Exhibition runs 3-18th September, open 12-5pm daily. Closed Mondays.
Preview and Performance – Friday 2nd September, 6-8pm
Under Construction is an exploration of how artists, at all stages of their artistic careers, construct their own identity through their artistic practices. How do the ways in which we construct ideas, objects, space, identity, ourselves both as artists and as people, manifest themselves across different backgrounds and generations.
The use of objects and possessions and their potential to be something more: for example objects and artworks as vessels to discuss more sensitive subjects such as migration and gender; and objects that invite other modes of self expression, are explored by the artists. Our relationship with technology plays a significant part in the exhibition: production, printing and photography techniques – new and old – and audio and video recorded, manipulated, presented and re-presented. This is also a vehicle for conceptual exploration: the effect and relationship between mass-production and us; how screens are fragmenting and yet increasingly becoming an intrinsic part of every day life; how technology is letting us down in terms of sustainability; and the ways in which technology can be used to discover more about ourselves.
Nineteen people from many different nationalities are involved in Under Construction – Fine Artists, Photographers, Print Makers, Graphic Designers, Sociologist and Performers – of which thirteen are exhibiting. There are objects and possessions, paintings and sculptures, photographs and prints, together with video and sound works, all ranging in scope and scale.
Nick Greenglass’ practice focuses on how new and developing processes in printmaking can be used and combined with traditional techniques. Much of his work explores identity, specifically how digital and emerging technologies are affecting our shared and individual sense of self, and this is developed further in Under Construction. By exploring the idea found both in mythology and psychology of ‘the shadow self’ (our hidden, missing or obscured side of identity) through doppelgängers, mirroring and obscuring within the print and making process itself – a piece of work that is made up of fragmented, albeit different images of identity, printed in a variety of ways and then sewn and re-built together – has been created.
Marina Iodice works predominately through installation and incorporates a range of media from the analogue to the digital. Her previous installation pieces have investigated women’s roles in contemporary society through her over-arching mission to build a new perception of the world: and it’s this particular notion that has been pushed further in Under Construction. Marina’s ‘Sound Machine’, controlled by the physical contact between the human body and food, and the latter’s roles as natural conductors of electricity, will produce a unique sound for each individual through the act of eating. Through unconventional methods – exposing every living being’s unique frequency band – this piece uncovers the unique qualities that we all have.
James Norman’s practice is in a constant state of flux where different media and themes are embraced and discarded in a promiscuous manner. His current interests lie in the dialogue between visual objects and linguistic text. James has created a series of objects of visual interest which intersect and juxtapose with linguistic texts specifically for the exhibition. The gestalt nature of the work – in response to the transitory and alienated nature of the Spike Test space, a corridor which masquerades as a white cube that has many of the attributes of what Marc Auge defines as ‘NonPlace’ – explores and jostles with the notions and processes that permeate the space.
Howl Yuan (performance) – ‘The Island of Toys’
Howl’s interest in how mass-produced objects play an integral part in our up-bringing and the construction of our identity, is explored predominantly through performance. In this performance, ‘The Island of Toys’, a curiosity lies in the relationship between people and icon alongside makers that don’t get the chance to use their own creations. MIT (Made In Taiwan) toys were never a part of Howl’s childhood, while these toys, in Britain and the West, became a (Taiwanese) icon for many. Using toys as naïve and playful objects, artist and participators will co-discover something that they already have in common but is easily forgotten or ignored.
Maria Jose Carvallo is a Chilean artist and psychologist. Her theoretical and visual image research of the female body is grounded in her own cultural context and psychological practice. Through watercolour and the found materials in domestic spaces, Maria re-constructs figures from her research around the representations of women in art history and from her personal experiences. Maria has created new work in response to Under Construction from her research that embraces the human body and ideas of the ‘wild’ human condition, sexuality, love, and nature as a safe place to be.
Helen Acklam makes and paints in order to explore and give shape to her thoughts and emotions, in response to particular times and places. Helen has recently opened a Unit in the St James Arcade in Bristol, where 5 artists have been using the space as a studio and exhibition space. Throughout August, Helen herself will be making site specific work from her time in the Arcade and her public interactions, through paintings and videos. Helen’s work for Under Construction is a coming together and the documentation of all that she has discovered by putting this Unit into action.
Rosanna England is a recent graduate of Drawing and Applied Arts at UWE, her work is multi disciplinary, experimentation and process led. She creates work inspired by objects or possessions which she believes have the potential to be something more. Rosie is exhibiting work from her ‘The Afterlife of an iPhone’ project. By re-constructing old redundant Apple iPhones, recycling unused parts and transforming them into ceramic and plant life installations, wax forms, photography, and metal sculptures, something ‘unusable’ is transformed and enabled to be seen in an entirely different light.
Amalia Pascal is a Chilean artist who believes the use of objects can help us to speak about more sensitive subjects such as migration and gender. Through the use of ‘everyday materials’, digital drawing, performance, installation, and video, her artwork seeks to reflect and challenge the ways in which we see identity, social categories, and how the pre-existing discourses that surround them are created and repeated. Over the last year, Amalia has been developing a virtual gallery. This research, for Under Construction, is presented as a video installation using audio from original recordings, and her response to these narratives about the objects of South American women, in the form of an object created by her.
Cliff Andrade studied Printed Design and Photography at Glasgow School of Art. Through his practice, he explores his personal relationship with immigration, and what it means for the land people leave behind. For Under Construction, Cliff is exhibiting pieces from his ‘Saudade, Part ii’, a project that has dealt with this very directly. Driven by a feeling that before he could attempt to explore and understand his own identity, he first had to understand the identity of his parents, he then returned to this land. Through a sense of place, the pieces focus on his parents specifically, and how their experience of being immigrants affected their sense of identity here, in the UK.
Benjamin Jones’s practice revolves around the photographic process. Through large scale prints, sculptures, video and still projection, he explores how mechanical reproduction alters how we perceive and construct our world. Benjamin’s 35mm slideshow projection – of 80 candid head-shots of people in a crowd, projected as negatives – deals directly with the photographic process as people as imprints on film, while ‘negative’, lending these figures an anonymity, changing their original visual identity. Alongside this, a single photo-etched portrait amalgamated from multiple prints on stacked layers of tissue paper as a juxtaposition of the projection – both a positive and fixed image.
Tom Goldstone is interested in ideas of recycling materials in order to redesign space – he sees this as a metaphor for how knowledge exists, evolves, and alters when travelling from one person to another. Tom has created a series of plaster casts (part of the ‘Space Between Us’ series) of the plastic casing designed to transport products to supermarkets, that are then subsequently thrown away. By taking ‘rubbish’ and using it to create ‘art’, he raises questions about value itself, how we perceive and construct what is valuable to us as people, and as artists, and therefore how art has the potential to change people’s perception.
Flavia Terzian uses a set of self-designed systems and templates to deconstruct and reconstruct the identity of geometric shapes. Flavia uses sculpture as a tool to take her investigations beyond the 2-dimensional space of the page and into the physical world.
Jodie Everett, by using an array of symbology and mythology, and through the rituals of the photographic process, constructs and represents the psychological evolution of her own experiences that form her identity.
Ben Morris, currently studying at the Univeristy of Bristol; Costanza Tagliaferri, who undertook a Maketing & Communications placement at Spike Island; Emily Moore, who studied in London and has recently moved to Bristol; Christina Constantinou, who’s background lies – and who has a degree in – Sociology; Alice Larcome, who is supporting Tom, Jodie and Flavia with all things curatorial, and, Adriana Carvallo, who is currently studying Photography, are assisting with the organisation from the promotion of the exhibition, documentation of the installation and private view, to social media activities and some written work such as blog posts.