Last night I attended SoundScreen, an event run by Pop Up Brighton, who run arts events and exhibitions across Brighton with the aim of showcasing new talent. Presented in a beautiful Unitarian church, this was something quite special, as artists and musicians worked together in order to create a new, sensory experience that straddles popular culture and high end art. This is something to be really excited about, as the organisation themselves are quite keen to collaborate with other arts organisations in their share of resources, spaces and events. I’m currently writing a series of mini-essays that address this, and other issues, which I’m writing more for an exercise in my own curatorial ethics, setting my own standards as such. This was great though, people were so excited to talk about the future of the Brighton arts community, which seems to have become bigger and better in the last few months.
Upcoming Brighton Exhibitions
Still From: ‘I See An Infinite Distance Between One Point And Another’
One of the great benefits of living in Brighton is the wealth of its art community, so I thought I’d let you all know what’s going on in the next month in case you’re in the area (and if you are, drop me an email and I’ll show you around!)
Turtle Salon @ Grey Area
14th April - 29th April
Throughout Turtle Salon’s occupancy at the Artist Run Grey Area expect art, video art, film screenings and live music (including an appearance by The Raincoat’s Gina Birch). I’ll be at the PV on Saturday 14th April, for Amos Poe’s Empire II. This is a great, new and very exciting space for Brighton’s art scene, encouraging an open, social dialogue between a variety of artistic disciplines and their audience.
Lower Ground Floor, 31 Queens Road, Brighton, BN13XA, Entrance Up Side Street.
Costume @ HINTER
22nd April - 13th May
A presentation of sculpture by Lauren Schneider and Albert Schlemberger. Schneiders work in particular is particularly special, an intensely internal artist that explores the complexity of identity through bound and covered figures.
Unit 16, Unit 16, Lion Mews, Richardson Road, Hove, BN3 5RA.
‘I See An Infinite Distance Between One Point And Another’ @ Fabrica
14th April - 27th May
Fabrica sees the presentation of a new film essay by Turner Prize nominated The Otolith Group, in which Lebanese poet Etel Adnan is filmed reading excerpts of her book-long poem ‘Of Sea and Fog’, a beautifully lyrical and haunting work. I’ve already seen the work, and I’ll be writing about it later on this month, once I’ve spent a bit more time with it. The final cut of the film is my favourite, a gorgeous moment of fragmentation as the camera breaks up an ice sheet, creating new borders and islands.
40 Duke Street, Brighton, BN1 1AG
Lakeside Frequencies @ Westhill Community Hall
This new work by Rachael Melanson, a relatively new installation artist in Brighton, is something to get really involved with. From what I’ve heard, Melanson will be erecting a forest within Westhill, with each tree containing aa radio reciever. You are then given a headset, which picks up each frequency as you explore the piece. Exciting stuff.
Compton Avenue, Brighton
People who are doing wonderful arty things…Two Brighton Artists: Anika Carpenter and Allison McGechie
I spent the day with these two wonderful ladies at The Jerwood Gallery in Hastings, which I’ll write about later. I’m completely, ridiculously impressed by their work and attitude to their work, and I’m looking forward to their next exhibitions.
Anika Carpenter - Emphatically Light Daydream Ego I, 2008, dimensions variable, mixed media
Anika runs Talking Art which runs short contemporary art courses in Brighton for adults. She’s a Fellow of the Academy of Higher Education and loves Cy Twombly as much as I do. She’s also a Volunteer at Fabrica, which is how I met her. Here’s an explanation of her work in her words:
‘Carpenter’s work is an exploration of the nature of memory, the pleasures and frustrations of attempting to accurately preserve passing moments. In her work, the origins and meanings of private jokes are misplaced, roses given at specific times for specific reasons become generic dried blooms, and evenings spent with friends are transformed into an indecipherable and increasingly uneven ‘map’.’
Her Website, with further work: www.anikacarpenter.com
Allison McGechie - Gut
Allison is a sculptor, painter and a fiery individual. As a retired teacher, she’s been able to make these wonderful visceral sculptures. as for her, the human element is ‘vital’. She has this wonderful piece called ‘Wimple headdress’ which plays with the idea of virginity, restraint and the body particularly well.
Reasons I love Brighton: MAUER KUNST @ Stick Mikes Frog Bar
Every now and again, MAUER KUNST, a collective of artists, illustrators and curators, brings its collaboration of live artists and musicians to Sticky Mikes in Brighton. It’s a really exciting night, as the walls are painted white and artists are invited to ‘art’ on them. This edition was particularly special, as the piano, a recent addition to Sticky Mikes, was painted as the wonderful Catherine Ireton played a couple of sets from her album ‘From Me To You’.
These nights are the reason why the art community is so strong here, it becomes a lot more relaxed and collaborative, by appearing in a bar there isn’t any stuffiness or preconceptions of the space, and it’s fun. The work is also temporary, as the next MAUER KUNST prepares the space again for a new set of artists. It makes me very warm inside to know people are doing this (not just from the beer).
There’s this perfect spot by the beach (the texture of which I should have photographed) that is right next to a string of boats that sing in the wind from the sea. There are a few slabs of eroded steel, remnants of the now skeletal West Pier, that are perfect for stretching out on, they gradually warm over the course of the day. It was a beautiful day yesterday, and today is beautiful too, except a nerve is trapped in my back and Dali is being grumpy.
Look at that blue!
Stéphane Cauchy – Cascade
Fabrica, Brighton. Until the 29th August.
I’ve been making much more of an effort to engage with my local arts scene (I don’t like the word scene for some reason, but I suppose that’s what it is), and I’m slowly uncovering galleries and spaces bit by bit. London has somewhat a monopoly on art if you live Down South, and Brighton offers literally loads of things in and around the surrounding areas. Chichester has the Pallant House Gallery for instance, which I’m going to next week because I’ll actually get to see some Frida Kahlo. Tomorrow I’ll be trying my hand at being an Exhibition assistant at the Lighthouse Gallery on Kensington Street, I’ll give you some more information about that tomorrow. I’m not new to Fabrica, but I’m pretty new to Visual and Sound Art, so forgive my ignorance while I talk for a while.
For a piece that, at times, is essentially calm, there is incredible tension in Cauchy’s slowly filling silver pails. The chaos caused by a full bucket is preceded by this wonderfully strange game that the viewer is drawn into; an aim to find the next to fly back up into the rafters. Cauchy’s work suggests mortality, and with this, a meditation on the cyclical nature of death, as the buckets perpetually fill and release, to return after a series of releases.
I always love seeing the reactions of others to visual art, and Cauchy’s work triggered a series of interesting responses, some startled by the sudden splash of water, others deeply meditative. Some laughed and were interested more in the construction of the huge pulley system, some laughed and walked away. Fabrica is a wonderful space, and previously lived as a church, so the acoustics and wealth of light serve an enormous advantage to a piece like ‘Cascade’. I previously saw (or should I say heard) Janet Cardiff’s ‘Forty Part Motet’, and again, the gallery asserts as immense personality of peace, power and reflection.
I tried taking a video of ‘Cascade’ myself, to capture the movement of the buckets, but my camera’s phone is terrible. Here’s a nice video made by Fabrica instead:
(Click the terrible resolution photo to see exhibition details)
This is where I was this afternoon, in this sea, beside that wonderful skeleton.
Most of my life I’ve been so very wary of the water, I would panic so easily in endless folds of anonymity and sheer, overwhelming depth. I always found a cage around my lungs which bound me so tightly to fear, and kept me from understanding what the fuss was all about. I didn’t learn to be confident in water until last year, but I’m there now. This was completely exhilarating; I swam alone with no-one else visible, and tested my own boundaries in the almost-clear, perpetually green sea; it was completely mine. I haven’t had much ownership of anything lately, so this was it for a while. Thunder and Lightning echoed on the horizon and I floated underneath it, big thick dashes of rain hitting the open land of my face and throat and shoulders. It has cured a different, larger panic that has been brewing for the last two weeks, about my ability to study, write, and live. I found out today that I didn’t get the necessary funding for my education, which I was so, so sure of, but I didn’t and so I must go on. I could go on like this, as I am now, but I know I wouldn’t be happy like this. The sea knows this, I told it, with a body of salt and water.