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Published in Derek Sprawson

The research asks how the ‘image’ and the act of ‘making images’ combined with ‘where the image performs’ can offer ways to question, negotiate, communicate or describe moments of erasure or remembering in direct reference to the narratives of violence, faith and place.

Since 2005 Higgins has been developing an on-going body of work collectively titled unloud, using painting and its process to explore how to (re) integrate images through art into historically active conversations concerning both shared history and contemporary experience of violence.  It asked how the production of painting can communicate an understanding of violence, faith and place through a research process involving the production of: paintings, photographs, videos, texts, critical reflection and fieldwork.

 

 

Higgins states “Northern Russia has been described as being shrouded in a rare serene stillness and beauty undermined by the decaying presence of evil. As I stepped off the plane on the Solovki Islands in north Russia* in December 2004 I experienced a sudden and significant shift in understanding about my cultural place in the world. Solovki is for me a place of limits, a frontier or an extreme situation incorporating the extremes of climate, geography and nature, faith, brutality, beauty and fantasy. This experience continues to define the contexts and approaches for making unloud as I feel it touches not just my own but wider shared histories. In particular I am concerned with exploring ideas of testimony and to try and find the means to visualise through painting how the personal and the historical meet together. How do we construct social memory through images today? 

* The Solovetsky Islands, often referred to as Solovki, are just 165km from the Arctic Circle. The remote archipelago of islands is known for their scenic beauty and has long been used for both retreat and exile. Founded in the 15th Century, its monastery is one of Russia’s most famous and holy, and became a major pilgrimage destination.  a UNESCO world heritage site and the islands that Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago” made Stalin’s “mother of all gulags” infamous. “It is hard to imagine such a compelling and concentrated series of physical and emotional histories unfolding in one place (Solovki).” (Wilk, M 2003).

The research takes Solovki and its narrative history along with particular related sites in Lithuania, northern Russia and northern Norway as the case for study ‘unloud’. To address themes of exile, displaced cultural heritage and the representation of social memory in relation to sites that provoke social imagination e.g. the Ghettos in Kaunas Lithuania, sites of exile and deportation from Lithuania in the Russian north and the contested historical sites of the north western Russian border.

Research Questions or Problems

The research asks how the ‘image’ and the act of ‘making images’ combined with ‘where the image performs’ can offer ways to question, negotiate, communicate or describe moments of erasure or remembering in direct reference to the narratives of violence, faith and place.

The fundamental issue is: when counter-memories are produced (of state violence, war, and genocide; of colonial inequalities and atrocities; of embodied experiences that contest official histories; of the heritage and existence of subjugated groups and threatened cultures), they offer positive transformation of social and political reality in the future - signifying a form of knowledge and it's associated intangible expressions that is contingent, subjective, and transformative.

The image is seen here as a significant agent or catalyst to aid our cultural understanding with emphasis on the exploration of cultural heritage and the dynamics of cultural translation. The representation of the past as an intervention that speaks into the needs of the present, in order for us to understand the selves we are already becoming.

To focus in particular on the impact of historical legacy “at the very fringe of our apprehension” (Daugelis,O. Director MK-C National Museum of Art, Kaunas, Lithuania 2013) in forming cultural heritage, whilst also acknowledging how this has implicit transnational implications for others and our collective related histories. The research has identified a specific problem in the lack of models or examples of cultural artefacts or resources engaging in the research question and the case for study today. The research acknowledges the urgency, implicit importance and significance to address and capture this. The distinctive contribution to this debate is to situate the research question in relation to the contested role of documentary film-making and the premise that still haunts us that ‘photographs are documents’, both through the process by which they are made, their form when presented and where they perform. The research will explore and challenge the premise of a difficulty faced when trying to communicate experiences of others distinct from information, records or evidence as defined through the document, in ways that render documentary legibility and historical accuracy in a new light. 

 

 

 

In a Place Like This

Collaborative research project Johan Sandborg (Norway) & Duncan Higgins (UK)

The books explore the echoes of places, people and a terrible history repeated. The questions central to this is the difficulty we face whenever we try to communicate our most intimate experiences to others. The discrepancy in question concerns the very structure of testimony itself: the language of images and representation and how to make ideas and emotions visible. The hope is that this developing exploration is neither an explanation nor mystification; it attempts to put forward visual discussion, critical positions and emotional signposts for others.

“In a place like this” is constructed as a montage, a complete interwoven idea, in an attempt to recount a narrative testimony within the landscapes in which it is inscribed.

 Three adaptations constructed through book formats. 

 

1. A printed book consisting of three parts. Part one is a visual dialogue between images constructed to function within the format of this book. Part two is a textual exploration of the questions, dialogues, and processes that have been encountered during this process. Part three is a repository presented as a catalogue of the raw data that was used in the visual dialog in part one. ISBN: 978-82-8013-094-5


2. A unique large format book (60x45 cm), consisting of over 150 pages of photographs and drawings. Each page printed and hand drawn to create a singular dialectic form conceived as an autonomous artefact.


3. A digital edition viewable and downloadable though the online web site; www.inaplacelikethis.com This web site also archives the whole ongoing enquiry.

 

 

 

Published in Duncan Higgins

For the next exhibition at Mrs Rick’s Cupboard, Louisa Chambers envisages the space functioning as an optical device similar to a Stereoscope viewer.

A stereoscope is a device for viewing two separate images that have been taken from a slightly different viewpoint corresponding to the spacing of the eyes. When observing the images through the device, the two dimensional images merge together to become a single three dimensional scene. Chambers’ recent paintings respond to on-going research into depiction and visual perception on two dimensional surfaces, concentrating on the mediums of drawing, collage and painting.

Multiple dimensions and perspectives that feature in the paintings are explored through the materiality of paint and the repetition of geometric motifs which are floating ambiguously in space. These shapes and silhouettes have been assembled in the artworks into anthropomorphic forms that teeter between abstraction and figuration. Chambers’ paintings present alternative universes where impossible science fiction/architectural structures comment on conflicts between our inner dream worlds and the technological robotic control on our everyday lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in Louisa Chambers

I am interested in exploring our journey towards ‘the singularity’ and what will life be like for humans afterward. In the mid-fifties two mathematicians, Stanislaw Ulam and John von Neumann had a conversation, in which von Neumann spoke of "ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue."

 

 

Deploying strategies of flatness through grids, I dig into historical images as a kind of archaeological process. I juxtapose images of modern technology with painterly strategies deployed historically by early modernist painters. In Philip K. Dick’s novel ‘Counter-Clock World’ the earth has entered a sidereal shift in which time moves backwards. I think of my practice within this fictional world and how it relates to a reverse modernist practice that exposes the idealism of that time to our present dystopian gaze. Recently I stumbled on two images, both of power stations, which represent and bookend the moment when time went into reverse and our journey towards the singularity began.I am engaged by both the promise and collapse of utopian modernism. There is a parallel between the aesthetics used in the control room display systems and in the painterly devices of modernism.

 

The theme of alternative futures is central to my work through both science fiction and the use of imagery from nuclear technology. I am proposing to exhibit paintings on the theme of nuclear reactor control room operators. I propose to exhibit a large painting and a wall of research photographs and drawings. I am continuing to develop the themes started in the paintings shown in ‘The Potato Eaters Discover Cold Fusion’ 2014.

 

 

The Potato Eaters Discover Cold Fusion was a solo exhibition of large and small-scale paintings integrating the Modernist aesthetic of flatness and the grid motif, with a figurative approach to painting starting from an archival image of a nuclear reactor control room dated 1963. The eight paintings, sourced from this image, were displayed in one room and in another room archival material mixing historical images of nuclear science with science fiction novels was displayed, proposing an alternative future past. This body of work forms part of a dual enquiry: firstly, exploring how the specificity of painting has the capacity for imagining ‘alternative futures’ through its appropriation and reworking of archival material. Through the discipline of Painting this enquiry creates an innovative assembly of information. The act of painting is performed as a process of visual archaeology, where the generation of repeated versions and permutations based on the same source material opens up the image to multiple interpretations, allowing for a re-imagining of a future that the archive promises but remains unrealised. Secondly, this enquiry intervenes in an art historical narrative, contributing to a debate within the international field of contemporary painting, involving the recuperation of the Modernist legacy, ‘swerved’ through the subversive deployment of representation.

 

VIMEO video here

http://www.boningtongallery.co.uk/exhibitions/potato-eaters

 

 

 

 

Published in Sean Cummins
Taking centre stage in the gallery space is a printed Harlequin-like figure constructed with pentomino shapes. Making reference to Pablo Picasso’s Harlequin from 1915, the torso has been reduced to a flattened form emphasised by the repeated geometric pattern of misshapen diamonds and irregular polygons depicted on the costume. 
 
The rigidness of the Harlequin configuration is disrupted by idiosyncratic geometric motifs, suspended in an uninhabitable void. Carnivalesque structures cheekily are shifting and shaking in this invented space teasing with the viewer’s attention. 
 
In her most recent work, Chambers' has been playfully rearranging systems, structures and repeated patterns. Appropriated references derive from architectural sources, scientific and mathematical educational manuals to the everyday drawing upon daily routines.  Science fiction like objects and landscapes that often feature, present alternative visual and virtual worlds where structures govern our society and technology rules.
 
 

 
Published in Louisa Chambers

Sean completed an MA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College in 2000. His work explores ideas of spatial immersion, emptiness and losing oneself through temporal collapse. Recently he made paintings which attempt to re-visit the future optimism of the year 1963. Sometimes he gives himself and others instructions to make drawings, in an attempt to make so-called ‘expressive’ work outside of an individual subjectivity. Recent exhibitions have included The Potato Eaters Discover Cold Fusion, Bonington Gallery and Thoresby Thursday, One Thoresby Street in Nottingham; No Fun, Enclave, and Marbled Reams, Limoncello, in London; Pile, Surface Gallery, Nottingham/Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. Previous projects have been shown in USA, Austria, Hungary, Poland, South Korea and South Africa.  Sean received the Abbey Award at the British School in Rome. He is a resident studio artist at One Thoresby Street, Nottingham. www.seancummins.org

 

  

 

  

 

 

Published in Sean Cummins

Geoff Diego Litherland will be showing work alongside David M Price and Simon Bacon in PERPETUAL DAWN at Lacey Contemporary, London

Lacey Contemporary presents the work of contemporary painters Geoff Diego Litherland and David Price alongside bronze sculptor Simon Bacon in this first collaboration ‘Perpetual Dawn’ opening 29th June 2016.

Through this exhibition, the artists present wild and reimagined worlds formed by destructed landscapes that seem to echo an ancient time. Traces of human life are scattered throughout, with classical references that seem to allude to the loss of a great empire or an apocalyptic world.

29th June – 14th July 2016

Lacey Contemporary Gallery
8 Clarendon Cross
London W11 4AP

www.laceycontemporarygallery.co.uk

+44 (0) 207 313 9068
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Published in Shout

'Disastrous Situations (wreckage)’, comprises a large-scale sculptural installation examining notions of ‘aftermath and wreckage’ in relation to a continued exploration of the seductive power of media representations of violence and destruction. 

The work was exhibited as part of the 9th Kaunas Art Biennial, 'UNITEXT', Kaunas, Lithuania. The exhibition runs from 13 September 2013 - 4 January 2014

 

 

The Biennial’s aims are to create conditions for immediate collisions of an artwork and a spectator, allowing the experience of art as a universal text, inviting artists to present works, experiences of which are based on a direct confrontation with an object / space / semantic field.

Please visit the website for more information, www.bienale.lt/2013/en/ 

Published in Craig Fisher

Rotation (rəʊˈteɪʃən) 

— n

The act of rotating; rotary motion

(Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition 2009)

New Court Gallery is delighted to host a solo exhibition of new artworks by Louisa Chambers. For this exhibition the artist has set up imaginary points of reference from inside of the picture frame right to the centre of the gallery space, linking painted surface with sculptural objects and its surroundings. Expanding the dictionary’s definition further, into astronomical terms, Rotation, can be understood as the Earth's path around the sun controlled by a gravitational pull. Similar to the arrangement within the gallery space, points can be navigated outside the white cube, where forms revolve in the everyday, suggesting that larger forces are at play.

The geometric patterns and structural forms that feature in the paintings originate from architectural sources and diagrams used in scientific and mathematical educational manuals. These shapes and silhouettes have been assembled in the artworks into anthropomorphic forms that teeter between abstraction and figuration. Flat three-dimensional shapes are dispersed around the gallery space acting as playful interactions with the paintings. Formal concerns that extend between the 3D object flipping to the materiality of the 2D painted surface refer to the artist’s on going experimentation in the notions of painting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in Louisa Chambers