Tag Archives: sculpture

Life Cycle, Continuous

Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre (PSC) was delighted to host Life Cycle, Continuous on 3 December 2015. This evening of talks and discussion considered the life cycles of artworks, alongside the legacy of their artists, exploring in particular how these things transform, evolve and transition across platforms, people, places and time.

The evening began with a few words from the organisation’s co-directors, Dr Marsha Bradfield, Visiting Scholar at CCW, and Lucy Tomlins. The life cycle of artworks, especially sculpture, is something that has preoccupied PSC since the summer of 2013, when the organisation hosted an artist talk by sculptor Richard Wilson at his Slice of Reality on the Greenwich Peninsula. Here Wilson spoke candidly about the challenges of maintaining the public artwork, a chunk of ship, after the millennial project was decommissioned. Who takes decisions about an artwork’s care after it leaves its artist’s orbit? What responsibility do artists have to how their artworks are stored, shown, conserved or disposed of? Where does the work reside? Does it reside in the work that we look at? Does it reside in the idea of the work?

Jo Melvin presenting at Life Cycle, Continuous. Photo credit: Sinead Bligh

Jo Melvin presenting at Life Cycle, Continuous. Photo credit: Sinead Bligh

These were questions that CCW Reader Dr Jo Melvin engaged in her talk, The conundrums of remaking sculptural practices and their legacies. Melvin has been investigating the interconnections between the archives of artists’, critics, museums, galleries and magazines from the 1960s to the present day since the early 90s. For Life Cycle, Continuous, she considered specific conundrums in connection with re-presenting the work of Naum Gabo, Barry Flanagan and Christine Kozlov. For instance, she referenced the exhibition of Gabo’s Kinetic Construction (Standing Wave) at MOMA in 1968. When the artwork, owned by Tate, proved too fragile to travel, the possibility of whether it might be remade in the US came to the fore. Gabo agreed on the grounds that like Kinetic’s previous iteration, the artwork should be made from materials that were ‘ready to hand’. Crucial here is the artist’s specification. For as Melvin observed, without clear instructions about what conditions must be fulfilled for an artwork to be remade or represented, ambiguity pervades. She went on to discuss the challenges of identifying what and where the artwork is with reference to Barry Flanagan’s practice and his sense that his sculptures were not based on experience of the world but rather, each work is an experience of its making. Further, discussion of Christine Kozlov’s 271 BLANK SHEETS OF PAPER CORRESPONDING TO 271 DAYS OF CONCEPTS REJECTED touched on the thorny of issue of what traces slip away, either because they are perceived as unworthy for posterity or undesirable in some way. And in the case of this particular work by Kozlov, what is most important: concept or materials? Should only the 271 blank sheets the artist selected be shown, however yellow they become with age? Would would any ‘bank sheets’ serve to gesture towards the absence of presence that her artwork explores?

The other two speakers for Life Cycle, Continuous grappled with very different concerns in their talks. Artist Anne Hardy discussed the challenges of re-presenting site specific works like those recently featured in her acclaimed exhibition FIELD at Modern Art Oxford. Artist and senior lecturer Jenny Dunseath Senior Lecturer at Bath Spa University discussed her ongoing research into the transmission of knowledge from artists to their assistants, based on her personal experience working in Anthony Caro’s studio.

Life Cycle, Continuous was part of the public programme that accompanied PSC’s 2015 artists-in-residence programme, with the talks talking place culminating exhibition, Which one of these is the non-smoking lifeboat?  This approach to hosting the talks tracks with PSC’s ongoing commitment to making the making of sculpture more visible so as to better appreciate the process of an outcomes production.

Audio documentation of Life Cycle, Continuous will be available on PSC’s website in early 2016.

Top image: Jo Melvin installing heap 3 ’67/68, 1967/68 at Cullinan Richards, London, January 2015

Transactions of the Duddo Field Club

Transactions of the Duddo Field Club book launch will be at X Marks the Bokship on Friday 25th September 2015, 6.30- 8.30pm. This publication documents recent sculpture, video and performance by William Cobbing that were exhibited at Hatton Gallery in Newcastle, and mima in Middlesbrough.

Retrograde images of ancient rock formations are the basis for oversized ceramic book covers of Albert Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus. Monolithic-looking sculptures derive their surface appearance from the anthropomorphic Duddo Five Stones in Northumberland, formed through pressing rocks into heavily grogged clay, a random selection of books then slotted into their surfaces; monuments to inaccessible knowledge and trivia. The book also features a collaborative performance Palimpsest with Beth Collar, a disjointed conversation in which words are scored in a wet clay surface, and are then distorted or erased through the act of continually reworking the surface. Language becomes a tactile experience. Transactions features texts by Louise Chignac, Jonathan P. Watts, a new commissioned artwork by Beth Collar and a series of bookmarks by Arnaud Desjardin. Design by Fraser Muggeridge Studio. This publication is funded by CCW Graduate School, Newcastle University, The Lipman Trust and mima

These mystical voices closely resemble that of chanting as if the stones themselves were ‘speaking’ in some ritualistic manner. In fact the montage of fast cuts of the stones in close-up that constitutes the intro suggests something of the anthropomorphic, as if the stones themselves were people or characters in their own right that will come to play their relevant part in this drama between the natural and the supernatural. 
Louise Chignac

Forever friends, Sylvanian Families, sickness and health, fapping away hunched over, biting the nails down — like down to the skin — biting the skin off — a claw from me would be like a stroke with a bundle of retractable erasers. Cheese Strings. Rough granite shits, sheep turds the same, then the standing stones, the rows, the circles, wispy dried grass inserted up the nostril. Abandonment. But in all of it, it was just me there. Self satisfied / fact finding /nonconscious. 
Beth Collar

A book can be lost and found. A book, used for what it is meant for, functioning in the proper way, is always contingent on the person holding it (reading it?) understanding what it is, the language it’s written in, the way pages make sense in a sequence (left to right, or the other way around), the way it sits with other related books. As a set of signs, from cover to cover, it requires acquired interpretive skills. 
Arnaud Desjardin

The extraordinary marks imbued in the stones is a kind of ur-writing ; they receive their secret inscriptions over geological durations, durations that dwarf the human. ‘There are impossible scribblings in nature,’ he writes, ‘written neither by men nor by devils’. And in these scribbles a viewer might decipher proto-images of anything invented by human visual culture, so that ‘already present in the archives of geology, available for operations then inconceivable, was the mode of what would later be an alphabet’.  
Jonathan P. Watts

A special cocktail ‘Airport Lounge Manners’ will be served from the Push Bar to Open hatch bar.

Cobbing launch

 

Strange Attraction

Dear A, I’m attracted to you, and I don’t know why.

            Shall we be friends?

Artworks can write letters too, inasmuch as they reach out, make lines of contact with other artists, and forge an aesthetic of correspondence. In Strange Attraction, a group exhibition of six artists working in a variety of media at APT Gallery, curated by Emily Purser, that correspondence is curated and archived, as the works speak to one another through their shared preoccupations. Sometimes the works’ closeness can be found in the processes in which they have been made, or the materials that have been manipulated, and sometimes it is found in the works’ ideas, its postscripts and its messages.

Many of the artists gathered here are interested in biography, not as a mapped out narrative, but as an affective pool: a script to be rewritten and performed, as pliable as paper. And even when the life is not visible in the works’ imagery, it exists in the frenetic states of matter and experience that the work has endured.

The abject body is a marginal unclean thing, potentially transgressive in its borderline subversiveness. In Lana Locke’s work, the sculptor references this body, but fragments it, creating sculptural installations that suggest, or indeed perform, a loose and perverse corporeality. Heads float. Limbs are scattered about like twigs on the ground. Bloody sheets fall from flowers on plinths. Locke returns to APT Gallery having previously exhibited there in the Creekside Open 2013, where she won Paul Noble’s Selector’s Prize. Her works in Strange Attraction include the pictured sculpture, Bridal Piece III (2014). Locke says, ‘I am thrilled to return to APT Gallery to be part of this beautiful exhibition curated by Emily Purser. My own work in the show is very personal, and it is clear that all the artists have very different approaches. Yet as you walk around the exhibition, many subtle, organic underlying threads emerge between the artworks of the group and they seem to speak to each other. It is a haunting, strangely uplifting exhibition that I am proud to be a part of.’

This mode of identity performance is similarly found in Lady Lucy’s paintings, which draw on documentary and interview research, to create portraits of layered and collaged material, often incorporating art historical gestures and tropes. Defiantly appropriated, the self is rendered a composite artificial object.

Andrew Mania makes art akin to the obsessive habits of a collector, transcribing people and objects. In his work, the autobiographical is recast in small, coloured pencil drawings, and even smaller paintings: a public re-reading of the intimate. The blue eyes of a young boy gaze out from the canvas, affective and abject: it is a look of innocence, melancholy, desire and love.

In Vanessa Mitter’s paintings, the personal is also treated as a pliant material, a source of affect and investigation, but also of fiction and performance. Collage, paint and pigment find a way on to the canvas in ephemeral expressive gestures. There is an abject narrative at play – of lost childhood and drifting brides – but it is a narrative that wanders in and around the artifice of the material.

In Hannah Campion’s work, painting is made into a happening, and then an installation, as her worked on canvases are then reworked into ambiguous three-dimensional forms, which are strewn on the floor or pinned to the wall. The paper or canvas undergoes all kind of processes: it is crushed, trampled, nailed, repaired, collaged. It is an active, performative mode of painting, which is also a site-specific response to the surrounding space.

Eleanor Moreton is similarly interested in painting as performance. In her work, narrative is not so much read as experienced. She provides the protagonist and the prop, often drawing on her own personal histories; but with the medium and its application (part abstract, part figurative), comes an ambiguous appropriation of the primary material. As in the work of the other five artists, the raw is remoulded as an artistic event.

In Strange Attraction, the viewer will find six distinct but correspondent practices, whereby narratives relating to the bodily and the biographical are re-made in painting, sculpture and installation. In these intimate objects, the personal evades our grasp when the performance takes over.

The exhibition is at A.P.T Gallery, 20th March – 5 th April 2015, with a private view on 19th March, 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Curator’s panel discussion and SLAM (South London Art Map) last Fridays opening 27th March, 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

Gallery Opening Hours: 12.00-5.00pm, Thursday to Sunday