Performative tour of THE COSMOS exhibition by Escalator Artist/Writer in Residence Patrick Coyle, marking the opening of the residency presentation on Saturday 12th May 2012.
Brought together for a six-week residency under the metaphor The Cosmos, and taking the past, origins and knowledge as starting points, artists Salvatore Arancio, Flora Parrott, Nilsson Pflugfelder and Stuart Whipps present a range of new work in the gallery and across Wysing’s site.
Each artist has developed a distinct body of work in response to this residency and through conversations with a range of local experts and enthusiasts in a programme of public events and informal meetings aimed at exploring the huge concepts that constitute our understanding of The Cosmos. These new works explore, in some way, the manner in which we structure knowledge in science, spiritualism and in human culture more generally. This period of research has generated the beginnings of many projects and the works shown here are the first iteration of larger bodies of work that the artists will continue to develop.
Salvatore Arancio has developed a series of works playing the visualisation of science and the merging of fact and myth in knowledge. Drawing on his interest in historic illustrations of geological discoveries he is exhibiting a large screen-print of minute grains of a piece of granite, alongside a series of small collage works. A series of new works in clay, undergoing a period of drying before being fired, are shown in our ceramics studio, where they have been made. Our recycled structure Amphis, 2008, is the location for the screening of a video made entirely from clips from the series The Cosmos by Carl Sagan with a new soundtrack by Arancio. The film encompasses imagery picturing theories from physics, the human body and built environments through history and has the visionary, almost psychedelic, low-fi appearance of a 1980s vision of the future.
The sculptural works developed by Flora Parrott during this residency and presented in the gallery, attempt to think through abstract concepts using manipulated organic materials including coal, silk and oyster shells. Four compositions of images and objects act as frameworks to understand four particular concepts: deep time and compression, singularity and expansion and interconnectedness and the primordial mound. Through research into the use of Mandalas, ancient tools for spiritual focus, Parrott has been exploring the physical and psychological filters that people instinctively put in place that allow us to define the limits of conscious thought and prevent constant contemplation of enormous, paralysing ideas. The works presented here could act as frameworks that interrupt or disrupts these filters to allow fluid thought.
The work of Nilsson Pflugfelder (Magnus Nilsson and Ralf Pflugfelder) is situated on the intersection of critical spatial design, architecture, art and discourse. As a response to The Cosmos they have proposed a large, gleaming outdoor structure to be situated in the grounds of Wysing. This galvanised steel triangle will act as a contemporary folly-like space with no obvious function and no obvious entrance. Although the sculpture will have a minimal, futuristic feel, its typology, proportions and atmosphere reference ancient structures. The lack of discernible purpose for this strangely rarefied space may give it the feeling of a site of pilgrimage. Within the gallery is sited a black object which will become the central element of the structure, once complete.
Stuart Whipps often takes overlooked narratives from recent history as the starting point for making films and images. During The Cosmos he has been researching Edward James, an eccentric character who used his personal wealth, power and influence to solidify and materialise his unconventional beliefs. Whipps will present a series of images taken in Las Pozas; James’ surrealist concrete garden (built from 1949 - 1984) set in the rainforest in Mexico. The images, projected medium format slides, show the casts used to make the concrete sculptures, the sculpture and its surrounding forest.
This year artist Patrick Coyle is documenting our residency programme through performance and writing. At 6.30pm on 12 May, Coyle will present a performative tour interpreting the works of the four residency artists. Documentation of this will be available in Wysing’s reception alongside a reading area and further information on all the artists.