is better known internationally for his art nouveau style posters. In further analogy it is hard to see the whole picture from this angle and a difficult task to understand ones place within it.

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In a world saturated with distorted images and media analysis where the words of politicians are vetted by PR machines applying a slick gloss to avoid accountability it is often hard to hear what is actually being said or read the persona saying it. Rabab Ghazoul’s  It’s a long way back ( Chilcot Project) is a deconstruction of Tony Blair’s 2010 testimonial in the UK government inquiry into the invasion of Iraq. By putting Blairs words into the mouths of ordinary people the words themselves become amplified.  Via a series of small screens we see members of the public listen and repeat words fed to them via headphones – they speak without rehearsal, with concentration, with self consciousness.

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On other screens people describe a man they see on screen before them speaking but with the sound off. Without hearing the content of his speech they must suppose from his body language and expression what emotion he is conveying. We hear their descriptions without seeing the man they describe. It’s a fascinating look at how we read what is fed to us. 0913 Venice Iraq

Tsibi Geva’s ‘Archaeology of the present’, an intervention on the structure of Israel’s Pavilion questions what it is that makes a home.

1601 Venice Israel 2 (1)Using fragments of artefacts, the ugly and the everyday objects he shows us the building blocks that together form the layering of associations that resonate as home.

An everyday item, the key is used to keep things safe but also to prevent access. Chihuru Shiota suspends hundreds of keys in a web of red threads in her installation ‘The Key in the Hand’.1601Venice Japan Chiharu Shiota 2) (2)Caught within the threads are two boats weighted down and unable to move.1601Venice Japan Chiharu Shiota 2) (1)So many memories to unlock or lock away. And so many memories that we have lost the key to.

Qiu Zhijie’s sculptures at the Arsenal reflect the old adage ‘history repeats itself’  in his installation ‘Historical Circular’

Placing us amongst the artefacts of physics, the search for understanding and the dreams that urge us forwards we get a sense of our weight within a world that spins on regardless.

It was good to see Tarkovsky’s film Mirror (Zerkalo) on a big screen at the BFI.

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The mirror is turned towards Tarvovsky’s own life. His aim was to reconstruct his past from memories and photographs as accurately as possible. He even rebuilt his family home for this purpose. Like memories the film is dreamlike and non linear. We are swept away to quiet places. In excavating the past we are always on the brink of something not quite grasped. Images hover, an uncanny wind surges through the long grass as though some mythological creature is about to appear. 1601 Tarkosky mirror 2

Tarkovsky said that it wasn’t until much later that he realised the film was about his mother and not himself and perhaps it was not a desire to recreate the past but to transform it that inspired him.

Another life explored, also at the BFI, was tackled in a more traditionally linear way. Life on TV; Sir David Attenborough was a narrative interspersed with contemporaneous film footage.  David Attenborough stood on stage and spoke with such animation and without any notes for over two hours. He was able to recount past events with astonishing accuracy.  The audience were captivated and in awe of his energy, enthusiasm and recall at 89. David AttenburghHe took us back to the 1950’s and the first natural history programme broadcasts.   Most evident from these documentaries is how attitudes to wildlife have changed in the last 50 years. Instrumental in taking the cameras out from the studio rather than bringing the wildlife into the studio David Attenborough has brought the natural world in ever increasing detail to our living rooms.

1601 David Attenburgh rhinoHe offers us amazing visual richness and access to the extraordinary diversity of the planet, this does not translate as personal experience yet we now share a collective memory of these hugely popular series.

1602 Capability Now‘Capability Now’ at Orleans House Gallery looks back at the influence of landscape designer Capability Brown. It illustrates  his contribution to the development of the English landscape Garden, characterised by its informal and naturalistic appearance, as opposed to the ordered, symmetrical, and geometric gardens that came before.   Alongside the historical exhibits, contemporary artists present modern interpretations of Brown’s works and ideas. Lizzie Cannon exhibits Mended leaf [Acer rubrum] (2015) and Mended leaf 2 (2010).

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Lizzie Cannon Mended leaf [Acer rubbrum]

In rebuilding the past it is transformed.