future imaginings of place, ecologies and culture
17 artists respond to the theme in an exciting multi-disciplinary
exhibition at Thames-Side Studios Gallery, Harrington Way, London, SE18
Opening event: 31.01.20 6-9pm
Exhibition dates: 1 - 16 February 2020
Gallery Opening hours: Thursday to Sunday 12 - 5 pm
Exhibiting artists: Fran Burden | Clare Burnett | Alison Cooke
Richard Ducker | Elaborate Kingdom | Deborah Gardner
Oona Grimes | Sula Hancock | Nicky Hodge | Melanie King
Sarah Kogan | Jo Lawrence | Jane Millar | Stephen Nelson
Freddie Robins | Sarah Sparkes | Virginia Verran
Curated by Jane Millar
a sense, if you're not getting it wrong really a lot when you're
creating imaginary futures, then you're just not doing it enough. You're
not creating enough imaginary futures.' William Gibson
Richard Ducker, still from URGENT: SLEEP BETTER
New Doggerland is a new multi-disciplinary artists project for a future
imagining of physical and cultural re-connection between Britain and
the European mainland. Doggerland is the name given to the ancient
landmass, now submerged, that once connected Britain to Northern Europe.
What if a new land mass rises up and we become physically part of the
New Doggerland is a project about future land and
humans. It asks questions to which the exhibitors and participants
respond with different ideas and answers. Who will be living there and
how? It may evoke a Ballardian dystopia, or ideas of possible Utopia. Or
could New Doggerland be the heterotopia where we go to experience
'other' selves, a place of becoming?
About the artwork: featured
works include film, textiles, painting, sculpture, ceramics and
installation. Details of featured artists' works:
Borne from the
bogs of the lowland heath that extend from East Anglia into New
Doggerland, an ancient amphibian girl with an inverted digestive system.
A girl that gave herself to the watery land and became a god. Realised
in rubber by The Elaborate Kingdom.
stitched pieces and works on paper range from the uniformity of Orwell
and Huxley to the wild Egyptian glamour of Earth Wind and Fire, to
explore the common cultural themes of a future imagining about the look
of dress and costume. Her pieces here are a sample selection for the
everyday and the ceremonial.
paintings and drawings suggest multiple perspectives, from body to land;
vestigial remains in deep space, aerial scanning and surveillance,
virtual mappings that show the tracing of action and process; a
personal world of invented motifs and symbols suggestive of flags,
tiny bombs, rooftops, ladders, outlying islands, with lines and motifs
that track back and forth between nodes.
chorus of bird heads fuses bird and clown, Neorealism and Etruscan.
The avian profile of the Italian comic actor, Toto, is discernible in
many of these unhinged puppet-like heads - trickster and sub-proletariat
Neapolitan. Like her drawings of snotty children, faces pinched and
frozen, these bird heads ooze emotion from cartilage, beak and glassy
eye. “...all archaic mythological figures and events are available as a
thesaurus of glyphs or token symbols” (Ted Hughes, Shakespeare and the
Goddess of Complete Being).
piece, All the same, is produced using automated, digital, knitting
technology. A technology developed to achieve perfect repetition,
removing all human touch from industrial production. Why is this
desirable? Why do we want everything to be the same? Why can’t we accept
different as equal? This work continues Robins’s questioning of
conformity and her resistance to notions of ‘normality'.
cluster of minimal abstract paintings has a bareness around the edges
and a focus on the margins and boundaries. Indicative of an
indeterminate process, the work reveals something about a sense of
becoming as a response to an uncertain future.
Sculptor Deborah Gardner
considers future shifting plant environments from the local to the
alien and imaginary plants in space, partly inspired by recent images of
NASA’s experiments with growing plants on space craft and visions of
paintings revolve around ideas of landscape, abstraction & memory.
In her imagined resurgence of New Doggerland, she evokes memories of
forgotten lands, like an amputated limb that has re-grown. Its’ physical
manifestation symbolises a newly extended version of ourselves and our
relationship to feelings of absence and loss.
ceramic sculpture envisions a future crisis of teaching lost knowledge.
Her wall-based 'test beds', guessed-at planets, and a Werkbund type
traveller's teaching and display case triggers unrecovered memories and
soothes feelings of loss.
Artist Sarah Sparkes work
'Heroes and Villains' is drawn from both archaeological and science
fiction mythologies. She has imagined her work for New Doggerland as a
manifestations from the sentient ocean in Stanislaw Lem's Solaris - a
Post-Anthropocene dream of hunter-gatherers.
re-imagines rejected rubbish as precious archaeological finds of the
Anthropocene. The imagined formation of New Doggerland from accumulated
waste washed up in the North Sea gives rise to a future culture inspired
by the visual overload of plastic detritus. Carried during processions
‘marottes’ (heads on sticks with articulated mouths) are used to
disseminate news and ideas through song.
British artist Stephen Nelson
makes strange and highly personable objects and constructions, often
playfully domestic and comedic, using a wide variety of salvaged
materials selected for their colour, texture and character. Working with
anything from sea worn plastic toys, clay pipes, wire, painted drift
wood to cloth, carpet and leather. "Nelson’s sculptures have an
improvised and makeshift attitude, forming part of a curious world of
‘possible objects’ which defy critical context by reaching out through
their physicality." Paul Hobson
film ‘URGENT: SLEEP BETTER’ evokes a sense of paranoiac dislocation
and loss. Part filmed on an iPhone, and part found footage, it forms a
tone poem to establish a montage of emotional disconnect. The film’s
psychological relationship to the topography of landscape articulates,
often through counterpoint, the emotionally driven narrative.
work includes a fragment of sediment core from 3m below the North Sea
bed, and ceramics made of clay collected from the edges of Doggerland’s
UK and European borders. An ongoing project, her work here examines
future remnants of the human race.
With thanks to the research team behind Europe’s Lost Frontiers.
detailed installation takes a playful look at how geographical
environments and life forms influence each other, paying particular
attention to the cultures that might develop when the life forms, whilst
as intelligent as humans, are not concerned with the ‘I want more’ and
‘this is mine’ mentalities.
anthotypes show the B46 iceberg which has detached from the Pine Island
Glacier in West Antarctica - a clear indicator of global warming. The
anthotype is a photographic print using plant matter to create an image,
which will slowly fade with time, mirroring the fragility of our
Clare Burnett takes the wheel as a
symbol of past and future development, a fossil of the past and hope for
the future as a new Doggerland emerges. She scavenges lost wheels
that steered boats across the North Sea and transforms them into absurd
yet functional objects.
Thames-Side Studios Gallery (Unit 4) is
one of South London’s largest single exhibition spaces with a 2,600
square-foot gallery space. We run a programme of exhibitions featuring
artists based on site and elsewhere. Thames-Side Studios is a provider
of affordable studio spaces for artists, makers and designers.
further information contact email@example.com How to find
Bicycle: Thames River cycle path (16 mins cycle from
Bus: 161 / 177 / 180 / 472 to Warspite Road bus stop.
Woolwich Arsenal (1 minute walk to Plumstead Road and take Route Bus 177
towards Peckham Bus Station or 472 towards North Greenwich
Road: A2 corridor, first roundabout east of Thames Barrier
onto Warspite Road.
Train: From Cannon Street or London Bridge to
Woolwich Dockyard (8 minute walk)or Charlton (12 minute walk).
North Greenwich (Take the Route Bus 472 towards Thamesmead Town Centre).