148. Sarah Burger

Your practice has a large focus on architectural spaces, often the social spaces of cities. What is it about these sites that drives your practice and piques your interest?

I’m interested in the sculptural presence of architecture, in its’ time and endurance through time. I understand this world as an ongoing sculpture, an ongoing transformation of interacting entities, non-human and human ones together. 

The materiality of architectural structures (mainly stones in ancient times, more recently iron, steel) makes them last and degrade over a long period of time. Whether you look at an urban or a country landscape, it’s presence is always a coexistence of different times and duration of this.

148. Sarah Burger

147. Stine Deja

We are welcomed into a physical space resemblant of an airport departure lounge. The imagery in the video also references this and we are informed by the voice-over that we are going on a 'journey’. Could you discuss what interests you about this space as a platform for what is discussed in the work?

I chose the airport because I see it as a transient space with boundaries (and borders) that react to the person crossing them. I wanted to try and overlap this metaphor with the ways in which humans now ‘travel’ on and offline as part of their daily routine. The internet, when constantly accessible, offers infinite ‘destinations’ and each of those routes is unique as it is defined by the imagination of the person navigating it. I thought that the airport aesthetic was appropriate for this reason and it interests me because of it’s muted minimalism and futurist metallic accents that also are woven through the video. I thought that simulating the airport in the space as part of the installation would both mirror the environments in the video whilst also putting the audience in the apprehensive and adventurous frame of mind that airports sometimes put you in.

147. Stine Deja

146. Fiona Grady, Linda Hemmersbach and Hannah Luxton

‘Shaping the Void II’ follows on from a previous installment - ‘Shaping the Void’ - at Bankley Gallery in Manchester. How are the two exhibitions linked?

LH: ‘Shaping the Void’ at Bankley Gallery in Manchester was a 3-person show which found a narrative between our individual practices; focusing on painting and site-specific drawing. After many conversations, emails and studio visits, we came up with the concept for ‘Shaping the Void’. The show focused on the idea of the Void within contemporary painting practice with regards to Spirituality and Eastern Philosophy, which perceives Nothingness as full of energy and light.

‘Shaping the Void II’ at Tannery Arts expands on this concept by including artists working in other mediums, such as sculpture and printmaking/light photography.

HL: Both exhibitions work to suggest that imagination is a vehicle to transport us in closer proximity to the void. For part 2, we wanted to open up the conversation to a more secular understanding of the void. The artists are concerned with absence, impermanence, intangibility, and the works operate within varying speeds of time.

146. Fiona Grady, Linda Hemmersbach and Hannah Luxton

145. Marion Coutts

You are a writer and artist. How do these two roles play out in your practice?

I’m not sure yet. My book – ‘The Iceberg’ – came out in 2014. It was written during a period when I was not making any artworks. Now I have made some artworks and am finding it hard to write anything. The two seem mutually exclusive at the moment. I expect that won’t last forever.

145. Marion Coutts

144. Lucy Tomlins

The fallen figure of Atlas in your sculpture reminds me of the symbolic gesture of toppling a statue, something that we often see (via the media) as an act of protest or rebellion. Does this link to your work? 

Absolutely. Traditionally, the public square is where statues of distinguished people are sited, usually placed there to reinforce notions of power or national prestige. Their toppling has become the visual symbol of the overthrowing of a system, in the same way as Stevens used the collapse of the building.

The figure represented in my sculpture is the Titan Atlas, as a young man. Not as in Greek mythology holding up the sky for eternity, but collapsed under the weight of the world and its problems. Though not didactic, my work has often involved social commentary and it feels difficult, at this specific time, not to make work that is in some way responsive to the socio-political context we find ourselves in post-Brexit and Trump. ISIS also uses the media to spread imagery of the vandalism and destruction of ancient artifacts in their attempt to erase history and our connection with the past and traditions. The fallen statue is a very loaded image, full of history but also of the moment.

144. Lucy Tomlins

143. Sherman Sam

Could you discuss how you approach each painting? Do you have any rituals or particular processes which determine how the work begins and then evolves? 

I wish I could say that it’s like being a sportsman where you have your lucky boots or cross yourself then kiss the field before you play… but it’s not quite like that. Not even lucky brushes or painting slippers… dammit!

At any one time, there are some 15-20 works in progress. Some of these have just been sitting in the studio for some years. I would say that half of them are getting more attention than the rest. I move them around, glance at them. A touch of paint here and a touch there, that’s the main action, and not always every day. BUT it is the looking and trying to stumble on to a solution or way forward that takes the time. Well, sometimes it’s not a stumble, but the accidental path is always the most satisfying because it’s so much less predictable. So even those seemingly forlorn pieces sitting around collecting dust, are really still being thought over somewhere in the back of my mind.

143. Sherman Sam

142. Nadim Abbas

Works like ‘Chamber 667’ and ‘Chamber 664 "Kubrick”’ could almost be sets from a science fiction film. Is sci-fi an influence?

Regarding the sci-fi influence - the short answer is yes! I am a big science fiction nut. I wrote a short text on this connection (between sci-fi and my work) many years ago. It was around that time that I discovered these molecular renderings of viruses, which were later to become the central motif of ‘Chimera’. The text was never published, and I’m not even sure that it makes any sense. Basically, 'Chimera’ was my way of materially resolving some of the concerns that were started in writing.

There are many visual parallels between my work and cinema, simply because much of what I do involves the notion of converting (lived) space into an image (memory), which is something that comes almost second nature to the cinematic process. Given the popularity of sci-fi blockbusters today, I should clarify here that I’m less interested in constructing seamless, illusory images like you might see in the latest Star Wars spin-off. Rather, I’m fascinated with finding ways of letting the inconsistencies show through, like in a low budget B-movie. In other words, there is always an element of theatre present in my approach.

142. Nadim Abbas

138. Victoria Adam

I recently saw some pomanders at the V&A; tiny metal containers historically worn about the body to ward against miasmic air that was thought to cause plague or illness. The pomanders were perfumed or held sponges soaked in vinegar so presumably, it was necessary to hold them close to the face in order to sniff them effectively enough. 

138. Victoria Adam