On Friday I attended the launch of artSOUTH and very much enjoyed the work I have seen to date. I plan to see more this week, including a trip to the Isle of White to see Tom Halls work. I’ve never been to some of the towns (or indeed the island) the work is shown in before – so it offers me an incentive to visit new places.
I went to Southampton to see Jeremy Millars film on Friday, which is showing in the City Art Gallery, a fabulous place with some other good work too, like Daniel Buren hanging around the central space. I enjoyed Millar’s work, which shows the process of a book being bound in a monastery on the Isle of White. Father Nicholas carefully dismantles and rebinds L’Oblat, which is also on display next to the film. It’s a long film, don’t expect to see it all in one go. If you are lucky you will catch the beginning and the end as I did, giving a glimpse into what happens in the space between. Also in the City Art Gallery are some of the reconstructed ceramic works from the collection, reframed and reconstructed too – this time through the collaboration of of artist-conservator Bouke de Vries and a glassblower. I enjoyed that relationship between the idea of reconstruction and was delighted to see something similar in Winchester Cathedral too. Echoes of de Vries’s work are seen there in a beautiful, huge stained glass window that comprises remarkable small fragments of glass. It seems that during Cromwell times the original window was smashed to pieces and has lovingly been restored. A beautiful resonance between historical narratives and contemporary practice today. Inspired curation by Judy Adams.
Mel Brimfield has 4 video key works in John Hansard Gallery in Southampton. Clever, witty, edgy and deeply informed by art history and theatre, they penetrate the fragile membrane of entertainment, actor, persona and art. I am very much looking forward to seeing her performance on Friday evening in Southampton.
Mottisfont Abbey hosts a new work by Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva – an ornate re-presentation of uprooted trees within a circular glade of beech trees. Decorated with real gold leaf and artificial too, the work reflects the history of ownership over the houses lifetime. A nearby copse reminds us that whilst Elpida’s work reveals something to us, the root system of the trees, previous landowners created copses to make fox-hunting more fun, providing spaces for the foxes to hide. A new way of interpreting landscape.
I attended a talk on Saturday at the Discover Centre in Winchester, another city that is new to me, and where I saw the stained glass mentioned above. Graham Gussin (artist), Andy Reddy (army) and Malgorzata Dzierzon (New Movement Collective choreographer & dancer) were in discussion, with Gill Nicol chairing. They revealed the development of the research for Close Protection, -a tryptic of films -which were made in an army camp. Six members of the New Movement Collective navigated the architecture of the pseudo-housing estate, using it as a theatrespace. What makes the films unique is that they were filmed overnight – go and see the outcome, I don’t wish to spoil the experience.
There’s more to see, it’s packed programme, for full details go to the website or pick up a handy printed guide at any of the venues. Highly recommended.