Place/Non Place brings together four graduate artists in residency at Northumbria University. Directly responding to their surroundings, and how such things come to define oneself, and others. This stretches from: immediate and familiar surroundings, meditative/distant places, and place as defined by the human body/presence or lack of.
We believe that this grouping of disparate practices would sit well within Vane’s calendar of exhibitions, which often bring together works based around a specific line of enquiry. However rather than merely mimicking any previous or future planned exhibition, we would like to produce a one off site specific event that would add something new to vane’s existing archive of events. (maybe add more, talk about how its unique)
why this space In particular and why the work works well ?
The two large adjoining rooms would be useful as a means of offering the individual works respite from each other, limiting the effect each piece would have on the other on a merely visual basis, whilst maintaining the continuity of the space as a whole. On a practical level the inclusion of a windowless space accommodates for particular work to be installed within a more controlled environment. (get specific about work included maybe)
Does ownership of place enable us to feel we have influence over our surroundings? or does neoliberalism ideals of privatisation offer people freedom from elites?
The New York World's Trade Fair (1938) created a utopian vision of the world of tomorrow, ‘Democracity’ in which big business and the free market were to treat its people as individual democratic consumers. Does this truly leave the people in charge or does it just leave people's desires in charge?
‘All of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles’, Debord, G. (1983, 1). In a post-Thatcherite world in which politicians promote individualism, the isolated self seeks out empowerment. Phatic communication has become the default language of politicians seeking to appeal to everyone. Advert-laden objects have saturated our urban landscape, with strap cashed local authorities seeing empty space as a marketing opportunity. Was this democracy responding to our beliefs or a fait accompli orchestrated by business?
Debord, G. (1983, 1). Society of the Spectacle, Detroit: Black and Red, 35-53.
Bringing together, self produced sculpture, painting and photography, juxtaposed with found objects and images. These gatherings mirror our complex and ever changing identities, often concerned with ideas of foreignness and the exotic, or that of the familiar. Materializing as intricate, and highly charged spaces, as well as elusive and difficult objects/installations.
Through the use of grass, soil and the germination process as sculptural materials, the work scrutinises the common perceptions and functionality of sculpture. These ephemeral assemblies, reliant on their surrounding atmospheric conditions as much as the presence of their fabricators, are intrinsically doomed to eventual failure. Denied any true foundation outside of the gallery, the works subsistence falters once detached from the sited context; as the bond between material and setting is broken, growth is halted, leaving nothing but decomposition and disintegration.
This flawed nature of artistic production satirises and mocks the same utopian models that led to the works own creation. The flaw of utopia is envisaged in the work’s inability to carry out its physical process, `what is left following this short lifespan of limited growth is detritus and ruin. By reusing and recycling material the throwaway nature of this methodology is disregarded and re-appropriated into the construction of new fabrications. Jarring material juxtapositions emerge with the introduction of brash artificial elements such as synthetic turf and modelling flock. These new manifestations are left tainted with their pathetic, artificial attempts at representing the organic.
Following these explorations, the work moves past material investigation and critiques the wider context and politics of green space. From the grand Georgian landscape gardens of the eighteenth century to the Garden Cities of post-war suburbs, green space has been manipulated and fabricated to construct social and political patterns. It is with these historical contexts that locate this practice within a contemporary sphere. With material experimentation and through the provision of responsive spaces, the viewer is placed in an environment that is ever stretching, constantly transient as we move between the present and the over-arching dreams of utopia.