(click on year and high lighted text for link on show and project undertaken)
Eight Days A Week 2001 :`UNHEIMLICH', `Die Halle',Wiesbaden, Germany - April 2001
An exhibition at Die Halle Gallery. Wiesbaden, Germany. Featuring the works of English Artists: Pete Clark, Pam Meecham. Geoff Molyneux, Paul Sullivan.
`Unheimlich' was an exhibition concept uniting British and European Artists developed by artists strongly associated with the North West of England. The exhibition hosted by Wiesbaden artists' `Die Halle' was the most recent in a series of international artists' initiatives and exchanges. The exhibition exhibited seven large paintings by Pete Clarke and incorporated work by Geoff Molyneux, Liverpool City College, Pam Meecham, Institute of Education, London and Paul Sullivan, director of Static, architectural practice and gallery, Liverpool.
was formally opened by representatives of Wiesbaden City Council and
was supported and funded by the City Councils of Liverpool and Wiesbaden,
the Goethe Institute, Liverpool City College, Institute of Education,
London and Liverpool Design Agencies - Yoyo and Static. The exhibition
catalogue had a critical essay from Bryan Biggs, Director of the Bluecoat
Arts Centre Liverpool.
Paul Sullivan :Drawing No.114
This work starts
with the assumption that architecture is colonised by the mediocre,
the unambitious, the illiterate.
Geoff Molyneux : Landscape & Landschaft: : Acrylic on canvas
There are both
barriers to be challenged and questions of ownership to be asked.
Just how comfortable can one be with what one perceives as familiar?
Moonwaller Statue Medium: Photograph Statue des Spaziergangers auf dem Mond Fotografie
Pam Meecham : Monumnts and history
The civic demands of resemblance and dignity
meant that the avant-garde forswore the public commissions to celebrate
the great and the good. The self-elected artist left the public space
to the monument maker and turned to the demands of the personal.
The photographs on which the art works are based were taken in 1997 in an aircraft hanger near Louny in the Czech Republic. The representatives of Soviet power until 1989 stand in storage awaiting rehabilitation. A colossal statue of Lenin, in his great coat and fur hat, stands beside statues of a baroque saint and a decorative maiden united in their current obsolescence. However, divested of power through political irrelevance, the statues can be transformed into objects of nostalgia or symbols of failed utopianism.
Lenin's image was un-valourised in the west as a product of Socialist Realist dogma. Now transformed it acts as an uncanny reminder of the losses of the past: the works confront our own political and aesthetic amnesia. They confirm the failure of the modernist aesthetic to be anything but an exercise, a ritual, for reaffirming traditional beliefs about art and the histories that it represents.
Pete Clark : City going to sea ; Receding storeys
35 : UNHEIMLICH
Die Halle is an artists' collective that runs an exhibition programme in a converted launderette. These German artists are typical in their outwardlooking and positive desire for new ways of working in a more seamless Europe. It was interesting to explore the differences and similarities in the artists' sense of ambition, assumptions and facilitating processes compared to the UK. Wiesbaden - like its comfortable spa town equivalent of Harrogate with its surveillance capacity on Menworth Hill - has shades of the unheimlich.
It is the gambling capital of central Europe. Also, bored American GIs conscripted to keep the post-war peace created an anarchic Fluxus experiment in the context of the USA's European centre for military high command. Wiesbaden still contains the seeds of the uncanny with Fluxus musician and performance artist Ben Patterson remaking classics like Swan Lake as video presentations in his German bathroom. He has been invited to Liverpool to undertake a project in 2002.
Revealing what is'hidden' - or perhaps what is not always visible - strikes me as a very useful strategy for contemporary artists in an administered culture of continuing globalisation. Survival and enabling strategies seem to be about second-guessing cultural and political shifts and capitalising on chance encounters to generate artists' networks and initiatives. This combined with concepts of making place with the emphasis of the'regional devolved in the international' is the fundamental starting point for the uncanny artists. Unheimlich has become an exhibition concept creating European possibilities developed by artists strongly associated with Liverpool and the North West of England. The exhibition at Die Halle - funded by the City Councils of Liverpool and Wiesbaden with support from the Goethe Institute in Manchester - is the most recent international exhibition.
These artists' initiatives started in 1997 with the exhibition 'Zimuns' in Hertzliya, near Tel Aviv, bringing together artists from England, France, Germany and Israel. This was followed later in the year by artists from Israel and England at Die Halle. In 1999 artists from Germany and Israel came together for the reciprocal'Discourse' show at Static Gallery in Liverpool. A recent example of this developing network was a project in Bassano, Rome when artists, including Geoff Molyneux, made outdoor installations in the ruins of the old mediaeval town. Forthcoming projects in 2001OZ include developing collaborative links and exhibitions between artists from Liverpool, Cologne, Hagen, Wiesbaden, Rome and Tel Aviv.
Parallel networks are the very successful 'Eight days a week' projects that link artists and galleries in Liverpool and Cologne. A major exchange project planned for 2002 will celebrate the anniversary of the twinning of the two cities. 'Eight days a week' has had a significant influence on my own practice; the collaborative paintings I make with Georg Gartz from Cologne have established a creative dialogue generating ideas about authorship, tradition and authenticity in contemporary painting. Our forthcoming exhibition in November at Kunstwerk, Kunstschalter EV takes place during the International Art Fair when the private view is part of the Die lange Nacht der Museen (Long Night of the Museums), a celebratory evening for the visual arts organised by the City of Cologne and Stadt Review magazine. Geoff Molyneux has also recently returned from a residency in Basel and Paul Sullivan at Static is developing new spaces for international residencies and collaborations.
PETE CLARKE IS A LIVERPOOL-BASED ARTIST, LECTURER IN FINE ART AND MEMBER OF THE RESEARCH GROUP ANOTHER PLACE, UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE, PRESTON. ______________________________________________________________________________
Introduction by Bryan Biggs Directour of Bluecoat Art Centre,Liverpool
Given art's capacity to reveal what lies beneath the surface, to present the familiar in unexpected ways, even to unsettle the viewer, the title chosen for this exhibition seems oddly appropriate. Freud, in his essay of 1919, took the concept of unheimlich - in English literally `unhomely', or uncanny - beyond simply equating it with a sense of the unfamiliar, of arousing feelings of dread. For him, the uncanny was not "new or alien, but something which is familiar and old-established in the mind and which has become alienated from it only through the process of repression.
" It could be argued that in the media-saturated age we inhabit, art no longer has the capacity to disturb, its shock value being instantly consumed by our appetite for sensation. Away from the hyped up blockbuster exhibitions of recent years, for instance in London, where this phenomenon has been so spectacularly evident, art however continues to exercise its power to quietly resonate and to engage, not through novelty, but through re-framing the familiar, re-presenting what is perhaps already known but which has become hidden or forgotten, consciously or not.
For the four artists exhibiting here, Freud's articulation of this duality, of finding the familiar in the unfamiliar and vice versa, provided a useful trigger in sparking off discussions about their different art practices, and the curious connections between the work they would exhibit together in Wiesbaden. Inevitably, their discussions led to an exploration of the idea of heimat, opening up questions both about their own sense of homeland (ostensibly the City of Liverpool, but through work and other connections and circumstances, elsewhere as well), and also about how their creative work would be received when exhibited away from home: placing the familiarity of their own art in an unfamiliar setting, what critical and aesthetic responses would showing in this new context abroad elicit? Would the readings of their work be any different in Wiesbaden from those generated in the UK? The continuing dialogue between the artists involved from both countries will no doubt provide some answers, as well as prompt new questions, when they meet again this Spring.
Although all four UK artists work in very distinct ways - photographic, sculptural, with paint , with drawing and object making - each nonetheless approaches his or her subject through a process of re-reading, of interrogating the familiar. Photographing a collection of discredited public monuments to communism that she came across in the Czech Republic, Pam Meecham confronts us with documentary `evidence' of a failed utopian enterprise, questioning historical memory and collective amnesia in relation to the reconfigured political map of Europe.
Paul Sullivan's large drawing critiques what he regards as the failure of much modern architecture to go beyond bland functionality, as he seeks to reclaim the practice as a site for imaginative thinking about our future living spaces, using drawing discursively, rather than as a blueprint for mediocrity. In Pete Clarke's mixed media paintings, accretions of visual and textual fragments build up a picture of the contemporary city, not as a place of topographical familiarity or urban cohesion, but as a shifting environment of social relations and contradictory forces. Rendering a common-place yet redolent object (such as a suitcase) unexpected, through covering it with camouflage material, Geoff Molyneux explores our relationship to landscape and travel, raising issues about ownership and territory, and the comfort of home.
And it is the concept of home in its broadest
sense - the idea of a place, both physical and mental, where we feel
at ease (be it a building, city, landscape, memory or ideology) -
that these artists collectively disrupt, not with the intention to
alarm, to create in us a sense of
All those involved are grateful for the support
of those organisations and individuals who contributed to this event:
Paul Moy Associates
Ian 0'Reilly : firstname.lastname@example.org
Preston University of Central Lancashire