Monthly Archives: May 2013

hut 64


Whilst installing at Cultybraggan today I spent quite a while pondering quality and finish of the the objects I make.  This current install along with the work I did recently at Newhaven Station both have the similar limitations in that I have had to work in the day time and without any power tools.  At least at Cultybraggan I have a make shift bench.  My work normally has a finish that I am looking for however with these two projects I have to reach a compromise where the finish is to a certain standard whilst I am not chasing something that I cannot achieve.

Whilst considering this different value for quality on these projects I keep thinking about the works I saw by Cameron Crawford at the Whitney Biennial 2012.  His works have immense effort invested yet the output does not necessarily work or function even after this effort.  However even though these works don’t function as they appear to the aesthetic and conveyance of idea really comes across.

Here is the Whitney Biennials’ Catalogue statement about Cameron Crawfords’ practice and work:

Cameron Crawford’s 2012 Biennial works, both sculptures titled making water storage revolution making water storage revolution, began with the idea of “useless labor.” Because almost every conceivable action can in some way be understood in relation to a greater purpose, however, this seemingly simple notion is virtually impossible to realize in practice. For Crawford, this riddle presents a somewhat terrifying philosophical conundrum. If not a successful example of useless labor, these pieces offer at least a vehicle by which to pose the problem. Every element in their fabrication involved an absurd amount of extraneous, doggedly “wasted” labor: The rickety hinges on the folding screen so laboriously constructed by Crawford are not functional. Rolled-up muslin banners are contained in the structure; the face of each one has been entirely covered in pencil lines, and each line was marked as important with a highlighter. Such banners are commonly seen at public events, printed with slogans and taglines; here, however, the artist’s inordinately time-consuming process has resulted in absolutely no political or social utility. Crawford makes specific note that the sculptures are not formally attractive, and therefore lack even the artistic use of being aesthetically beautiful. In the end, perhaps what the works achieve is the sophisticated and humorous presentation of a paradox.

Sick Sic Six Sic ((Not)Moving): Seagullsssssssss ssssssssssssssssss. is the artist’s response to the deaths of six people he knew. His inability to fully understand their significance to him is reflected in his use of homophones (words that are pronounced alike but which differ in meaning) that skirt the edge of comprehension, as well as in the near-immateriality of this “invisible curtain, made of invisible blocks,” as Crawford describes the piece. The work is dated 2018, and as time advances, it will be redated to always be six years in the future. By imposing this temporal distance—not so remote as to be inaccessible, but too far to discern clearly—Crawford suggests that the meaning of his works, like the capability to comprehend loss, is always faintly perceptible yet remains forever just out of reach.

Click here for Cameron Crawfords’ Website


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Icelandic artist Hreinn Fridfinnsson is known for his conceptual works. He works across a variety of media from text, photography, sound and ready mades.  He does however seem to use commonplace objects and this is where I have interest.  Interest in how another artist uses a similar object to speak about an idea they have or are working through.  I really like the works with envelopes and cardboard boxes, two objects/materials that I have used in my practice.  I especially love the simplicity of the envelopes used above, stark colour and graphical composition make these read as more than a humble envelope.  There is more work available here.


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One Action Ones Actions Poster




An Art Installation By Dickie Webb

Exploring A Sites Relationship With Community

2nd June 2013 – 11am-4pm

HUT 64

Cultybraggan Camp

Comrie – Perthshire.

 One Action, Ones Actions is a new work by Edinburgh based artist Dickie Webb.  The interactive sculpture, installed within the Cultybraggan Camp near Comrie, Perthshire responds to the sites history and seeks to visualise the ongoing relationship to the nearby community of Comrie.

On the 2nd of June 2,000 bouncy balls will fall from the centre of Hut 64, an A listed Nissen Hut first used to house Prisoners of War in WWII.  The 2,000 represents the local population, individuals which form a community.  The movement of the bouncing balls through the space highlights their individual journeys.  These objects interact with mobile structures and stationary balls present within the confines of Hut 64.  The individual balls start to operate as a whole rather than isolated entity as more of them enter the space.  It is this interplay of time and motion of objects that One Action, Ones Actions explores.  An unknown performance choreographed by chance and prior actions.



Cultybraggan Camp is currently owned and operated by the Comrie Development Trust (CDT).  It was first used as a prisoner of war (PoW) camp during WWII housing different levels of German and conscripted soldiers.  Since WWII the camp has seen a variety of uses Army Training centre, Royal Observer Corps (ROC) when a nuclear bunker was built on the site and also as a Regional Government Headquarters.  The local community benefits from the regeneration of the camp by the opportunities for small businesses, sports and recreation areas and renewable energy biodiversity strategies.  One Action, Ones Actions is part of an Open Day organised by CDT celebrating the past, present and future of Cultybraggan.


Dickie Webb – Within my work I try to echo human qualities that are present in discovered spaces; anthropomorphising vacated structures and overlooked objects.  By creating unique forms and sensory-based installations I consider what is past the obvious, discovering hidden potential within these objects and spaces.

I am currently preoccupied with whether it is possible to create a heterotopia within a liminal space?  Installing metaphorical objects within site-specific spaces creating suggestions of somewhere or nowhere, allowing the viewer to move between the real and the virtual.  These heterotopias transport the audience from the here and now, re-engaging the viewers with prior knowledge to complete the story.




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This review by Nick Warner was posted on This Is Tomorrow blog about the House 2013 Festival.  Really interesting works by several artists.  The review makes for interesting reading and especially how Warner applies the concept of Heterotopia by Michel Foucault.

HOUSE 2013
Brighton and Hove’s curated and programmed visual arts festival
4 – 26 May 2013
Review by Nick Warner

Between 1966 and 1967 Michel Foucault proposed the notion of the heterotopic space on several occasions. When defining the heterotopia as a space of otherness, a place neither here nor there, Foucault cited examples such as brothels, ships, gardens, prisons and, perhaps most famously, cemeteries. The concept of heterotopia has proliferated exponentially since the inauguration of the digital sphere and the opening up of the most spectacular heterotopic space conceivable; the internet. With access to a globe of unending communicative networks and within a vastly increased planetary proximity, the potential for spatial alterity is increasingly present, and an exhibitionary obligation to the dialogue between the familiar spaces of the domestic and the Uncanny spaces of the heterotopic is being tended to as swiftly as it is emerging.

With that in mind, HOUSE Festival, currently embarking upon it fifth annual iteration alongside the Brighton Festival, presents ‘Heterotopias and Other Domestic Landscapes’, an exhibition of new works by German artist Mariele Neudecker. As per the usual HOUSE Festival format, Neudecker’s work has been selected as the primary focus of the festival’s thematic, against which an open-call is generated. From this, peripheral regional artists are chosen to produce commissioned works which accent, or exchange with, Neudecker’s work in a multi-dimensional conversation between various domestic, commercial and public spaces across Brighton. The thematic for 2013’s HOUSE Festival was identified in Neudecker’s work by this year’s guest curator Celia Davies, Acting Director and Head of Programme at Photoworks, and general Brighton-art-scene celebrity. While Davies is responsible for the selection of Neudecker as the ‘lead artist’ from this point onwards it seems the selection of other artists is a collaborative one, and when I visited the festival Neudecker took on an interestingly curatorial role, speaking about the relevance of the other works to her own with ease, and answering questions about the other parts of the project. Alongside Neudecker, the list of artists commissioned includes Emma Critchley, David Wightman, Andrew Kotting with Anonymous Bosch and Ben Fitton with Dylan Shipton.

Neudecker’s work is installed in Brighton’s historical Regency Town House, which is exactly what its title would suggest. The work occupies rooms throughout several floors of the house, and its spread through the various interiors seems significant in the curation of a festival reflecting on the varying domesticity of contemporary art. The work, a multi-disciplinary contemplation of different landscapes, both real and imagined, is installed with a sort of metaphorical site-specificity, so that images of Arctic skies intersected by hand-drawn vapour trails occupy the uppermost portion of the building, and video works shot deep underwater in the Indian Ocean are situated in the subterranean basement spaces of the house. The house remains in a state of moderate disrepair and the elaborate hanging systems conceived to avoid any direct drilling to the building, which is in the process of becoming listed, extends the work’s heavily site-specific emphasis. On the ground floor of Regency Town House documentation of Neudecker’s trip to the Arctic is displayed; Polaroids and videos surround a large iceberg sculpture, a stunningly realistic maquette of an iceberg the artist circumnavigated with a view to making such a reproduction. The iceberg, the artist admits, is produced with an uncertain level of accuracy, amalgamated from several favourable icebergs seen on the excursion, and is scaled down to remain in proportion yet to fit through a standard door frame. The production of the work becomes less about an accurate representation of an object or event, and more about the problematics of domesticating the object and event. The memory or recital of an experience becomes in itself, heterotopic, sitting between temporal zones of past and present, and between geophysical zones of distant and proximate.

Equally, Dan Fitton and Dylan Shipton’s commission piece, ‘Monument to the Excluded Middle’, deals with the same heterotopic space of remembrance and reproduction. Situated in St Peter’s Church Gardens Fitton and Shipton’s monument resembles an air ship, collapsed and wrecked in the mid-section, and come aground. The airship was the first means by which humans saw the earth from the air, and so was a landmark technology in our expanded understanding of a multiplicity of perspectives. As the sky came to represent a new mode of exploration, so do these recurring possibilities of remembrance through the heterotopic space of the monument.

Emma Critchley’s commissioned video work, ’Aria’, is a startlingly beautiful film depicting a choreographed female figure moving serenely beneath the surface of a swimming pool. Filmed from underwater and accompanied by a specially scored female soprano singing a haunting a capella, ‘Aria’ is screened in a blacked out shipping container situated on Brighton’s seafront. The work is projected onto a stretched screen which reaches floor to ceiling inside the black box: entering only in small numbers, the environment is wholly immersive for its audience. The displacement of the body underwater, and the renewed and unfamiliar engagement with its own faculties, is mesmerising and surprisingly the alien quality of the underwater landscape reins in any overtly feminist readings of what could easily be read, due to visual associations, as a piece of feminist performance art.

Bodily displacement is made more explicit, or at least more immediately visceral, in the commissioned body of work produced by Andrew Kotting and Anonymous Bosch. The two had planned an extensive trip into the Pyrenees to make a series of new pinhole images in mountain caves. However, a motorcycle accident immediately before their departure meant that Kotting was hospitalised and the project would never come to fruition. Using pinhole images of Kotting’s own hospitalisation and recovery as a starting point, an extensive exhibition of paraphernalia has evolved including artefacts of Kotting’s crash and hospital residency, historical artefacts from the proposed region of the Pyrenees and a series of new pin hole images produced in the infinitely more accessible caves in Hastings. Directly adjacent the commercial seaside property in which Kotting and Bosch’s work is on show, a single large canvas is housed in a glass-box retail unit. David Wightman’s ‘Hero’ is, as with all of Wightman’s paintings, made up of painted wallpaper, so that his surreally simplified landscapes become textured with the memory of his own childhood and domestic past.

HOUSE Festival presents a concise and astute selection of works dealing with notions of the landscape with a heterotopic twist. The space that occurs between the artefact, object or event and its viewer expands out into a vast heterotopia that becomes manifest either in the content of the work or the environment of its presentation. These works all reflect differently upon possible ways of producing heterotopic landscapes, as bodies of research that move fluidly between science and fantasy, as immersive experiences, as publically available monumental remembrances and as detailed accounts of personal trauma.

HOUSE 2013 Website Click Here


In the last couple of weeks there have been some exciting new updates about the Les Bains Douche Project.  

Sambre has made an installation cutting through the floor and building a sphere from the wood which is reminiscent of Gordon Matta-Clarks anarchitecture.  Watch the video here to see more about the piece.

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This post is more of a revisit to an art practice that keeps being inspiring each time I come across her work.  Marleen Sleeuwits creates works in utilitarian spaces and documents these.  The photographs that she exhibits capture the interaction with the space and present it in a way that you are meant to experience it.  This really aids me in how I see works that I am doing in abandoned spaces as not many people will ever actually see the works so it is important that I learn to document and present the works in a way that people can understand the space in the way that it is perceived.

Click here for Marleen Sleeuwits website

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I am currently reflecting on a series of images that I have had printed for my upcoming degree show here at Edinburgh College Of Art.  One of two works that I have in the exhibition is based in a disused waterworld in Leith.  The site has been vacant since April 2012 and has proved to be a perfect location for an exploration into a disremembered space.  The idea of value of such a space is prevalent as the local community is still in discussions to reopen this site to bring back a valued asset to the area of Leith and wider community.  The items introduced to the space could belong yet somehow suggest a belonging to another time, place or society.  The obvious nod to expense in the sense of gold and images printed on credit cards suggests the ongoing debate about the site and also the value we put on our own leisure and escapism.

The two images above are part of the series though are not in the exhibition so give you a little taster of the images that will be the show alongside a new sculpture.  The degree show is open to the public from the 1st of June till the 9th.  If you would like any further information please contact me.




I came across the work of Magali Reus through the blog recently.  The works echo with my own practice with object selection and material awareness.  The standard of finish and composition of Reus’ work is so thoughtful and feels tactile before even being in its presence.  Reus has just completed a solo show in Brussels at Albert Baronian Gallery.  The show title Out Of Empty included the above works and others.  These alongside works that are on Reus’ website show a ongoing fascination with certain objects, materials and surfaces.  On the we-find-wildness blog they describe Reus’ work as:

MAGALI REUS uses common materials such as glass, plastic and aluminium to create complex constellations of works which include sculptures, installations and videos.

REUS‘ pieces defy categorization, straddling the line between recognizable and unrecognizable, finished and unfinished, intuitive and conscious, organic and synthetic. Nevertheless the result is invariably carefully constructed, abstractly composed and assumes forms issuing from reality.

The individual elements are being left as they are, the composition doesn‘t lead into a defined direction, no intrusiveness of meaning is restricting the viewer, instead they rather open up questions and atmospheres. Particularly in REUS‘ work one can comprehend the most famous quote, that the work is created through the viewer.REUS provides the materials.

Click here to visit Magali Reus website


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Dimitri Kozyrev brings together a visual for landscapes that truly explores the potential they contain.  His current work on show at Breese Little Gallery in London at the moment explores real landscapes and those of the mind.  The abstraction of what is there is distorted, twisted amongst the knowns and reference points.  Colliding with vibrant use of colour and graphical composition.  The landscapes feel alive yet hark back to sites of destruction where probably movement has stopped and nature has taken over.  Whilst looking through more work by Dimitri Kozyrev  it was interesting to see the drawings he makes.  These minimal ghost like drawings capture the landscape whilst delivering them as part of a wider blank canvas.  Whilst landscapes are normally large and hard to absorb with one gaze here you can take in a large portion of the landscape but for me it is the inability to take in the blankness, the blurred emptiness that surrounds the drawing.  Incredible work that really does explore elements that I am currently concerned with in my own practice.  If you would like to see more work by Dimitri Kozyrev either visit Breese Little Gallery, Kozyrev exhibition is on till the 1st of June or click here to visit his website