Venice Biennale 2015
Beacon is one of the partner organisations of EM15 a collaboration between artist-led organisations and institutions from the East Midlands region of the UK. Our other partners are: One Thoresby Street, Nottingham; New Art Exchange, Nottingham; QUAD, Derby; Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham.
For the 2015 Venice Biennale EM15 has commissioned two projects for its premiere presentation at the Venice Biennale: Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf a fully playable mini golf course and Sunscreen an online project featuring new digital commissions in the form of screensavers from 40 artists with a connection to the East Midlands region. Free to download from www.sun-screen.uk
Both projects responded to EM15’s curatorial approach to the 56th Venice Biennale - The Leisure Principle. The Leisure Principle considers the concept of tourism and trade as a metaphor to explore current global economic complexities through one of the defining principles of leisure, that of consumption and how this consumption shapes our identity.
Images of each of the commissioned golf holes (photo credit: Thierry Bal).
View of LeisureLand Golf from a bridge
B.professional is an integrated programme of development opportunities for artists, audiences and arts professionals. Its four strands B.resident, B.mentored, B.talking and B.audience come together to create meaningful spaces of connectivity for artists and their audience.
B.resident is a series of three artist residencies in which each artist will be provided with a fee, studio, living accommodation and mentoring support. Each two-week residency will culminate with an exhibition and a presentation by the artist as part of the B.talking programme. Alexandra Parry, Lorrice Douglas and Cedar Lewisohn were selected to B.resident following a national call for submissions.
The aims of B.resident are to:
Offer the selected artists the time and space to focus on the development of their work.
Challenge the selected artists to develop their understanding of how a contemporary art practice may reside in a rural context.
Develop longer-term relationships with the artists Beacon works with.
B.mentored, running concurrently with B.resident, focuses on the development of critical thinking around an individual artists practice. Open to application from artists living or working in the East Midlands region the following artists were selected GÂST, Marc Renshaw, Ellie Collins, Scott Mason, Alice White and Claire Morris-Wright. Each artist will receive mentoring sessions tailored to meet their individual needs and will present their practice at a B.talking event.
B.talking a free programme of events to which you are invited to B.audience. Each B.talking event is held in a social and convivial setting providing a user-friendly forum for the sharing of opinions, understanding, information and support about contemporary art practice. Attendees living within a 15-mile radius will offered free return travel by minibus.
ALEXANDRA PARRY 10 - 24 September 2014
Alexandra Parry’s work is primarily concerned with the interaction between people and objects and how objects affect social relations. She explores this through making objects or structures that have an explicit social function or work to make social relations visible. Much of her work is about and situated in public space.
She has an interest in collaborative working models and is a co-director of the co-operatively run workshop RARA as well as a member of Collaborative Research Group based at CRATE project space in Margate. She frequently collaborates with people in the making of work.
Alexandra has undertaken several commissions of permanent and temporary works in the public realm including Walthamstow Marsh, Regents Park, Gillett Square in Dalston and Milton Keynes. She has exhibited at The Slade Research Centre, The Roundhouse Theatre, Amnesty International and Quay Arts. She has a BA in Social Anthropology from Goldsmiths, University of London. Alexandra lives and works in London.
Alexandra Parry reflects on her experience.
I arrived in Wellingore at the beginning of September. My starting point for the residency was to explore how objects and situating objects in public space can provoke conversations with people and how this can be used as a research tool. So much information can be gleaned from the internet, but I am interested in acquiring knowledge through conversations and chance encounters with people in public spaces and using an object as the starting point for these conversations.
On my first day of the residency I walked around the village, getting an overall sense of the place I would be in for two weeks. I wandered around, following my instinct, the obvious paths in the village as well as suggestions that John, the curator at Beacon had given me. During this walk I was thinking about how I could find some materials to start making. In London, I’m used to there being an availability of free materials in public spaces - things households or industry have thrown out. On first glance in the streets of Wellingore there was one skip with a couple of pallets and some building rubble. So I approached a man who was doing some gardening outside his house and asked if he had any spare wood. He gave me a nice bit of hard wood and some plywood.
I had decided the first object I would make would be a bench, as it’s an object that would allow me to create temporary social spaces around the village. Due to the size of the materials the bench was smaller than most, but enough for two people to sit on. I carried it around the village, set up in different places and waited. The first place I went to was the village green, where I waited half an hour for someone to come. The village green is a curious place, a sort of triangular roundabout, with a tree in the middle and a concrete verge. Later on in my residency I interviewed the man who had built this green with his father. He is a farmer and landowner whose family had lived in the village for a couple of generations. He described how he had built the green and that it was later urbanised with the kerb, to allow for traffic to come through without destroying the grass.
During these early conversations I used a set of questions as a starting point. I asked about what public spaces in the village people go to, what they do there and if any public spaces have changed. I documented these conversations on my phone. I soon abandoned my pre-determined questions and approached people for chats. I also stopped using the bench as I realised that the bench had been a starting point for me to put myself in these different spaces, but it was actually my approach that had initiated the conversations.
People kept on recommending that I talk to different people in the village:
‘John would really be the best person to talk to, he’s lived here all his life’
I was being referred to people in the village and I realised I was relying on a social network, rather than an object for this to happen.
After steering the project away from the object I started thinking about knowledge. I was constantly being told to talk to people in the village who had lived there a long time and I started thinking about who has authority over knowledge. This idea of knowledge = time spent challenged me as an outsider coming to the village who was proposing to make work about the village in a short space of time (2 weeks).
The conversations I had included varied forms of individual knowledge and experiences, peppered with place specific references. The knowledge seemed both subjective and objective (as there were crossovers of knowledge between the interviews) and changeable in relation to time. I selected sentences from the interviews as well as sentences from Wellingore: Past and Present, a book of historical photographs that was given to every household in the village and the local parish magazine.
I cut up words from the sentences I selected and attached them to building blocks that I made. I then took them back to the public spaces for people to arrange and rearrange. I met a couple of dog walkers, who were more interested in talking to me rather than playing with the boxes. On my walk back home to the studio, I was thinking about how I could create something that people wouldn’t think twice about using. Which is when I realised that I was essentially asking people to play the fridge magnet poetry game.
I liked the idea of using fridge magnets, which are something recognisable and it is obvious how they work. The magnet would enable the experiment to get inside peoples homes where this knowledge could be played around with informally and in people’s own time. It would also allow this knowledge to be reconfigured according to events and time. People could also decide what objects they could attach the words to, limited only by the force of magnetism.
I made several packets of the words, which I gave to the petrol station / post office, the two village pubs, my next-door neighbour and a resident in the village that I had interviewed.
I left my contact email on the envelope inviting people to email me with their new configurations. I heard nothing. I went back two weeks after I had given them and most of the people who I had given them too weren’t there. There was one household, that I got to know over the course of the residency who I know participated (see photograph below) but I’ll never know what the configurations will be in the future or what became of the other magnets.
Towards the end of my residency I started thinking about my practice more generally, how I’ve used objects to provoke interaction between the public and how conversations have been an essential part of my work. I revisited a project I did in 2008, in which I had displayed some of my possessions that had some sentimental value in public space. I had an extraordinary conversation with a man about what I was doing. During this conversation I realised that sometimes the audience knows more about your work than you do and how conversations are so important to our understanding and ideas.
I returned to the object, my starting point. I began to attach the benches I had made to fences using bolts; a small experiment into thinking about the road to permanency through fixtures. During this time I was thinking about planning permission and individual rights and means to reconfigure public space.
After the residency was over, I returned two weeks later to deliver a public talk about my time in Wellingore. It was a good opportunity to revisit what I had done and consolidate some of my experiences. During the residency I was aware how much my practice is focused around outcome and working towards a final object, because often that is what I am commissioned to do. It was amazing to have two weeks to experiment and follow threads through by making things. I realised how important it is to play around with new ideas and to follow them through by doing them. It is in the doing that takes us to new places.
I also realised how much effect working solo in a studio had on me. My studio space in London is the co-operative RARA, a chaotic workshop, with no dividing walls, used by architects, carpenters, builders and designers. I’m used to conversation and discussion in the workspace. During the residency I was a solitary worker, alone in the studio. Since the residency I’ve been working from home more!
LORRICE DOUGLAS 17 - 30 November 2015
Lorrice Douglas works with installation, photography, sound and short written sketches. She gained a Masters degree in Fine Art at the Slade and went on to participate in De Ateliers Studio Programme, Amsterdam. Her practice is primarily about an observational space. Many of the projects have taken place in (or related to) culturally transitional spaces or rural settings.
'I spend time at a site and listen to the narratives that evolve out of being there. Through this, I am constructing a space where myself and the audience can pause, and observe a dynamic of which we are both a part. These can be moments of solitude and encounter, oblique or highly resonant, triggering notions of other spaces or other times.'
Lorrice Douglas reflects on her experience.
There are numerous ways in which I could reflect on this residency. With respect to time, yours and mine - I shall aim to introduce some (but not all) of the elements that were resonant for me.
Several of my projects have taken place in rural landscapes or transitional spaces. I particularly enjoy residencies and in each one there is a period of seeking. A desire to understand the geography; where I am.
My residency in Wellingore took place in a former Methodist Chapel Reading Room, a building designed for more than one purpose. It was a space for both looking in and looking out. I am intrigued by that dynamic.
Throughout my stay I was thinking about the notion of ‘pastoral’. Both in it’s associations with the rural landscape and in an awareness of others.
In addition to making new work, I considered the studio as a space for contemplation. One of the first things I noticed upon returning to this part of Lincolnshire was the afternoon light, which seemed golden as I drove over the wolds. In the days to follow the rapidly changing daylight became a characteristic of my temporary home, drawing its own images throughout the interior of the building. In my first week before I had met many people, I would photograph the light as it moved across the walls.
During my time at the Reading Room a book came to mind that I had read on a previous residency at Lanternhouse, Cumbria. This was the autobiographical novel ‘Wednesday Early Closing’ by poet Norman Nicholson. The book is coloured by the interiors of Nicholson’s childhood during the interwar years, the Methodist School Room being one of them.
I thought about this as I noticed names carved into stone.
One of the dates was 1925, an era that Nicholson was writing about. These landscapes were both rural yet many miles apart. I thought about the cultural landscape of that time and the sounds that might connect them.
Sound has an important influence on my work. Sound, conversation, the audible, and the less so. Not just what is said, played, heard, but the way in which something is said - played - heard - unheard. How it ‘resounds’ in a space.
In that respect we could say I am interested in the character and tone of things.
The studio was open for people to look around during B.talking. I placed some short sketches I had written on a table. I am working towards a space where myself and the audience can pause, and observe a dynamic of which we are both a part. It is less about the laboratory, museum or gallery as established institutions for looking and observing and more about the spaces we access in our everyday lives — a view from a window, a route taken when walking the dog…These can be both moments of solitude and encounter, oblique or highly resonant.
On one occasion I had some old slides of mine and a projector set up in the studio and the writer Desmond Avery stopped at one photo of a plate of food and said “It looks spartan”. He then went on to talk about George Orwell’s autobiographical novel ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’. Desmond spoke in great detail about the book and I asked if I could record him as he spoke. I was inspired that one image had sparked such a seamless account of another space. It took it further, into someone else’s interests, someone else’s narrative. I showed the slide along with Desmond’s voice at the B.talking event. It was a small projection, with the projector placed on the floor.
At another point I had placed a collection of wood on the studio floor. Each piece looked blank, yet to be used. They were offcuts, each one given to me by different people between Wellingore and Lincoln. They appeared blank - but I knew the conversations behind them. Something unresolved, that might be revisited another time.
During the B.talking event I included 2 photographs from a previous project I made at Beacon in 2006 and said that rather than me talking about them that people could ask about them afterwards if they liked. Well, questions did come in, one person wanted to know more about the narrative. When I flicked back to the earlier slide (image below) this seemed to generate conversation.
John Plowman said “I was at this event and we have been looking at a still image but I notice we cannot see the audience in these images.” It was a fair observation. I flicked to the image below. I added that there was also another element - the sound of the organ (playing extremely slowly, almost incoherent) and how the sound of it reverberated around the hall. In situ, the sound was impossible to ignore and now as a still image, it was easy to overlook the impact it had within the space. We acknowledged that the work operates on different levels, in terms of a live piece within a specific landscape for a short time, and as a still image.
It seemed that there was some kind of value in showing the present and the past. Being able to refer to an earlier work; to fragments, and their interconnections.
From conversations with John Plowman, I would say that B.resident, really was about being present. It is rare to find a situation which truly values the process, without the expectation of artistic outcome. I have always seen the process of how I work with an audience (and people during the making of my work) as part of the work.
Having spent recent years making consciously low key works I felt that my practice would benefit significantly from an on-site dialogue with Beacon and a wide range of people about their reception. I arrived with no big plan of what I would make. I wanted to be open to the small and incidental things. I made a point of talking to the audience and seeing what happened. It was notable how much people were willing to engage and their presence will inspire me for some time to come.
he does that
going through the thoughts that came into his mind
one of the quite
things about it is that
he realises at that point
he quite likes living in the world
although you wouldn’t really
think so from the things that he had written up to that point…”
CEDAR LEWISOHN March 2015
Cedar Lewisohn is an artist and curator. He has recently been working on The Canals Project, a series of public art works for the waterways of East London. He recently organised The Hecklers, a large scale group exhibition for The New Art Gallery Walsall. Between 2005 and 2011 he worked for Tate. He has published two books and is currently working on a new project for the Jan Van Eyck Academy
6-28 October 2012
Compass presents four new commissions at three heritage sites in rural Lincolnshire: Woolsthorpe Manor; Grimsthorpe Castle and Ayscoughfee Hall from internationally acclaimed artists Jordan Baseman, Amanda Coogan, Jem Finer and Bethan Huws.
Jordan Baseman’s films are developed from the interview process that is at the heart of his practice, the resulting work focuses primarily on belief systems, the motivation of the human spirit and lived experience. His films have been exhibited in this country and abroad including Venice Biennale 2009, Baltic, Gateshead, UK 2010, Light Projects, Melbourne, Australia, 2011.
Amanda Coogan has performed and exhibited her work both nationally and internationally including The Venice Biennale; PS1, New York; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; Galeria Safia, Barcelona; IMMA & RHA, Dublin; Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; Asiatopia, Bangkok; VISUAL, Carlow; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris and the MARTa Museum, Herford.
Jem Finer is a UK-based artist, musician and composer. Since studying computer science in the 1970s, he has worked in a variety of fields, including photography, film, experimental and popular music and installation. His
1000-year long musical composition, Longplayer, commissioned by Artangel represents a convergence of many of his concerns, particularly those relating to systems, long-durational processes and extremes of scale in both time and space.
Welsh artist Bethan Huws is interested in subtly altering our experience of spaces to create sites for contemplation. Working with watercolour, drawings, wall texts, installation, sculpture and film to make unexpected links to our experiences of daily life. She has exhibited extensively in this country most recently at the Whitechapel Gallery, London and abroad representing Wales at the Venice Biennale in 2003.
Alongside this, Compass will include a programme of previously presented durational performances by Amelia Beavis-Harrison, Joana Cifre-Cerda, Robert Foster, Laura Mahony, Julieann O'Malley, Hestia Peppe and Sally Anne Roberts
The name Woolsthorpe is derivative of the sheep trade the modest manor was used before it became the birthplace of physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton. Newton was born here on Christmas Day 1642 in a bedroom that can still be viewed today.
He moved away from home to study at Cambridge University, but returned to Woolsthorpe Manor during 1666 and 1667 when the plague hit London. It was during this time that he performed some of his most salient experiments involving light, optics and gravity, and the apple tree that lies outside the house is a descendant of the catalyst for his theories of gravity.
Following Newton’s death in 1727, Woolsthorpe Manor was sold to a farming family and remained in the family for two hundred years.
The Royal Trust bought the house for the National Trust in 1942, and it was in a considerable state of disrepair. Areas of the house have since been restored, including steps to the hayloft and an old kitchen garden wall. Although none of the displayed furniture and belongings of the house were ever owned by Newton, there is some slight visible evidence of the scientist’s subsistence. He was known to use the walls as ‘doodling pads’ for his formulas, some of which can still be faintly seen today.
Jem Finer ¡Arriba!
In a small caravan parked in the grounds, Finer’s commission includes three interconnected films made from found, amended and invented footage and sound. These have been edited to create a voyage through fictional spaces and the cosmos set up to be viewed through the caravan windows. We experience a virtual journey through altered states and the far reaches of the cosmos; a fitting piece to be located in the place where Newton was also concerned with the far reaches of the universe.
¡Arriba! is a co-commission with Tatton Park Biennial.
About Jem Finer
Since studying computer science in the 1970s, Jem Finer has worked in a variety of fields including film, photography, experimental and popular music and installation. His work incorporates the reconfiguration of old technology with long-term sustainability, whilst encompassing sound with landscape, the cosmos and astrophysics. Furthering his works in the latter two areas, between 2003 and 2005 Finer was Artist in Residence in the astrophysics department of Oxford University. Here he made a number of works including two sculptural observatories, Landscope and The Centre of the Universe.
His recent works focus on his aforementioned interest in sustainability and older technologies and include Spiegelei, a spherical camera obscura. He is also currently developing an 8 bit gravity powered computer, ¡supercomputer!, for a site in Cambridge.
Finer has also created many musical pieces and installations. His 1000 year long musical composition, Longplayer, represents a convergence of many of his concerns, particularly those relating to systems, long-durational processes and extremes of scale in both time and space. Another of his musical works was Score For a Hole In the Ground,a permanent, self-sustaining musical installation in a forest in Kent which relies only on gravity and the elements to be audible.
Bethan Huws The Last Supper
Bethan Huws’ piece at Woolsthorpe Manor presents a series of work notes on The Juggler of Gravity Marcel Duchamp, 1947, set in the context of Newton’s apple tree. Huws has a long-standing interest in the works and theories of Marcel Duchamp, particularly his extensive use of French idioms.
About Bethan Huws
Bethan Huws’ work aims to address the fundamental questions concerning the content and meaning of art, language and existence. Her bilingual upbringing in North Wales is often highlighted in her work, which includes wall texts, installation, sculpture and film that make links to experiences of daily life and Huws’ own personal memories and cultural identity, combining conceptual art with comedic wit.
One of these pieces was False Teeth (2009) when she stencilled the words ‘False Teeth’ onto the windows of a seaside shelter in holiday resort Margate, in Kent.
Her creations of tiny boats made from a single reed reflect personal memories of when she used to make them with her father when she was a young girl. Her exhibition, entitledCapelgwyn (2011), at the Whitechapel gallery in London featured one boat, no bigger than a fingernail, in a glass case.
Architectural intervention is also a subject Huws has familiarized herself with. By altering gallery floors-such as raising them (Capelgwyn, 2011) Huws adjusts the perspective and experience of space, both spatially and acoustically, forging new sites for contemplation. The readymade and conceptual art of the 1960’s, particularly that of Marcel Duchamp whose method of working she has been exploring since 1999, are often quietly echoed in Huws’ work. This reflects her interest in French idiomatic expression and gives possible interpretations to Duchamp’s work.
Throughout its long history, Grimsthorpe Castle has been occupied by several families, but it is now home to the present Lady Willoughby de Eresby and managed by the Grimsthorpe and Drummond Castle Trust. Over the past century it has been used as an emergency landing ground in World War I and a bombing range in World War II. In October, Grimsthorpe Castle will be one of three heritage sites showing the work of international artists for COMPASS. Bethan Huws will be exhibiting her enigmatic text artwork in the grounds of the castle.
Construction of Grimsthorpe Castle began in the 13th century by Gilbert de Grant, Earl of Lincoln. After his death, the castle fell into the hands of King John. The naming of King John’s Tower, which is believed to be part of the original 1140 build, is misleading, suggesting the castle’s origin to be in King John's time.
During the 15th century, Lord Lovell occupied the castle, however his support for the early Tudor dynasty saw the property seized by the royals, and given to a family that supported the sovereign.
Home to the de Eresby family since 1516, Henry VIII granted it to the 11th Baron Willoughby de Eresby, upon his marriage to Maria de Salinas, lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon. The last architectural work to be completed on the building was commissioned by the 17th Baron Willoughby de Eresby in 1715. To celebrate his position as first Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven, he employed Sir John Vanbrugh to design a baroque front to the house.
The 3,000-acre park of rolling pastures, lakes, ornamental ponds, herbaceous borders and a mini arboretum was landscaped by a contemporary of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown in 1771. Some oak trees on the land were recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Many were felled during the Tudor period for shipbuilding, however some are thought to have still been in the park in the 20th century.
Bethan Huws Where is Duchamp? He is in the Library
Bethan Huws’ piece combines her textual work with her deep-rooted interest in the work of Marcel Duchamp, the father of conceptual art who she has been studying since 1999-2000. At Grimsthorpe Castle her enigmatic text runs the length of an impressive colonnade - each letter occupying a single alcove, echoing the books in a library. The work reads Where Is Duchamp? He is in the Library. The central fountain and traditional sculptures in the colonnade give a further humourous context.
Sitting on the banks of the River Welland in the fenland Town of Spalding, Lincolnshire, is Ayscoughfee Hall. This beautiful, historic venue has provided the inspiration for the works of Jordan Baseman, Amanda Coogan and Bethan Huws that will be shown here during the COMPASS exhibition, starting on 6 October.
Ayscoughfee Hall is a Grade I listed building dating back to around 1450, and is one of the most complete medieval buildings to have survived the 15th Century. It is rumored that the name is derived from Ascough, a Lincolnshire Knight in the early 1500’s, while ‘fee’ is a term for a portion of land, given by King to a Knight.
Sir Richard Aldwyn is thought to have had the Hall built. He was a prosperous wool merchant. The family’s climb up the social ladder saw Sir Richard’s son, Sir Nicholas Aldwyn, become the Lord Mayor of London in 1499.
The house left the Aldwyn family and was brought by the Johnson family in 1658. Maurice Johnson II, a keen historian, documented his time at the building and its surrounding grounds. He founded the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society in 1710, with poet Alexander Pope and Sir Isaac Newton being key members.
The Johnsons modernized the building in the 19th Century, giving the hall its Gothic appearance. In 1898, the public bought the grounds and house, following the death of the sixth Maurice Johnson. Over the years it has been used as a school, local government building and finally, a museum which is owned by South Holland District Council.
Bethan Huws Homage to a Gardener
The homage, as Dan Cooper (the head gardener at Ayscoughfee Hall) modestly pointed out to me, is not only to him, but also to a whole line of gardeners who worked here before him. The oldest part of the yew hedge is 300 years old, making it the oldest kept yew hedge in Britain. It has been clipped into a unique, cloud-like form – “contemporary style”, as Dan puts it – which follows the trees’ natural growth pattern and gives the hedge a distinctly surrealist appearance. Originally it had a conventional geometric shape and it was only through periods of neglect, when it was left to grow wildly, that it assumed an unusually free form. Now the hedge is trimmed and shaped once a year at the end of October. This takes one man two weeks using electric shears and a hydraulic platform; previously this would have taken six men four months, using hand shears and ladders.
Inside the yew hedge there are ten speakers playing the Dawn Chorus.
The recording is the British Library CD “Dawn Chorus”, NSA CD16.
Jordan Baseman A Moment of Darkness
Baseman’s piece is based on his time spent with a group of local paranormal investigators. His interview with the leading ghost hunter and trance medium, forms a monologue as she talks about what it meant to her personally and politically when she discovered she could talk with the dead. The narrative is heard against a backdrop of projected abstract imagery. The visual material is taken from two sources: the speaking part visuals are from film exposed during an all-night ghosthunt (led by the narrator of the film) on July 16 2012. Capturing images without lenses, the 16mm camera was opened when people said that they felt the presence of ghosts, so as to catch Spirits. The other material was filmed with a malfunctioning moving image pinhole 16mm camera made and adapted by Baseman, which he used to film the landscape from train windows as he travelled through the Lincolnshire landscape to attend the meetings.
About Jordan Baseman
Baseman’s films have featured in international exhibition and film festivals. Combining reportage, portraiture, documentary, creative non-fiction and narrative practices Baseman’s films seek to entertain, emotionally engage and challenge audiences. Reflecting his interest in relinquishing the boundaries of control within a process of image-making his work celebrates the collision between representation and abstraction. Baseman edits long interview sessions with his subjects to create his own narrative from the spoken words of their answers, creating work that lies between fiction and fact.
Narration, storytelling based on intimate personal experiences, speculation, opinion, ideas and anecdotes are often interwoven with empirical, known or factual information. Dark is the Night (2009), a series of short films interviewing Soho residents, is a prime example, and his exciting new work for COMPASS A Moment of Darkness includes the same combination.
Amanda Coogan is at the forefront of some of the most exciting and prolific durational performances to date. She has studied at a multitude of art institutions, including Hochschule für Bildende Kunste, Germany, under the self-acclaimed “grandmother of performance art,” Marina Abramović. Her practice involves communicating ideas through longitudinal performance. Her work often begins with her own body and challenges the expectations of discernible context, such as head banging to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, and signing the lyrics to Gill Scott-Heron’s ‘The Revolution will not be Televised. Represented by the Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin, Coogan has exhibited work in Europe and America. In 2008 she performed Yellow for 6 days at the Artists Space Gallery, New York and in 2009 she made her seminal durational performance, The Fall, over 17 days at the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester for the Manchester International Festival’s acclaimed exhibition Marina Abramovic Presents....
Amanda Coogan worked with seven emerging artists Amelia Beavis-Harrison, Joana Cifre-Cerda, Robert Foster, Laura Mahony, Julieann O'Malley, Hestia Peppe and Sally Anne Roberts selected from a national open call to create a performance piece at Ayscoughfee Hall.
Sally Anne Roberts
Joana Cifre Cerde
Amelia Beavis-Harrison Watch the wall, my darling, as the gentlemen go by!
An interpretive performance referencing the associations of Ayscoughfee Hall and its connections with ‘owling’, an ancient term that refers to the smuggling of sheep. In this costumed performance, the artist walks back and forth. Whilst walking she plays long notes on the violin of no tuneful mention. The violin was an instrument of the common folk and their music, the smugglers and their ballads.
Sally Anne Roberts The Lemon Squeezer
During COMPASS the performance will include the cutting and squeezing of two hundred lemons with the juice being stored in glass vitrines. This reflects the artist’s interest in working with the physical state of matter rather than making a physical representation. Whilst performed with all of the precision and attention to detail, this work plays with all of the senses.
Joana Cifre-Cerda AUS.CUL.TA.TION
The dictionary definition of the word AUS.CUL.TA.TION defines it in general terms as the act of listening and in a medical context the use of a stethoscope to monitor sounds within the body. Joana Cifre-Cerda listens to her own body with a stethoscope. She is the only one who can hear the sounds from within whilst the viewer witnesses the time and care taken to perform this intimate act. We are reminded that taking time and space to listen to one's own body and needs is not an easy task and requires strength.
Robert Foster Welcome
Both inviting and disconcerting, Welcome presents the audience with conflicting possible interpretations for the same proposition. Inspired by slapstick comedy, the work uses a tragi-comic register to subvert the everyday function of a domestic object, and instill a sense of uncertainty about how it is to be responded to by the viewer.
Laura Mahony No Title
The artist walks around the building and grounds of Ayscoughfee Hall authoritatively, recording a continuous spoken commentary on the activity around her. Her commentary may include overheard conversations as she walks through the building.
Julieann O’Malley Untitled
O’ Malley physically pays homage to Isabella Johnson, the last lady of Ayscoughfee Hall as she comes from portrait to place, as an echo of the past overlooking the present.
Hestia Peppé String Figure (Spinning Yarn)
Referring to the historical links between the wool trade and Ayscoughfee Hall, the performance of unwinding and rewinding yarn creates a narrative that engages physically and emotionally with the space. The viewer is encouraged to seek out their own connections between the performance, Ayscoughfee Hall and their own experience.
19 June - 11 July 2010
Calke Abbey, Ticknall, Derbyshire DE73 7LE
Anna Barham, Karla Black, Marcel Broodthaers, Lucy Clout, Clem Crosby,
Jimmie Durham, Mark Fairnington, Doug Fishbone, Martino Gamper, Roger Hiorns,
John Plowman, Daniel Silver, Harald Smykla, Jack Strange
Curated by Sotiris Kyriacou and John Plowman
Profusion was an exhibition inspired by the unique setting of Calke Abbey, a National Trust property in Derbyshire. Hidden away in a hollow within an ancient deer park, Calke’s interiors and outbuildings are filled with the accumulation of years of collecting and hoarding by its eccentric and reclusive owners. Containing a diverse selection of household objects, artefacts, precious heirlooms and collections of natural history, Calke is now preserved in a state of atmospheric decline, as it was found when the Trust took it over in 1985. Profusion presented commissioned and existing works by acclaimed international artists, exploring themes and ideas pivotal to the exhibition's context.
Calke’s rambling contents declare their fragility and materiality, emphasising a heightened sense of physicality and entropy. The house is purposely presented in a way that disregards established hierarchies, taxonomies and methods of display, celebrating instead the glorious disarray of a rich diversity of objects and artefacts and their testimony to the passage of time. Calke emphasises multiple viewpoints and possibilities within a framework of interconnectedness. It embraces the tentativeness of imposed categories, highlighting their relativity and debunking presumptions regarding the containment and representation of knowledge.
Ombres Chinoises, 1973–4 (Courtesy Galerie Marie-Puck Broodthaers, Brussels)
Making up this continuous 35 mm slide projection were eighty slides of material derived from a variety of sources including 19th century schoolbooks, comic strips and scientific texts. The setting parodies the lecture format but any apparent connections between the assortment of images are purely in the eye of the beholder.
Marcel Broodthaers, born 1924, was a poet, photographer, filmmaker associated with the Belgian Surrealists. In 1963 he became an artist, often using everyday objects and text. He died in Cologne in 1976.
Don’t Attach Delay, 2009 (Courtesy the artist and Mary Mary, Glasgow)
Using everyday, perishable materials; Black’s sculpture was fragile and vulnerable, yet it demanded its own space and attention amongst the house’s busy interiors. Remaining suggestive yet undefined, displaying a reticence and a refusal to be labelled or categorised. This ambivalence was both countered and reinforced by its undeniable materiality, which manages to be both tangible and evocative.
Karla Black lives and works in Glasgow. Her sculptures often use familiar domestic materials such as Vaseline and flour. Both her materials and her method evoke ‘feminine occupations’ such as baking and nursing. Karla Black has been selected to represent Scotland at the 2011 Venice Biennale.
Untitled (eyebrows), 2010 (Courtesy the artist and Davide Bracaloni, Italy)
Suspended at the artist’s eye level this non-descript plank was a device that drew attention not only to itself but also to what lay beyond. It became an object that highlighted the necessity for us to activate our understanding of the space around it.
Lucy Clout lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include: The Fair Show, Limoncello; Now You See It, CGP; Children of the Soil, South London Cultural Centre; and The little shop on Hoxton Street, Limoncello, London.
6 Paintings, 2010 (Courtesy the artist and George Lawson Gallery, San Francisco)
This suite of paintings in oil on Formica, reverberated with the exuberance of their gestural marks. ‘The Formica is partly revealed as an important element of the composition and acts as a counterpoint to the organic hand-made gesture. The Formica surface allows me the option to reconsider, I am able to repeatedly wipe and erase the paint – a gradual build up of ideas applied and re-worked in real time.’
Clem Crosby lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include: Presque Rien 2, Laure Genillard Gallery; BlitzkreigBop! and Walls Have Ears, Man&Eve; and the Tate Britain Drawing Symposium/Exhibition.
Smashing, 2004 (Courtesy the artist and Galerie Michel Rein, Paris)
This video depicted the artist as an academic wielding a rock as he sets about to gleefully pulverise each of his students’ artworks to smithereens, resulting in a pile of rubble that insisted as a reminder of the fate of all things.
Jimmie Durham is an American-born sculptor, essayist and poet, currently living in Europe. He has exhibited extensively internationally including, Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels; ICA London; Documenta, Kassel, Kunstverein, Munich; Venice Biennale.
Griffon Vulture Surrounded by Moths, 2010 (Courtesy the artist, Fred, London and Galerie Peter Zimmermann, Mannheim)
The subjects of Mark Fairnington’s paintings and drawings are derived from second-hand sources such as illustrations or museum displays, their provenance reminding us that their status and meaning is as much derived from culture as from nature. Presented flat on the surface of the canvas, like pinned specimens, the various moths appear to float in the ambiguous space implied by the rest of the image.
Mark Fairnington lives and works in London and has shown extensively in museums and private galleries in the United States and Europe. Including Fabulous Beasts, Natural History Museum, London; Bloedmooi, Historic Museum Rotterdam.
A Public’s Bench, 2010 (Courtesy the artist)
Using a mobile sawmill, Martino Gamper, over a period of 3 days, transformed discarded timber collected from the Calke Abbey estate into a range of outdoor seating for visitors. The speed with which he worked within the grounds of Calke Abbey to create the social seating contrasted with the slow accumulation and decline of the contents of the house.
Martino Gamper is an Italian-born artist/designer based in London. Recent projects includes 100 Chairs in 100 Days the project involved spending 100 days reconfiguring the design of 100 discarded chairs collected from the streets of London.
Untitled, 2010 (Courtesy the artist and Corvi-Mora, London)
Roger Hiorns uses unusual materials to effect surprising transformations on objects and the spaces they inhabit. His intention to scatter powdered anti-depressant in the Smithy triggered different avenues of association between the setting and his intervention. The progress from the forge towards the productive drug reminds us of the Marxist lament for the passing of an idealized era of artisan labour when everyone was ostensibly happier to be in control of the means of production; this belief is endorsed by the costume drama setting of the pre industrial forge, contradicted by the presence of the cutting edge material, the drug as yet more dust.
Roger Hiorns lives and works in London. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2009 for Seizure, in which he transformed a derelict ex-council flat in South London, filling it with liquid copper sulphate, which after a period of time encrusted every surface of the space with blue crystals.
John Plowman tpdgbttm, 2010 (Courtesy the artist)
For over 20 years John Plowman has been collecting snippets of dialogue, heard on the radio, that strike him as pertinent or worth holding on to for further contemplation. Some of these accumulated fragments now literally became a forest of signs, each flaunting different typefaces and vying for our attention.
John Plowman lives and works in Lincolnshire, recent exhibitions include: The Reading Room, Handel Street Projects, London; Catching the Word, Black and White Gallery, New York; and Field of activity: a continuation, Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham.
Studies for Adam and Eve, 2009 (Courtesy the artist; IBID, London)
Although on first appearance crude and makeshift, Studies for Adam and Eve beguiled us with its rich array of materials. The shelf-like supports accentuated the display of fragments to infer a whole, encouraging us to conjure up a range possible connections and meanings.
Daniel Silver lives and works in London. A sculptor who has worked with resin, glass, wood, plastic and, more commonly, stone. He is currently exhibiting in Newspeak: British Art Now at The Saatchi Gallery, London.
Nothing Changes (Everything Changes): A Dental and Manual Portrait Collection, 2010 (Courtesy the artist and England & Co. London)
Depicting individuals by sculpting their likenesses into apples through biting and then preserving the ‘dental sculptures’ in their desiccated form, Harald Smylka’s portraits exemplified a desire to empathise and engage with people and invest the ephemeral with a more lasting significance. At once poignant absurd, the sculptures commemorated the act of interaction between artist and audience as well as the uniqueness of each sitter.
Harald Smykla is a German-born artist based in London since 1988. He has exhibited and performed throughout Britain and Europe. Recently Movie Protocol: Metropolis was performed at England & Co as part of the 2009 City X exhibition.
Emily, Callum, John, Grace, Elizabeth, Paul, 2009 (Courtesy the artist and Limoncello, London)
The six Mac Book computers sat on plinths, as if imitating the average height of the six real people whose lives each computer scrolls through before us. These once private choices and preferences produced a digital portrait of each individual and took on a collective and more public identity.
Jack Strange lives and works in London. His recent London exhibition In the Pines saw Strange smearing his blood on the windows and chewing up comic books and throwing them at the ceiling.
Barrington Court, Nr Ilminster, Somerset TA19 0NQ
June – November, 2010
Scion was a programme of contemporary visual art, developed by Beacon and the National Trust, at Barrington Court, Somerset. This project was supported by Trust New Art, a programme to connect more people to National Trust places through contemporary art and craft.
Intervention and not interruption was at the core of the curatorial vision for Scion our aim was to deliver a a structured and accumulative project that enabled an engaged visitor experience of the house, one that is subtly enhanced by the artistic interventions.
The Scion programme was:
ARTWORK OF THE MONTH
June – Nov 2010
Lyndall Phelps, Andrew Bracey, Gerard Williams, Louise K.Wilson, Catherine Bertola
Each month an artwork was installed at Barrington Court, each artwork was selected on the basis of their suitability to the architecture and history of Barrington Court. Each month the featured artist gave a lunchtime talk about the work followed by a question and answer session.
Gently Enticing, 2010
Lyndall Phelps’ Gently Enticing was a re-working of Drift, 2005, a site specific installation for the rotunda of the Great Eastern Hotel, London, commissioned by Commissions East. Lyndall Phelps worked with Cole & Son to produce white flocked wallpaper in 12 background colours. The floral design of the wallpaper echoed the common plants favoured by Jekyll and the graduation of colour replicated the drifts of colour used in her planting schemes. The title is a quote from Jekyll's Colour Schemes for the Flower Garden, first published 1908. Isolated from its original text, the quotation becomes sexually suggestive, hinting at out of sight activities. The selection of this artwork introduces the feminine, the decorative and the nature already present in Barrington’s Jekyll inspired gardens into the masculinity of the paneled interior.
Lyndall Phelps is an Australian artist living and working in Ely, Cambridgeshire. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including recently The Pigeon Archive 2010, a commission by Milton Keynes Gallery touring to the Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool and King’s Lynn Arts Centre, and a residency at the Natural History Museum, London.
Clout is a collection of miniature paintings, each painted onto the heads of roofing nails. These included a vast range of images culled from the internet, holiday snaps and newspapers. The collection consisted of over 5,000 paintings. A selection of these paintings were discreetly displayed on the walls of the rooms and corridors of Barrington Court. As visitors walked around, these paintings were encountered in unexpected places and spaces.
Andrew Bracey was born in Bristol (1978). He studied at Plymouth College of Art (1996 - 1997), Liverpool John Moores University (1997 - 2000) and Manchester Metropolitan University (2000 2001). His exhibitions include Frienlage (Firstsite, Colchester 2006), Social Work (Cornerhouse Projects, Manchester 2006), Post notes(ICA, London 2005), The Rudiments of Ornamental Composition (LOT, Bristol 2005), and John Moores 23 (Liverpool Biennial, The Walker Art Gallery 2004). He is a lecturer at Lincoln University and a visiting lecturer at Wolverhampton and Salford University. Future projects include Small Mischiefs(Pumphouse Gallery, London) and solo shows at Transition Gallery (London) and Wolverhapmton Art Gallery (2007). He currently lives and works in Manchester.
Louise K. Wilson
Weep O Mine Eyes, 2005
This video of a solo singer is from a recent project, A Record of Fear, the artist made for Orford Ness once a top secret military testing site now looked after by the National Trust.
Thought for the Week, 2010
This is one of an ongoing series of embroidered text drawings taken from a series of inspirational quotes emailed to the artist weekly from a life coaching website. These delicately laboured objects reference needlepoint projects traditionally given in women’s magazines. Their particular detail illuminates the process of endeavour for self-improvement as a domesticated female.
Underpinning the work is a desire to look beyond the surface of objects and buildings, to uncover forgotten and invisible histories of places and people. The domesticated nature of the artwork invited reflection on the role of women within the history of Barrington Court where the evidence of meticulous male labour and workmanship in the panelling is so evident.
18 September–23 November 2010
Archival Scenarios, 2010 (installation detail)
The artist Lyndall Phelps was commissioned by Beacon to produce an artwork in response to Barrington Court. From June to August she worked with staff and volunteers to research and develop her ideas, the results of which were seen in the exhibition on the top floor of Barrington Court.
Archival Scenarios paid homage to Colonel Arthur Lyle, Barrington’s former tenant. A methodical man, Lyle worked closely with labourers to install the panelling. His rigorous documentation of the panels’ history and installation was sent to London during the 1940s for safekeeping, but is now lost. Consequently no archive exists for Barrington Court’s panel collection. Such lack of historical fact provides Barrington Court’s uniqueness, offering more questions than answers.
Entering the top floor was like entering a film set from CSI. Archival Scenarios was an artist’s archive of recorded and analysed data from the 2,349 wooden panels lining the walls. Dividing the area into sections, Phelps referenced data collection processes used by forensic scientists, archaeologists and museum professionals, who create scenarios from little evidence. Hence the use of objects more commonly associated with these practices, such as evidence markers. Since the original documentation is missing, the authenticity of the panels in the Long Gallery cannot be guaranteed. This uncertainly offered the possibility of another scenario, inviting us to reflect on ‘facts’ and ‘fictions’ in our own everyday scenarios. The artist divided the attic into 8 sections, centered around a stone window sill. Each section was marked with a forensic evidence marker, the design of which was based on crime scene photographic markers.
On the window sill in each of the 8 sections archival data sheets were positioned, on which the artist had meticulously drawn and recorded the number and sizes of wooden panels in each section. Directly referencing the house's former owner, Arthur Lyle, the central window sill displayed 8 laboratory standard glass specimen jars etched with a measuring scale from 100 to 500. Each jar, labeled Section 1 to 8 was filled with Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup, to the number on the scale that related to the number of panels in that particular Section.
A scratch and sniff film commission. Beacon Art Project in partnership with East Lindsey District Council, As part of The Intercult North SEAS Festival, commissioned artist Melissa Bliss to respond to her residency in Mablethorpe. She created a film made with four residents of Mablethorpe which was screened hourly at Leicester Children’s Holiday Centre in Mablethorpe.
By Culture24 Staff | 16 September 2009, http://www.culture24.org.uk
Melissa Bliss causes a stink with Beacon Art Project film of Lincolnshire coast. According to Melissa Bliss’s Twitter page, her biggest concern about sending her film to local licensing authorities in Lincolnshire ahead of this premiere in Mablethorpe was the risk of them finding it ‘offensive or depraved’. Apparently it features a man who rescues injured and orphaned seals, a woman who devotes her life to children who have never glimpsed the sea, an amateur radio buff who overcame the isolation of the area to broadcast his own show and a chap who’s built an art gallery on stilts in a garden.
Commissioned by local visual art group the Beacon Art Project, the film uses individual memories associated with smells to mirror the lonely beaches and marshes of the nearby landscape. In the event, Royal Mail lost the film on the way to the local film licensing officers, leaving them unimpressed before they'd even set eyes on the piece. ‘Not everybody will have the same reaction to a particular aroma,’ she adds. ‘I want to intensify the viewer's involvement in the film by bringing another sense into play.’
In November 2008, Beacon Art Project commissioned artist Kelly Large to take up residence at Kesteven & Sleaford High School and produce an art work in response to this educational context located within a historic, rural town. She observed the school day, where roughly between the hours of 8.30 am and 3.30 pm, the pupils’ movements and behaviours were precisely managed and contained within the school’s boundaries. Wandering around town between these times there was little evidence that Sleaford contained three secondary schools in spitting distance of the town centre. As a consequence of the lack of presence the students had in the town during school time, the after school routine, when approximately 2,500 young people from nearby secondary schools exited the school grounds and spilled into the town centre, took on an extraordinary quality. The artist was preoccupied by the sheer volume of students who amassed and dispersed and the affect this had on the town. The atmospheric changes, increased noise levels, sudden traffic jams all indicated a momentary shift in the status quo, where one demographic group outnumbered all others.
The production of Our Name is Legion took place on Thursday 30 April. At the end of the school day, Large invited all secondary and sixth-form students from Sleaford schools to don a florescent yellow high-visibility vest from the moment they left school to the moment they arrived home. Thus the pupils were transformed into a mass of singular colour as they followed their usual routes. They flowed along the main thoroughfares, congregated in habitual locations such as the central Market Place and bus stops, and then, over a period of one hour, gradually disbanded. The mass spectacle was filmed from high buildings in the town.
In the direct context of Sleaford, Our Name is Legion signaled the complex relationship the students had with the town. The appropriation of this routine, daily fluctuation as art work looked to make vivid a daily occurrence in order to explore resident’s awareness of their town’s social structure. Each student was local, an inhabitant of Sleaford or the surrounding area, yet the mass assembly differentiated between town and school populations, temporarily defining the youth as an anonymous, culturally defined group, that was simultaneously inside the community and separate from it. This interplay between mass and individual, lack of, or excess public prominence, in a specific geographical and cultural environment, reflected to some extent the status of young people within wider society, as they start to forge an identity for themselves that is both individual and conforms to societal expectations.
However, this is not an art work about the representation of young people. Those who were excluded from or chose not to take part, such as the town’s people, the artist, the commissioner and the student dissenters were not absent from the moment. Their lack of engagement is writ large on the art work - signalled through the dilute effect their clothing has on the spectacle, and as such they remain visible participants. The title of the art work, Our Name is Legion has military connotations and is taken from a biblical parable in which Jesus meets a man possessed by many demons, and when asked their name, they respond: ‘Our name is legion, for we are many’. It has been referenced in political and pop culture contexts, used to suggest the destabilising power of the assembling mass and the ambiguous power-play between multitude and individual. Used here, it points towards the art work offering possibilities for acting collectively or alone and the agency these positions afford in different social arenas; it also acknowledges society’s uneasy and agoraphobic relationship to the colonization of public space by groups of people.
A collaboration between British sculptor, Richard Deacon and Serbian sculptor, Mrdjan Bajic.
Beacon, in association with Handel Street Projects, supported The Kalmegdan Bridge collaboration project. The artists came together in Belgrade in July and September 2008 to work on the design of a new footbridge in Belgrade. The proposed bridge will connect Kalemegdan Fortress with the promenade by the confluence of rivers Sava and Danube over a busy road bringing to the City of Belgrade a landmark structure at a very symbolic place which was a border between east and west.
The collaboration was the first stage of the creation of a major landmark for the City of Belgrade, and was the first time since the 19th Century that an artist from another country has been involved in the production of a public monument in Belgrade. In 1873 Florentine, Enrico Paci came to Belgrade to start the work on the monument to Prince Mihailo Obrenovic, who ordered the creation of Kalemegdan Park in 1867.
Fedja Klikovac, of Handel Street Projects curated an exhibition in 2009 at the City of Belgrade Assembly and Gallery ULUS (Serbian Artists Union). The exhibition presented not only the artists’ final designs of the footbridge at Belgrade Fortress, but the whole process of collaborating together in the previous eight months. The proposed bridge will connect Kalemegdan Fortress with the promenade by the river Sava, over the busy road and railway track, bringing to the City of Belgrade a landmark structure at a very symbolic place, which used to be the border between east and west.
Deacon and Bajic represented Wales and Serbia, respectively at the 2007 Venice Biennale. Richard Deacon has been at the forefront of British sculpture since the seventies. In 1987 he was awarded the Turner Prize and showed in many prestigious art galleries and events around the world including Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Tate Gallery, Museum of Modern Art New York, Biennal de Sao Paulo, Sculptur Projekte in Munster, The Biennale of Sydney, Documenta Kassel etc. Since 1983, he’s been represented and regularly shown at Lisson Gallery, London.
Mrdjan Bajic came to prominence in the eighties in Belgrade and since then has produced a vast body of work in rather different circumstances: from the lively post Tito Yugoslavia, to the isolated nineties wartime and the present new start for independent Serbia. His work was always embedded in the social practice and its effects, questioning and giving answers to the position of the artist in society. His work has been shown internationally from early in his career including 1990 Aperto, La Biennale di Venezia, Kunsthalle Wien, The Biennale of Sydney, Ludwig Museum Budapest, Biennal di Sao Paulo, Artists Space New York etc.
This first stage of the project was been made possible by the grant from The Henry Moore Foundation and was further supported by the British Council. Beacon was a conduit for this project in line with its mission to support artsits at all stages of their careers. Funding partners in Belgrade were JP Belgrade Fortress and The City of Belgrade.
Artists were commissioned to make temporary artworks at sites in Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire. The audience was guided around the town over one weekend.
Tim Bailey, Mel Brimfield & Sally O’Reilly, Lucy Harrison, Seth Kriebel & Zoe Bouras, Cees Krijnen & Greta Blok with Julian Maynard Smith, Simon Pope, Laura Trevail and Sarah Grange, Jessica Voorsanger
Plus a film and video screening programme featuring the work of Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Sean Ashton, Matt Calderwood, Alan Currall, Julie Henry, Rosalind Nashashibi, John Smith
Plus a talent contest and craft fair
Curated by Sally O’Reilly
Art is a discipline that approaches infinite subjects in infinite ways. Visual artists have represented, investigated and referenced all manner of subject matter, from psychology to horse racing to astrophysics to a lowly coke can. And the manner in which artists present their work has become just as varied. The dominance of painting and sculpture has long since given way to esoteric or ephemeral forms that no longer demand the sanctity of the gallery. Some artworks are happy to rub shoulders with the world from which they derive. In acknowledgement of these tendencies, this year’s Beacon Art Project concentrates on live performance, inviting artists with a dizzying range of concerns and formats to present their work throughout the town of Mablethorpe.
The town is a hard-working, hard-playing seaside town in the northeast of England. It boasts all the facilities of a holiday resort - bars, clubs, beach huts, gaming arcades, curiosity shops - while maintaining the infrastructure of everyday life. Artists have suffused these areas of leisure, learning and work, adopting and often adapting each venue’s usual function to new ends. A football ground, for instance, will host a three-sided match, a pub will screen videos that subvert sporting genres, a large walk-in shower will be economically converted into a police interrogation room and a public address in the Methodist church will differ wildly from the usual Sunday sermon. In a weekend of contrasts, artworks might be encountered quietly and thoughtfully in a dark or secluded space, or presented grandly on stage with a sense of drama or stumbled across in a pub or shop.
Although performance art has roots in avant-garde theatre, dance, activism and vaudeville, much of this has been forgotten since, in the latter half of the 20th century, live art placed an emphasis on the immediacy of the body and authenticity of the gesture. This year Beacon reflects a noticeable wind change in the visual arts, and has selected and commissioned artists working in live formats that employ a broad spectrum of formats and influences, running the gamut from brazen theatricality to near invisibility.
Various sites around Mablethorpe
Bailey’s work melted into the fabric of Mablethorpe, perhaps lurking on a wall in a pub or the library bookshelves or roaming the streets of the town.
Mel Brimfield & Sally O’Reilly
The artists worked with local football teams to recreate an historical three-sided battle.
Seth Kriebel & Zoe Bouras
Audience members were invited to take part in a Kafkaesque interrogation.
Cees Krijnen & Greta Blok with Julian Maynard Smith
The Dunes Family Entertainment Centre
A new performance was created that continued to delve into Greta’s divorce from Cees’ father.
Pope constructed new networks of translation in the social realm.
Laura Trevail and Sarah Grange
St Peter’s Methodist Church
A ‘scratch’ performance of arranged novelties. With Stella Scott, and taped telephone exchanges with Matthew Robins, Viviane Schwarz and Anthony John Allen.
Rumours of sighted celebrities in Mablethorpe were created and spread, adding a whiff of glamour to proceedings.
Video screening programme: Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Sean Ashton, Matt Calderwood, Alan Currall, Julie Henry, John Smith
Dream Bar, Trusville Holiday Village
St Mary’s Church Hall
no place, like home
A series of organised coach excursions over four weekends around six heritage sites in Lincolnshire. Seven artists were commissioned to make temporary artworks in response to no place, like home. At the village hall, four artists produced performative pieces, which took place as part of the coach excursion.
Jordan Baseman, Melissa Bliss, Catherine Bertola, Gitte Bøg, Lucy Clout ,
Lorrice Douglas, Lucy Gibson, Jane Porter, Adele Prince, Jennie Savage, Roy Voss
Curated by John Plowman
The 2006 Beacon project was entitled, no place, like home, in which the interplay of the possibilities of home being a specific location or a state of mind were explored. Inherent in the act of travelling is the notion of being away from home, but what does it mean to be away from home? In order to understand this we must first ask ourselves what do we mean by home. In no place, like home, the interplay of the possibilities of home being a place, a specific location, or a no place, a state of mind are explored. By necessity, a community finds itself working in another country, how do they relate to this new place as home?
As a specific location, the church is the focal point of a rural village. When it is closed down what does that mean to the village inhabitants? Both communities become isolated, but does home signify the same thing for the migrant community as for the indigenous community? In both communities the migration of a people and the closing of a church pulls the rug from beneath their feet, creating potential for the rupture in the fabric of that community. As the audience travelled from site to site, the Beacon coach excursion forefronted the temporal experience of travel and of being away from home. The audience were itinerant and displaced, becoming part of another, albeit, temporary community; experiencing the individual narratives constructed by each of the artworks they encountered along the way. These narratives were then used by the audience, both individually and collectively, to construct another narrative, their own, which was itself framed by the time taken to travel from site to site.
Access to the art and sites was through the Beacon coach excursion, but this year the act of transience was highlighted by some of the artists projects, which themselves were not fixed or located in a particular place but moved to different sites during the course of the project
Boston Railway Station
Using the interview techniques of the documentary filmmaker, Baseman created a contemporary portrait of the displaced Portuguese community living in Boston. The final film whilst acknowledging the unpredictability of the interview process is anthropological in nature and examined the day to day lived experiences of its subjects.
Across the Line
Sleaford and Boston Railway Station
Prince’s work had previously been conceived and sited in urban settings so, to really explore the rural landscape of Lincolnshire, she placed herself - or displaced herself - in its surroundings. She could easily have caught the train - as many people do every day - but, in doing so, she would have just got there. So, Prince made her own way, running the length of the railway line from Nottingham to Skegness, some 90 or so miles, exploring the route from a unique perspective. Combining her recent interest in running with her work as an artist, her journey was a challenge of mental and physical endurance, and hopefully one of discovery, as she documented those views that are cut through at speed by passing trains and overlooked by distracted passengers. This work was a development of previous projects such as Lost-Something and TrolleySpotting, where Prince had taken a different approach to a journey by choosing to capture the seemingly insignificant detritus that punctuates our passage through space, collecting evidence like a detective of the everyday.
Beauty Amidst Dereliction
Bridge Farm, Bicker
In Bertola’s previous works, the debris of humanity - decay in the form of dust, of residual traces in derelict spaces - has been used to comment on the sweet and intimate deterioration unto death promised by the human condition. Dr Catherine Harper
Place, history, and how the past impacts upon the present, are central to Catherine Bertola’s artistic practice. For the Beacon project, Bertola once again drew on her fascination with abandoned spaces, and her obsession with dust, the Matter of History, both in its physical materiality and through its associations to age, decay and time passing.
Everyday for two weeks, Bertola ritualistically and meticulously cleaned and polished the floor of the drawing room to carefully create a pattern relating to the date the farmhouse was built. The process of cleaning commenced in silence from dawn to dusk, and during the exhibition the repetitive and rhythmic sound of the action was played back into the space, alluding to the traditional and invisible duties of housemaids and domestic servants. Alongside this laborious cleaning ritual, the artist also painstakingly tried to fill in all the cracks that have appeared in the walls, as a futile attempt to restore the surface of the room and revive it to its former splendour.
Heritage / Site
At what point does a site become historically valid? Who decides what is historically valid and what is not, and on what basis are these decisions made? What do these sites tell us about the culture we live in? History is a hierarchical system of representation. The people and places history chooses to represent do not achieve longevity by chance, they are the people who have had a voice in their lifetime, the rich, the powerful and the outstanding. The language of historical representation demonstrates a powerful, hierarchical system. That being the voice of science or objectivity, over lived experience, local knowledge or the understanding of a place. The problem of history is symptomatic of a wider struggle, that of representation. In seeking to represent something – a place, a community, a situation– the experience must be mediated and it is the mediation of experience that shapes our understanding of the world, our history and our future.
Heritage / Site takes 5, Lindway Court – Savage’s Cardiff flat, as a starting point, through which to explore this process of representation. She placed her inner life under the microscope of social, economic and political contexts. Through the objectification of her life, Savage began to understand her place through the eyes of the culture she lived in. Savage also saw that her heritage was represented not in castles or monuments, but through incidental, ephemeral, objects; a tea towel, a table or a wooden box signifying her lineage.
All Saints Church, Benington
A sequence of eighty slides projected onto the back wall of a redundant Church in Bennington. Each image featured the eponymous sign ‘Fell’ sited at various locations across Iceland.
sense of place : place of sense
A series of organised coach excursions over four weekends around five heritage sites in Lincolnshire. Five artists were commissioned to make temporary artworks in response to asense of place. At the Reading Room & Chapel, five artists were commissioned to produce art works which engaged with one of the five senses, place of sense.
sense of place: Phyllida Barlow, Simon Faithfull, Roxy Walsh, Gerard Williams, Doug Fishbone
place of sense: Gareth Brookes, Colin Greensmith, Emma Halliday, Helen de Main, Tokuko Takeshita
Curated by John Plowman
The Engine Room, The Maltings, Sleaford
In 1900, Sleaford was ideal for a malting complex of this scale because of its rural environment; barley fields, a seasonal workforce, plentiful water from the Artesian well and good rail links for transportation. The site was purchased by Bass Ratcliff & Greeton Ltd in 1901, construction took six years and by 1907 it could produce 60,000 quarters of malt per season. Production declined after the Second World War, ceasing in 1959. In 1973, it was purchased by GW Padley Ltd for chicken rearing and vegetable processing. Grade II listed in 1974, the building was damaged in 1976 by severe fire. At the time of this project, plans were to transform the complex into housing, leisure and retail facilities.
The grandiose industrial architecture of the former Bass malthouse at The Maltings in Sleaford is more reminiscent of a church hall than of the machine shed that serviced the whole site. The space resonates with long since past activities, but does not reveal what they may have been. Barlow’s sculptures used the sense of what may have been the remains of some fairground object, festivities, things stacked and left behind, reminders of former uses, actual and imagined.
The Coach Journey
Faithfull created a new work and presented two existing works concerned with travel and absence. Parallel Lines confused two simultaneous journeys. Visitors on the Beacon bus looked out onto the Lincolnshire countryside through windows covered with drawings sent from a journey happening on the other side of Europe. Travelling from Berlin to Helsinki and then on to north of Finland (in search of the Northern Lights), Faithfull made one drawing for each of Beacon’s days. Using a Palm-Pilot as a crude sketchpad, Faithfull transmitted these drawings back to Lincolnshire where they were transferred onto the outside of the coach’s windows (using the standard sign-shop technique of vinyl transfer). As the drawings accumulated they reinforced the state of disorientation and flux that an increasingly mobile world produces.
Originally commissioned by Artsway, Orbital no.1 combined three circular journeys around London into a single hypnotic image. Recorded in real time, the journeys around the M25, the North and South Circulars and the Circle Line created a contemporary vision of Dante’s concentric circles of heaven or hell. At odds with the countryside outside the windows, the film displayed on the coach’s video screens created a map defined by the gravitational pull of the centre, offering a glimpse of the dizzying energy states that define the contemporary city.
The Antarctic Diaries
Using the coach’s stereo system, The Antarctic Diaries re-lived a journey made from the Falkland Islands to the ice-cliffs of Antarctica. Narrated by the dehumanised, synthetic voice of the Macintosh laptop on which they were written, The Antarctic Diaries tried to describe an increasingly surreal world beyond human habitation.
Signature Quilt 2005
The Manor Farmhouse, Helpringham
Walsh displayed a Signature Quilt passed down through her grandmother’s family. Made in 1896 in rural County Antrim, it was shown at Manor Farmhouse, Helpringham, as a record of one community to be read in the context of another. The quilt had groupings of signatures from families, church pews and bazaar stall-holders, providing a document of a community and its structure. Walsh produced a publication with an image of the quilt and a series of short texts to accompany the work. She was inspired to create the piece because of the physical similarity of the Farmhouse to her grandmother’s childhood home.
The Tower, South Kyme
The tower is a four storeyed battlemented keep, approximately 77 ft in height and built in ashlar dressed oolitic Ancaster limestone. It is the remains of a moated fortified manor house or ‘castle’, built by Gilbert de Umfraville, Earl of Angus in the 1350s as a flamboyant status symbol. It probably had two towers and another two storey building adjoining the present tower. The only invasion the ‘castle’ experienced was by an inquisitive bullock in 1946 which climbed the 108 steps of the narrow spiral staircase to the top. Villagers struggled to get the bullock down, eventually frightening him down backwards.
Williams’ intervention at South Kyme Tower contradicted visitors’ expectations of place and architectural space at this medieval building.
Village Hall, Ashby de la Launde
The Village Hall was built during the Great Depression by Lord Garvagh, the then owner of Ashby Hall, as a way of keeping his staff employed, as he felt great loyalty towards them. The building was made to a specific shape and height to become a badminton court for Garvagh’s children, set just off the estate road alongside the lake. During the war RAF and RCAF squadrons, based at RAF Digby, used Ashby Hall as their officer’s mess and the badminton court became a parachute packing room. The Garvagh family moved out before the start of the war and eventually disposed of their estate many years later, the building being dismantled and donated to the village. Over the years it has suffered from fire damage and threats of closure, yet has continued to be an essential part of the small village community. In the 1970s the car park was purchased and the extension added. However, the year preceding this project, it suffered subsidence and the extension was demolished. Renovation work on the building had not been completed at the time of this project.
Doug Fishbone brought his bizarre style of performance art to the village hall of Ashby de la Launde. In an unusual ramble on the state of the world, inspired by comedians from his native New York, Fishbone used images downloaded from the internet to illustrate a lecture on everything from globalization and obesity to monkeys smoking cigarettes. A brief ride through the warped mind of the artist, the performances were both amusing and thought-provoking, using humor to investigate some of the more unseemly elements of contemporary life.
place of sense
At the Reading Room & Chapel, Wellingore
The Chapel was built in 1887, on land donated by the Allwood family of Rose Cottage, a Methodist family of carriers. The Reading Room was added in 1925, as the Sunday School. In the 1950s, the Allwoods claimed to see flying saucers from the window of Rose Cottage which made local headline news. During the 1980s, Jane Eaglen, who became an established opera singer, sang in the Wellingore Chapel annually with the Central Methodist Choir. Deconsecrated in 1993, the Reading Room was used as a business premises. Bought in 1999 from the receivers by the Plowman family, it has been converted into a home and studio.
Untitled etching machine
The etching machine consisted of a postcard, the central image of which had been peirced by hundreds of pins, suspended by elastic bands over a grounded etching plate. The viewer was invited to play with the machine, thier gestures bringing the pins into contact with the etching ground generating an image which could later be editioned.
Sunday, Sunday 2005
The coefficient of this sound piece was historiographical and based around the assigned site for ‘place of sense’ and the ‘Sunday School’ function of The Reading Room and Chapel. The boxes, being reminiscent of collection boxes, were interactive for the spectator and gave alternative sounds of children playing with sticks on railings and card in bike wheels, and the reading and discussion of bible stores.
Anxiety Archives, 2005
This was a dynamic project that focused on secular confession and catharthis. The audience were invited to write their confessions on bits of edible paper. The confessions were then baked into bread which was offered to the audience. The monotonous taste of bread, containing tiny rice paper confessions, contrasted with the psychological digestion of the disclosed information and its authorship. Participants ate and contributed shared concerns, creating connections between anonymous individuals.
Helen de Main
A scaled model of the Reading Room with scaffolding added to it, was created out of paper and card. Viewers encountered a live video image of this projected on the wall as they entered the building, altering the image of what they had just seen in reality but also suggesting that the building might be being redeveloped.
Using perfume in a space connects the primitive obsession with smell to a site that exists for the visual. Perfume originally had a medical function. The aromas used in this installation had been known for a long time in Egypt and Tibet, etc. One side is the ‘top note’, the other is the ‘base note’, and were magical substances, which worked at different speeds. The strength of the perfumes changed with the audience member's standpoint. The perfumes floated slightly throughout the whole space and in the mind. The audience may have been reminded of something smelled before. They might think of a particular memory. The fragrance differed depending on the person’s pH balance. Perfumes (smells) are strongly linked to personal memories, just like music.
art > travel > site
A series of organised coach excursions over four weekends around seven heritage sites in Lincolnshire. Seven artists were commissioned to make art in response to a sense of the history of the site, one of which was the coach.
Gillian Dyson, John Plowman, Wayne Lloyd, Jessica Voorsanger, Michael Dan Archer, Bob and Roberta Smith, Kelly Jackson
Curated by John Plowman
Notes For No Distance
The Coach Journey
The aisle of the bus was flaked with gold, a performative action by Gillian Dyson as part of her work, Notes For No Distance. The application of the gold was reminiscent of an act of ritual or pilgrimage, bare foot on hands and knees. But in this case, the act of beautification was incongruous to the site – instead of a Buddhist shrine or Catholic altar, it was an ordinary bus. The gold line travelled with the audience on the bus. It was like a moving meridian, a benchmark or point of reference. Each traveller was also given a bag of objects and texts, which may or may not have related to the route the bus took.
St Mary's Guildhall, Lincoln
This 12th Century group of buildings is thought to have been erected for some civic purpose. It was also used as a Royal storehouse or cellar for the king’s wine, around 1236.
Archaeological excavations found part of the Fosse Way, a major Roman road that ran under the West Range of the buildings. At the time of this project, a part of this could be viewed. The buildings were rented out for various uses. The paddock at the rear was the first home of Lincoln City Football Club, and in 1815, the North Range was used for malting. Dawbers the brewers were the last known occupiers of the maltkiln.
One of this building’s previous uses was as a malt kiln. At the time of this exhibition, the barley was being harvested on the farms surrounding Lincoln and in former times would have been brought to the malt kin to be processed for brewing. A recurring theme in John Plowman’s practice is work and the nature of labour and productivity. Farming, an unrelenting labour intensive activity was here refered to in this scene of a workplace. The viewing platform was suggestive of a museum where such tableaus of historical settings are a popular method of display.
Village Hall, Branston Booths
Built in 1931, on land donated by Mr Hinch, a farmer who raised money from local football matches towards the building project, the hall was given a life expectancy of 25–30 years. Over 70 years later the Village Hall remains at the centre of this small community’s activities. In 1994, it was decided no further money should be spent on the upkeep of the hall, since the structure, built on fenland, was becoming unsound. The community has since been actively raising finances towards the building of a new village hall.
The performance, New Releases, focused primarily on the difference between how film is experienced and how it is described. That is, rarely is a film described by reference to camera angles, lighting, location and all the aesthetic nuances which the makers may concern themselves with. Rather it is described as Wayne Lloyd performs it. This performance refers to our own social interaction. Performing at a location in the heart of a rural community, he is reminding us of the cultural isolation of such rural communities where films cannot be seen.
Tupholme Abbey, Bardney
In the mid 12th Century, an Abbot and twelve canons founded a new Premonstratensian Abbey on ‘the island of sheep’ at Tupholme. Dressed in white, known as the ‘white canons’, they served the local community as priests and missionaries, deriving an income from agriculture and wool production until dissolved by Henry Vlll in 1536. The site changed ownership several times becoming Abbey Farm in the 19th Century. In the early 1970s. after becoming derelict, Tupholme Abbey hosted Bardney Pop Festival, which included Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys and Genesis. Tupholme Abbey was acquired by Heritage Lincolnshire Trust in 1988.
The festival stage was present and the original soundtrack was playing but the field was empty. This therefore became a shrine to its recent history as rock festival site, as the abbey remains are a shrine to its more ancient history. As an abbey the worship would have been to a God, as a rock and folk festival site, the 50,000 people would have made pilgimages to worship the pop stars. The empty stage created an even larger distance between them and us. The celebrity and the onlookers, the adored and the adoring.
Michael Dan Archer
In 1751, Sir Francis Dashwood erected the 92ft limestone pillar with an octagonal lantern at the top as a land lighthouse, to deter highwaymen from robbing travellers. One of only three built in England, it became a popular tourist attraction and social centre, surrounded by a bowling green and assembly rooms. In 1909, a storm brought down the lantern and a 14ft statue of George lll replaced it. In 1941, during the Second World War, the top 60ft were removed, being seen as hazardous to low flying aircraft. Much of the stonework remains piled at the base of the pillar.
Originally a land lighthouse the burning fire atop, Dunston Pillar guided travellers across the bleak Lincolnshire landscape. The flames were replaced by a flashing neon cross, marking the spot. This light was still a guiding light for travellers and for contemporary art. Inside the pillar the faint murmurings of modern day saturnalias could be heard, in this case Nottingham at 11pm on a Saturday night. Again a reference to an aspect of its once inglorious past.
Bob and Roberta Smith
Temple Bruer Tower
The tower is the remains of the Preceptory of the Knights Templars, founded in C.1150–60. The Knights Templars, a half monk, half military order, were established to protect the first Holy Christian Shrines in Jerusalem and their pilgrims. ‘Preceptories’, major estate-centres were set up around Europe to earn money for the Shrines. The Knights Templars lived in strict poverty, chastity and obedience yet ran a wealthy and powerful order. A Knight was in charge of the preceptory and was perhaps the highest medieval ideal, this
A site historically connected to pilgrimages to the holy shrines, Bob created his own shrine to humanity, thus the concrete slab inside the tower referred to three of his humanist heroes, Darwin, Orwell and Joe Strummer, encouraging us to think of the relevance and strength of belief rather than what is being believed. The artist’s name Bob Smith is an anybody’s name. His idea is that people can make their own art and anybody can be an artist. Thus he gave the audience the opportunity to create their own artwork by taking rubbings of the concrete slab or the graffiti carved into the interior stone work of the tower.
St John’s Chapel, Bracebridge Heath