Exploring socio-political narratives, movement and language through the prism of sculpture, performance and technology, ‘3-Phase’ establishes itself as a critical platform and opportunity for experimentation. For this second edition, artists Larry Achiampong, Mark Essen and Nicola Singh have been selected by an independent panel to develop and present new works through three exhibition moments. Following the first at Jerwood Space, the artists will exhibit at WORKPLACE Gallery in Gateshead and Eastside Projects in Birmingham in 2018. First launched in 2015, ‘3-Phase’ aims to support a dialogue between emerging artists across the UK, giving them the opportunity to create new works and to engage with different exhibition spaces.
Mark Essen’s sculptural installation ‘Tis ‘Ard to be a God’ (2017) is presented in the first gallery and it is formed by three separate works: the ceramics ‘Believe Your Beliefs and Doubt your Doubts’ (2017), the table of currencies ‘A Possibility This Will Never End’ (2017) and ‘The Illusion of Growth’ (2017), an aeroponics tower. Three different structures of alternative economic and social values - in particular Degrowth, a movement based on ecological, anti-consumerist and anti-capitalist ideas. Essen underlines some of the most problematic social and political issues and strategies of our times, while suggesting new solutions to awaken our critical consciousness.
Nicola Singh’s large-scale textile work ‘Sweet Spot’ (2017) introduces us to the second gallery: a delicate and enigmatic installation which traverses the room from floor to ceiling, making us aware of the space we are walking through. Singh’s piece frames both the building and the spectator’s movement through the exhibition, enabling an unfolding narrative on language, forms and gestures in relation to the female body.
A voice then leads us to the third and darkened room where ‘Testimony for the Relic Travellers’ Alliance’ by Larry Achiampong is displayed. The mixed media installation is formed of ‘Relic 0’ (2017), a single channel video projection, which faces ‘PAN AFRICAN FLAG FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS’ ALLIANCE’, a flag featuring the 54 stars representative of the 54 countries of Africa. This is clearly a suggestive installation, reflecting on a lost African history – especially of the African diaspora – which raises questions of identity, transience and migration, reflecting on the trauma left from a colonial past and on a future of hope and prosperity.
‘3-Phase’ reveals itself as a multifaceted exhibition, where there is an opening up of a wordless dialogue between the artists but also with our consciousness as well. Walking through the space becomes a journey consisting of moments that are simultaneously claustrophobic, light and sublime. Articulated through an eclectic synthesis of contemporary art practices, an organic process of experimentation emerges from the works that supports the works’ concepts and intuition.
Continuously collapsing our maps, the exhibition goes some way to bypass the boundaries of social barriers and cultural-political norms. Only through collective awareness, collective responsibility and collective dreaming might we be able to reach a point of prosperity and harmony between cultures, nations and communities.