Saturday, 31 March 2012

Artists as Parents as Artists

We went to this event today by Townley and Bradley at First Site in Colchester. They were exploring how having children has changed their practice and become part of their practice.

The session was mixture of play, films, presentation and discussion. In the talk they used a mixture of powerpoint and banners. Bradley said that 'Banners were like a medieval powerpoint' which I really liked. One of the slogans was 'sensual engagement conceptual rigour'. It is interesting thinking about how people of all ages experience things sensually and how that physical engagement could be seen as part of most successful art. The conceptual rigour part is essential, but there is also no reason to think that children are not capable of this. Interestingly though Townley and Bradley were very clear about their children not being artists.

A theme in the talk was children as curators. Townley had made some great drawings (1 a day) of how their children place objects in relation to one another, and in the discussion afterwards we spoke about the huge attachment that children have to the physical, material presence of objects. They often like to be close to particular objects physically, like carrying a special stone to bed with them.

Another thing I really liked was they started the talk with a banner which was a simplified spread sheet of their accounts for the last year. It was good that they acknowledged the interconnectedness of the challenge of supporting your family and being an artist, and how that influences the work you might make.


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Paper Planes

Hi Rachel,

This is a show I saw today at Phase 2, Arup, by Nicolas Grospierre It was based on the design of an aircraft museum in Krakow. Grospierre took photos of the different surfaces of the aviation museum and flattened them, creating a paper design to then be made into paper aeroplanes.

Visitors could make one. Here is mine. And he had some larger ones.


Friday, 21 January 2011

Prefab estate in Catford

Hi Rachel,

We went to see the Prefab Excalibur estate in Catford which was built by German and Italian prisoners of war. It has been in the news recently as it is under threat of being demolished by Lewisham council.

As with the estate at Thamesmead it was really interesting to see how the residents have adapted each place to make it into a individual and often quirky home. I also liked the tin roof prefab church designed as part of the estate.

There are 187 homes here. This is a photo from the 60's.


p.s. more images on flickr

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Form Alice and Joe Woodhouse

Hi Rachel,

Just seen Corrina Spencer's blog post about Form at Transition They are sister and brother who have worked very directly together on drawings.

Transition website: "Their work begins as a grid of blank paper onto which both of them in turn draw without conferring. After numerous edits and rearrangements the final result is achieved when both artists feel the work to be complete"

I'm interested in different possible models for collaboration and like the idea of a silent visual exchange.


Wednesday, 13 October 2010

A short tour during Oxford Open House weekend

Hi Suzy,
Oxford had a weekend of various buildings around the city being opened to the public (called open doors - a bit like open house in London) and so we spent a day visiting a few interesting places.

We started at Bartlemas Church - a short distance from our house, just off the Cowley Road. After going through a gate marked private (it is on land owned by Oriel College), we passed an old stone farmhouse, and came to the church which has a 16th century building next to it, the old leper hospital which has been re-built - the original was built in the 12th century, and the chapel was added in the 14th Century.

The gardens around the chapel are quite overgrown and it is hard to connect this peaceful spot, which feels rural as a cotswold hamlet, with the hubbub of the Cowley Road nearby. This spot would have felt quite remote from the rest of the city prior to the Victorian development of East Oxford - the way an area like Blackbird Leys, located outside the ring road, feels now.

I had to photograph the ceiling of the chapel - the bold colour works so well in the otherwise simple and undecorated space.

We visited New College, purely because Z had watched a TV programme about it a few days previously so we thought it would be nice for her to see it. I've included a pic of the cloisters as Jacobsen took this traditional form in collegiate architecture and brought it into the 20th century at St Catherine's college.

We had a guided tour of St Catherine's college. The lady who took us around was very knowledgeable about the building and told us all sorts of interesting anecdotes. It seems that the college are very serious about caring for the building and respecting the original design so it is one of the best preserved examples of Jacobsen's work. The interiors are still totally original, and they replace furniture like with like. The library was particularly impressive, with delicate spiral staircases, mezzanines overlooking the main space, and a reading area which feels cosy and intimate despite being in such a vast space because the light shades hover just over the circular tables.

The enormous concrete beams in the dining room were brought into Oxford pre-cast. The surface of the concrete is beautiful. It looks slightly mottled and is very smooth as it was cast in mahogany moulds. The way the beams extend slightly beyond the outside walls, surrounded by glass gives a sense of delicacy and lightness that contradicts the weight and solidity of the concrete. The pillars that support the beams go very deep into the ground (they are only half visible). I think this was because they were building on drained marshland/flood plain and are supporting so much weight.


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

a disused motorway under Friedrich Gerlach BrĂ¼che in Friedenau Berlin

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


Some images of the derilict Tempelhof airport that B and I went to last week. It has only been out of action since 2008, and is now a public space. Built in 1923. Although it has only been a couple of years it is already being over grown and interesting to imagine how it would be in 10 or 20 years. While we were there B played with some Kindergarten children. The teacher told me how her father had remembered it as fields he played in before the airport was built and now returning to that status. It is right in the city so polution and noise was a problem.

Hitler was a big fan of Tempelhof, and under Speer's direction the terminal was rebuilt in 1934. It was also the lifeline for Berlin, when the Soviets cut off all transport by water or land in 1948.

More images