Utopia and dystopia at Kestle Barton

Students from BA(Hons) Fine Art, BA(Hons) Architecture and BA(Hons) Creative Writing came together for a 1 day collaborative project at Kestle Barton, a rural centre for contemporary art on Frenchman’s Creek in Cornwall.

Students explored themes of utopia and dystopia in the current show Kestle Barton exhibition, Togetherness: Notes on Outrage. Curator Ben James opened up questions for debate relating to a post industrial landscape; students discussed the themes in small groups before setting out into the landscape of Kestle Barton and its beautiful gardens to make artworks in response to place.

Students took a documentary approach, walking though the landscape gathering a sense of the environment, generating fiction and narrative about Kestle Barton. In small, mixed discipline teams, recording the soundscape of place with high-tech sound equipment that picked up frequencies within the earth, students walked, talked, made drawings, collected sound and film footage which informed their discussions about their relationship to place and site. BA(Hons) Fine Art Senior Lecturer Lucy Willow, said ‘The warm autumn day provided the perfect opportunity for students to explore the possibilities of working off campus, away from the studio, with students from different creative subjects, finding common ground within their practice’.

BA(Hons) Fine Art student Alex Maclachlan shared some thoughts about the day…

‘Kestle Barton was a very refreshing experience for me, and I am very grateful to have gone. The idea that we would be exploring the theme of Utopia/Dystopia throughout is what drew my initial interest in the trip and yet the day turned out to have many more advantages than just aiding me in my current practice. For some time I’ve been eager to partner up with students on other courses at Falmouth, and [this study visit] extended me the opportunity to do just that…By the end of the day, some really interesting collaborative work had been produced among creative writers, architects and fine artists. We were exceedingly lucky with the weather, and the gentle conversation among students, tutors and Kestle Barton staff was all the more effortless because of it. We talked as we walked about the gardens in the sun, enjoyed the homemade lunch provided, all on top of the time dedicated to serious discussion…it was lovely to indulge in casual debate away from the elevated pressure you might find on campus or perhaps the more serious atmosphere you may find in the studio. This was an experience that I would happily participate in again’.

On at Kestle Barton until 4 November 2017, Togetherness: Notes on Outrage celebrates the pioneering work of the architecture critic Ian Nairn, whose 1955 edition of Architectural Review, entitled Outrage, revolutionised architectural criticism. For Outrage, Nairn traveled across England observing and documenting the urban sprawl and ubiquitous civic architecture. Broken into 25-mile segments, Outrage proposes an audit of every facet of subtopian aesthetics, covering subjects ranging from wire fencing, telegraph poles and street lights, to military installations and power stations, culminating in a manifesto and checklist of planning malpractices.

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First look at this autumn’s Guest Speaker programme…

This autumn we welcome five outstanding Guest Speakers to deliver lectures to students of Falmouth School of Art. Speakers include return visits from our two Visiting Professors, and an exciting event in association with the Groundwork project. Places are available at each for members of the public, our arts partners across the region and our alumni.

Places limited, registration required. Click here for more details and links to registration.

FOMO – Introducing Falmouth’s first Art Publishing Fair

F O M O – the first ever Falmouth Art Publishing Fair – opens at 4pm on Friday 29 September for a weekend of talks, workshops, screenings, artists’ book works, performances, zines and comics and readings.   

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Organised by Falmouth School of Art’s Senior Lecturers Neil Chapman, Gillian Wylde and Carolyn Shapiro and Associate Lecturer Maria Christoforidou, F O M O will take place at Falmouth Art Gallery and the Library of the Municipal Buildings, The Moor, Falmouth, and brings together Falmouth School of Art staff and students with local participating institutions including: Falmouth Art Gallery, Falmouth Library, Tate St Ives, Stranger Collective, Urbanomic, Atlantic Press, Burning House Books, BLNT Collective, Keiken and Krowji. 

F O M O will include contributions from academic and research colleagues from: Royal  Holloway University, Cambridge University, West Dean College, Aarhus University, Plymouth University, Goldsmiths University of London, Research Center for Material Culture Netherlands and from across Departments at Falmouth University.

Generously supported by Falmouth Art Gallery, the event has grown out of discussion between colleagues across different departments at Falmouth University. From meetings as a Research Forum, finding common ground between their varied interests, the group started to consider joint research and how best to team up for that work. One of the organisers, Neil Chapman, reflects on the development of the event, and what we can look forward to over the weekend…

‘As a research group, we share a commitment to collective work. That’s both a pragmatic interest and a critical position too. Most often, when people work together it’s so that a workload can be shared. But collective work is unpredictable and inefficient too and these are values that might tend to be lost in the current climate. There is a lot of emphasis in the contemporary workplace on individuals’ success and the competition that results can be destructive. Our title for the event – Fear of Missing Out – is on some level an ironic allusion to these issues.

We are all of us, in different ways, committed to discursive work, to the climate of ideas that surrounds ‘making’ in our different disciplines. And that’s a foundation for the publication fair too, reflected in the many talks, screenings, readings and performances scheduled over the weekend. F O M O provides an opportunity for us to invite our colleagues and friends to Cornwall. It’s good for the cultures of creative practice here in Falmouth. F O M O will bring lots of people into contact who might not have met otherwise. We’re excited to imagine the new partnerships and the new work that might result.

The aim has been to inaugurate the kind of event that we would want to go to ourselves, also the kind of event that students would be excited about. Henrietta Boex, Director of Falmouth Art Gallery, has been extremely supportive. We’ve made all kinds of demands on her and she seems never to say no to anything; the Gallery’s Glyn Winchester has also been a great support. The independence of the project is a way of underscoring our own priorities, which are evident in all kinds of ways through the framing of the event: the name, the graphics, the publicity, the choice of which artists, writers and publishers to invite. There are many Art Publishing Fairs in the UK and abroad and we have had an eye on some of those. But in another sense this Fair has been invented from scratch. And for that reason it will work well as a foundation for bigger and more varied research initiatives to come. We’re talking about a future peer-reviewed journal, discursive gatherings – dream dinner date/fantasy football team type things with exciting living people—maybe some dead folk too, ghosts. No zombies. Digital Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida . . .

It’s particularly good to be working with current students and recent Falmouth University graduates. As part of FOMO, Graham Taylor who studied Fine Art and who graduated in 2015 is curating an exhibition entitled Practically Outside, involving a dozen or more Falmouth alumni. His contribution makes a direct engagement with the FOMO ethos, looking critically at what it means to be an ‘emerging artist’, engaging in the most thoughtful way with different platforms of exhibition and print publication.’

F O M O also includes contributions from writers, artists, poets, publishers, activists, hackers, Falmouth University alumni and musicians both national and international.

F O M O is an inaugural event, bringing a new art research collective into being, which, over forthcoming months will stage events in different forms and at different locations, connecting diverse networks.

https://falmouthartpublishingfair.wordpress.com/

FSA Visiting Professor, Hew Locke, exhibiting in Bremen and Miami

Hew Locke, our appointed Visiting Professor of Fine Art, has two new projects; ‘Cui Bono’ in Bremen, and ‘Reversal of Fortune’ in Miami.

Cui Bono installed at Bremen Rathaus. Photo ©Indra Khanna 2017

‘Cui Bono’ is a 4 metre long ship that Hew has created.  The work was commissioned by Kunsthalle Bremen and installed at Rathaus Bremen, Germany, as part of the exhibition ‘The Blind Spot: Bremen and Art in the Colonial Era’.  A video on the installation can be found here.

Detail of Cui Bono ©Hew Locke & DACS

The installation in the Town Hall’s upper gallery is an invitation to grapple with Bremen’s maritime commercial and colonial history.  The exhibition takes place in Bremen Town Hall, Germany, from 5 August to 19 November 2017.  For more information on the project click here.

 

‘Reversal of Fortune’ is a new commission for Fringe Projects Miami, in an empty jewellery store in downtown Miami’s historic Art Deco Moderne DuPont Building.  The exterior of the installation is viewable from SE 2nd Ave, 24 hours a day, from 8 September 2017 to 31 January 2018.

Chinese Imperil Gold Loan 10 ©Hew Locke & Hales Gallery

Since the financial crash of 2008 Hew Locke has been buying original antique share certificates from old companies, and painting directly on them.  In ‘Reversal of Fortune’ fifteen have been selected and printed up to create an installation on the facade, and inside the vault, of an empty store.  He has chosen these defunct shares sometimes for their interesting history, and sometimes for their beauty.  He highlights historical and economic cycles. Commerce has its’ ups and downs, yet it is human nature to be optimistic, to continue to trade.  New-born companies garland their shares with confident typography and classical motifs implying stability and worth.  Figures representative of the local population in the areas in which the companies operated are sometimes seen breaking-through.  These are silent witnesses, those who paid the most to create the wealth without receiving the benefit.  Locke’s series of shares is also a wry acknowledgement of the commodity value of contemporary art.

 

Hew Locke will be a guest speaker for Falmouth School of Art later in the year. Watch out for details of our upcoming ‘Guest Speaker’ series.

Falmouth’s Visiting Professor programme brings international speakers of the highest calibre to the university to share their knowledge, insights and experiences with students, staff and wider public.  Visiting Professors are appointed for three years, delivering both public lectures and working with our students during their annual visit.

 

Falmouth School of Art Intensives – Summer 2017 in Pictures

Last week we held our Falmouth School of Art Summer Intensives 2017.  Three strands took place this year; abstract painting, figure painting and observational drawing.

We had another really successful year packed full of fantastic work by a great group of practitioners.  We really enjoyed hosting this again and please do take a look at the wide range of work produced in the gallery below.

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Fine Art students reflect on the Future Now Symposium

Second year BA(Hons) Fine Art students, Isaac Aldridge and Unn Devik joined their Senior Lecturers Mercedes Kemp and Lucy Willow at a two-day conference – Future Now – at York St John University. Isaac and Unn, whose attendance was partially funded by Falmouth School of Art, share their experience of the symposium:

‘Cherie Federico, the Co- Publisher, Editor and Director of Aesthetica opened the symposium with a soft, reinforcing message, reminding us of uncertain times with the unprecedented rate of technological intervention with the effects and questions that it brings to us in the present time. Federico mentioned the way technology can sway culture and enforce propaganda; we can see this through the brain washing of young people through the manipulation of religious intentions to commit acts of terror and political gain, but ultimately through art we are able to consider the events of the world; even though it’s shifting at a cataclysmic speed, we have some power of influence. It is a self-reflection on the 21st Century life and what it means.’ Isaac Aldridge

‘Future Now Symposium invited us to celebrate the shortlisted artists for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2017, and for the occasion arranged a vast series of lectures by professionals from the art world. Speakers came from Glasgow School of Art, Welcome Trust, ArtAngel, Arts Council, Visual Art South West, Icon Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery and many more. Themes of the Symposium included; the arrival of the digital age and how it affects the art world as we know it and, diversity in the art world and how to make it a more inclusive and culturally diverse scene on all levels.  There were also sessions about funding and art prizes, relevant platforms when launching a career as a practicing artist.’

I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity by the university to attend the Future Now Symposium. All in all I feel more informed about the current situation of the Art World. Although it is a highly competitive and commercially driven world, it is full of opportunities.  Hopefully, too, it is on its way to becoming a truly diverse place.  An Art World utopia is a place where the Art World is not commercially driven and takes pride in nurturing and sustaining talent from across the globe – regardless of background.  I think only then we can talk about making art for art´s sake – that is to imitate different realities of existence.  We are far from this utopia– but I believe going to symposiums and other events like Future Now is a great way of getting to know yourself and what you find to be valuable and worthwhile – thus creating your own idea of a utopia.’ Unn Devik

Artist Sean Lynch to talk at Falmouth School of Art – 10 May – Register now

We are pleased to announce this addition to our 2016-17 Guest Speaker programme.  In partnership with CAST as part of the Groundwork programme, Falmouth School of Art welcomes artist Sean Lynch on Wednesday 10 May, 5pm.

Irish artist Sean Lynch is interested in loose ends within stories: the footnotes that tend to get lost, and how to mediate their presence. The sculptures, installations, videos and publications generated in this process are speculative and open-ended. He forensically investigates anecdotes and half-truths, uncovering marginalised stories, forming them into alternative arrangements of history to open up new understandings. For example, he represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2015 with Adventure: Capital, a multi-media installation that took viewers on a journey through myth and ideas of minimalism across Ireland and Britain, exploring value from an anthropological view point.

Born in 1978, Lynch lives in Dublin and studied at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. He has recently held solo exhibitions at The Rose Art Museum, Boston, Modern Art Oxford, Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver and Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, amongst others. With Michele Horrigan, he works at Askeaton Contemporary Arts, organising artist residencies and exhibitions in southwest Ireland.

Over the last few years, Lynch has been a regular visitor to Cornwall, preparing a new artwork for Groundwork, an international art programme developed and delivered by CAST in Cornwall, that will culminate next year in a series of high-profile commissions and sited work. (http://c-a-s-t.org.uk/projects/groundwork).

This is a free event but registration is required via Eventbrite.