Browsing Tag: FACT

    film installation

    Shona Illingworth, Lesions in the Landscape (2015)

    September 22, 2015

    shona illingworth blog

    In a rare moment of colour footage, this film by Shona Illingworth features figures with torches who work their way around a green twilight landscape, riddled with stony ruins.

    The searching orange beams bring to mind the point of our consciousness, while the vastness of the terrain stands for all we know and remember but cannot directly access.

    But like the lonely figures in this three screen panorama, we get by. The same can hardly be said for another personage in this unsettling film, the amnesiac Claire, who cannot feel her past.

    The injury to Claire’s brain is paralleled by the injury to this landscape. St Kilda is the most North Westerly part of the British Isles, evacuated under controversial circumstances in the 1930s.

    We see the islanders in archive footage captured by an ornithologist on the eve of their departure. They hide from the lens, as if from witchcraft, and resist attempts to know them through film.

    A later piece of sound in the installation is more revealing of the inner life of these island dwellers. Illingworth includes the call and response of a religious service comprised of Gaelic psalm.

    So you can live on a godforsaken rock in the Atlantic, but that, apparently, is no reason to forsake your god in turn. And there is a beauty in the oceanic pitch and roll of communal song.

    All that remains of these peoples here now are the seabirds that for four millennia formed their main diet. Thousands of these fill the screens which fill the dark screening room. You are among them.

    This is the sad and inhospitable place where, along with Claire, we hear from Martin Conway. The highly respected neuropsychologist is philosophical about the condition of both subjects.

    Without a sense of the lived past, we cannot know the present, we cannot imagine a future. The same could be said for both subjects of Illingworth’s film; it is bleak at times.

    That’s maybe why the viewer welcomes the burst of colour and the dogged progress of the figures with the torches. If our own memory works like this, it is at least working fine.

    Lesions in the Landscape can be seen at FACT, Liverpool until 22 November 2015, before travelling to UNSW Galleries, Sydney, Australia, then Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Art Gallery, Outer Hebrides, and then Dilston Grove & CGP Gallery in London.

    aggregation, contemporary art

    UK Exhibitions: March 2015

    March 1, 2015

    MS-Cantata-Profana-2010-2-1182x787

    I’ve been picking a monthly round up of art for a few years now, first on Culture24 and now on criticismism. If it’s not my imagination, this is getting more difficult. Cuts coming home to roost?

    It’s my unscientific impression galleries have got less likely to list forthcoming shows. It could be a sign they’re having trouble planning, or that they’re at least lacking web resource.

    That’s to say nothing of the quality of what’s on offer. But fortunately, it remains a tricky operation to choose a shortlist from the wealth of UK exhibitions. Anyhow, FWIW, as ever, here goes:

    Group Therapy: Mental Distress in a Digital Age, FACT, Liverpool, 5 Mar – 17 May. New group show connects the technology which structures our lives with the mental illness which sometimes blights them. 15 artists provide a chance to reflect on the new psychological landscape.

    Leonora Carrington, Tate Liverpool, 6 Mar – 31 May. Too much to say about Carrington in this narrow window, but unfamiliar visitors may thrill to her surreal work, her remarkable life story, and her diversification into poetry, scultpure, tapestry and theatre design.

    Gerald Scarfe: Milk Snatcher, The Thatcher Drawings, The Bowes Museum, Co. Durham, 14 Mar – 31 May. With a general election on May 7, this is a brave moment for a museum to remind us of the evils of Thatcherism. And, with recent events in Paris, the power of political cartoons.

    Richard Diebenkorn, The Royal Academy, London, 14 Mar – 7 Jun 2015. Heralded by US papers as a painter of superlative gifts, the forthcoming show – Dieberkorn’s first in the UK for 20 years – is an opportunity to be seized. The RA promises a career long survey.

    Matt Stokes:  Cantata Profana, Dilston Grove, Southwark Park, London 27 Mar – 26 Apr. Grindcore metal meets choral composition in an offsite six-channel installation for Matt’s Gallery. Find yourself immersed as the volume goes up to (a no doubt cathartic) eleven.