Exhibition

Study For A Portrait 4 Splash

Exhibition

Music for the gift

James Richards’ interest lies in the possibility of the private amidst the chaos of quotidian media. His work makes use of a growing bank of material that includes cinema, works by other artists, camcorder footage, murky late night TV and archival research. Means of producing and displaying images are central to his methodology and he unpacks the image as both subject and object, unfolding ways in which fragments of the present can connect with those of the past, the hidden with the visible, and the sentient with the physical.

Richards’ presentation includes Migratory Motor Complex (2017), a six-channel electro-acoustic installation that explores the capacity of sound to render artificial spaces and locate sonic and melodic events within them. Woven throughout the piece are re-occurring vocal and musical motifs that have been developed in collaboration with Kirsten Evans and Samuel Williams, students of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. The work has then been tuned in situ, with Richards reacting to the acoustic contingencies of the site as he creates a cinematic and multi-sensory experience — an arrangement of vivid emotional cues to be navigated subjectively.

What weakens the flesh is the flesh itself (2017) is a video made with collaborator Steve Reinke. The starting point for the work is a series of images found in the private archive of Albrecht Becker — a production designer, photographer and actor imprisoned by the Nazis for being homosexual. Amongst pictures of friends and photographs taken whilst serving in World War II is a collection of staged self-portraits that reveal an obsessive commitment to body modification, tattooing and his own image: duplicated, repeated and reworked with collage and darkroom revision.

This extraordinary collection of images serves as the backbone for the video, an extended meditation on the archive, photography and the body. The double self-portrait is redoubled, repeatedly — a mise en abyme; the self is lost as the flesh proliferates, escaping death, returning as a thin image resonant with desire and possibility.

Rushes minotaur (2017) is an installation of inkjet prints that draw on two distinct images: a close- up of crumbling skin from a medical book, and the tarpaulin-shielded façade of a shop. Cut together and then rescanned, these simple visual cues and combinations of found images are disrupted and reinstated through a scanning process that stretches and stacks them into different combinations.

A publication, present throughout the exhibition, contains a text by the writer Chris McCormack. The narrative moves between the intimate and the scientific and reflects upon the breaking of the male voice. Shifting between first and third person, the text meets Richards’ exhibition at an oblique angle, like his images that oscillate between unfettered documentary and a more neurotic interior territory. 

News from Venice

Jr Radio At Night Still 2

UK Tour

Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice and Scotland + Venice are delighted to announce that they have received major support from Art Fund towards their James Richards and Rachel Maclean exhibitions on their return to the UK. This will follow their representation of both Wales and Scotland respectively at the Venice Biennale of Art in 2017.

James Richards: Music for the gift and Rachel Maclean: Spite Your Face will be exhibited in Venice between 13 May and 26 November 2017 with both attracting national and international press and media interest. Whilst the artists’ presence in Venice is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of both Wales’ and Scotland’s artistic excellence internationally, the partners are keen to create meaningful ways to engage audiences with the exhibitions back home.

In a unique partnership, the exhibitions will now both be shown in Wales and Scotland thanks to the support of Art Fund. James Richards will be exhibited at Chapter, Cardiff and Collective, Edinburgh and Rachel Maclean will exhibit her work at Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh and Chapter. A programme of events will accompany the exhibitions.

Hannah Firth, Curator for Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice, on behalf of the partners, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have received support from Art Fund to enable this exchange of exhibitions between Scotland and Wales. Presenting the shows in Venice is obviously really significant in positioning the artists’ and commissioning organisations’ work on an international platform but we are also very aware that interested audiences won’t necessarily have the chance to travel to see them. Re-staging the exhibitions in the UK will generate continued interest in the artists’ work and provide a vital platform for the public to encounter these important exhibitions.”

Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director, said: “The Venice Biennale is one of the most significant events in the art world calendar, but not everyone gets a chance to visit it for themselves.  Art Fund always tries to facilitate the greatest possible access to art so we’re very pleased to be bringing both Rachel Maclean’s and James Richards’ Venice exhibitions to UK audiences in Cardiff and Edinburgh, where we hope they’ll be widely enjoyed”

Kate Gray, Director of Collective, on presenting the Wales in Venice exhibition in Scotland, added: “Collective are delighted to be working with James Richards and Chapter towards representing Music for the gift in 2019. This is a great opportunity for Scottish audiences to experience the work of James, one of the most exciting artists using moving image today.”

James Richards has a rapidly growing reputation internationally and his recent exhibitions have received widespread critical acclaim. His carefully constructed installations involve sculptural, acoustic and curatorial considerations to create complex, multi-dimensional works of extraordinary intensity. His work makes use of a growing bank of material that includes film soundtracks, works by other artists, camcorder footage, murky late night TV and archival research. Means of producing and displaying images are central to his methodology and he unpacks the image as both subject and object, unfolding ways in which fragments of the present can connect with those of the past, the hidden with the visible, and the sentient with the physical.

For Venice, Richards’ exhibition Music for the gift presents a suite of new works including Migratory Motor Complex, a six-channel electro-acoustic installation that delivers a cinematic and multi-sensory experience, and What weakens the flesh is the flesh itself, a video that takes as its starting point a series of images found in the private archive of Albrecht Becker — a production designer, photographer and actor imprisoned by the Nazis for being homosexual; a collection of staged self-portraits that reveal an obsessive commitment to body modification, tattooing and his own image. The video is made with collaborator Steve Reinke and is an extended meditation on the archive, photography and the body.

One of the most significant contemporary artists working in Scotland today, Rachel Maclean has had recent success with major exhibitions at HOME, Manchester and Tate Britain, London. Possessing a unique and often disturbing vision, the fantasy narratives that she creates combine traditional modes of theatre with technology and popular culture, raising critical questions about identity, economy, society and morality in a media saturated world. Her creative process involves studio based green-screen techniques, custom prosthetics, costume, and voice actors. Maclean plays all the characters in the films herself and works directly on every detail of post-production.

For Venice, Maclean has created a new work entitled Spite Your Face which is a powerful critique of contemporary ‘post truth’ political rhetoric. Taking the Italian folktale – The Adventures of Pinocchio – as one of the main reference points, the film explores the dubious language of truth and how this is used and abused to enhance personal, corporate and political power. Spite Your Face champions the potential for art to be a critical, transformative and universally self-empowering force and critiques the underlying fears and desires that characterise the zeitgeist.

 

 

COLLECTIVE

Established in 1984, Collective has been fundamental to the cultural vitality of Scotland by supporting new work by artists who are at a pivotal stage in their development. They provide artists with the opportunity to make new work and audiences the chance to see it in Edinburgh first. Their programme of exhibitions, walks, events and off-site projects presents contemporary art in all its diversity. They create opportunities for participation, mutual learning and dialogue by opening out processes of art production, connecting with other fields and encouraging new developments.

www.collectivegallery.net / @collectivegllry / www.facebook.com/Collective

 

ALCHEMY FILM and ARTS

Founded in 2010, Alchemy Film and Arts celebrates experimental film and artists’ moving image culture in Scotland. Its annual Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival is one of the most important festivals of artists’ film in Europe. It is produced in partnership with Heart of Hawick in the Scottish Borders. Alchemy Film & Arts also raises the profile of Scottish based artists internationally through developmental projects for experimental film and artists’ moving image, including year-round exhibitions, artists’ filmmaking residencies, filmmaking symposia, international and rural touring programmes, and community filmmaking initiatives.

www.alchemyfilmfestival.org.uk / @alchemyfilmfest

 

TALBOT RICE GALLERY

Talbot Rice is the University of Edinburgh’s public art gallery. Talbot Rice has an influential national and international reputation founded on its exhibition and integrated education programmes. In the last decade the Gallery has curated exhibitions with some of the most influential artists in the world, including: Luc Tuymans, Jane and Louise Wilson, Joseph Kosuth, Jenny Holzer, Lucy McKenzie, Alasdair Gray, Mark Dion, Rosemarie Trockel, and Tim Rollins.

www.ed.ac.uk/talbot-rice @talbotrice75 www.facebook.com/talbotricegal... 

Latest Blog Posts

14.11.2017 / Remember your present

After the night's storm
and in the clear present light,
the marbled floor shines.

12.11.2017 / What its all about...

Elderly Belgian couple listen to the entire sound piece and watch the whole film. It reminds them of their time during WW2. 

They recount how they were forced to relocate from Belgium to the UK to avoid the Nazis. It's how they first met. 

They thanked us for such a powerful exhibition and the memories it evoked.

10.11.2017 / The Art Olympics

Before I left:

"What are you going to do in Venice for a month?".                                    

A common question from friends, family, and colleagues not accustomed to the 'funny world of the art world'.

"I'm working at the Venice Biennale".                                                               

Followed by a detailed and comprehensive description of the event.

A confused look or a too eager nodding of the head usually follows.

After repeating this conversation a few times, I settled on a fool-proof response.

"I'm working at the Venice Biennale. It's like the Art Olympics".          

No detailed and comprehensive explanation needed. It is understood. 

I wondered why this was so that an art festival with a similar length of history as the modern Olympic games (the first Biennale was held in 1895 and the first modern Olympics was held in 1896) in its own right is needs so much explanation. Yet when compared or referred to as the Art Olympics, its understood.

I wondered if this was because of the level of funding and media interest in the Olympics that the Biennale does not have, which leads to a wide-spread knowledge of the event in the public consciousness. 

After arriving

Once arriving here, I realised there was more to this 'Art Olympics' that I previously thought.

The weight of history and the politics that plays out at the Olympic Games plays out here, with national pavilions jockeying for position and prominence.

Also, there is a multitude of conversations based solely on the pavilions and not the artists. 

"What did you think of Germany? or Ireland?" or "Have you seen Finland yet and don't you think it's weird that they are also in the Scandinavian Pavilion?' and "I wonder what the Catalan show thinks of the Spanish Pavilion?"

I now wonder when the Biennale will be introducing an opening ceremony, the Biennale Torch, flag parade, national anthems, and international boycotts. 

08.11.2017 / A nod yes, but never a wink..

A wink  -  never use (unless winked at maybe).

'Salve'        -  yet to use.
                       -  will use today.

'Ciao'                -  a safe choice (probably the safest).
                              -  not time specific.

'Hello'                     -  either used mistakenly or in response to a 'hello'.

'Buongiorno'            -  used too much. Remember it is time specific.
                                         -  Use 'buon pomeriggio' for the afternoon and 'buonasera' for the evening.

A nod  -  Universal.

08.11.2017 / an incomplete chorus


an incomplete chorus                                         corws anghyflawn                                 un coro incompleto
of 16 voices

why a sweet 16?                        such a small number                                            out of an active 88 and a total of 139

 

why deny a harmony of 88?                   why not revive a chorus of 139?

 

are your voices sweeter?            more unique?                                                                                 
                                                                                                    have the others left?                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                                      have they forgotten their voices                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    or have they broken?

I wonder about                                                                                                                                                                                 

this incomplete chorus               separated by distance                  and made up
                                                                                                                             of different petals from different flowers                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                             some budding and some wilting

 

do your petals float down the canals and join in harmony?  

................................................................................................




Some notes:

139 churches across the city's 7 sections and surrounding islands. 

133 (96%) are Catholic.
The other 6 are used by other denominations. This are: Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, Anglican, Presbyterian, Armenian, and Russian Orthodox.

88 of the 139 are active, meaning they practice Mass at least once a week.
The remaining 51 has been deconsecrated and or converted. Things they have been converted to are: schools, community buildings, and storage facilities.

16 of them are operated by the Chorus Association.