Archive for the ‘Online Works’ Category

Online Salon: Maeve Brennan An Excavation

Wednesday 22 June 2022 | 3-4:30pm. All Welcome.

Book free tickets here

Join us to hear Maeve Brennan discuss the broader context and implications of her collaboration with forensic archaeologists Dr Christos Tsirogiannis and Dr Vinnie Norskov.

Register your attendance for free via eventbrite to receive a joining link on the day of the event.

A recording of the conversation between Maeve Brennan, Dr Christos Tsirogiannis and Dr Vinnie Norskov will be uploaded following the event.

Maeve Brennan An Excavation is a new body of work derived from Brennan’s long-term research project The Goods (2018–ongoing), carried out in collaboration with forensic archaeologist Dr Christos Tsirogiannis. Central to the exhibition is a major new film commission An Excavation (2022), documenting a forensic investigation into a crate of looted antiquities discovered at Geneva Freeport in 2014. The exhibition will also launch Illicit Antiquities Network, an ambitious digital project developed throughout Brennan’s Stanley Picker Fellowship.

Click here to watch a trailer for An Excavation (2022) by Maeve Brennan.

Maeve Brennan is an artist and filmmaker, based in London, appointed to the Stanley Picker Fellowships at Kingston University in 2019. Brennan is currently participating in British Art Show 9 and was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award 2021.

Onsite Event: Maeve Brennan in conversation with Elizabeth Price

Wednesday 29 June 2022 | 3-4:30pm. All Welcome.

Book free tickets here

Join us at Stanley Picker Gallery to hear Maeve Brennan in conversation about her current project and research-based practice with Kingston School of Art Professor Elizabeth Price.

Register your attendance for free via eventbrite.

A recording of the conversation between Maeve Brennan and Elizabeth Price will be uploaded following the event.

Maeve Brennan An Excavation is a new body of work derived from Brennan’s long-term research project The Goods (2018–ongoing), carried out in collaboration with forensic archaeologist Dr Christos Tsirogiannis. Central to the exhibition is a major new film commission An Excavation (2022), documenting a forensic investigation into a crate of looted antiquities discovered at Geneva Freeport in 2014. The exhibition will also launch Illicit Antiquities Network, an ambitious digital project developed throughout Brennan’s Stanley Picker Fellowship.

Click here to watch a trailer for An Excavation (2022) by Maeve Brennan.

Maeve Brennan is an artist and filmmaker, based in London, appointed to the Stanley Picker Fellowships at Kingston University in 2019. Brennan is currently participating in British Art Show 9 and was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award 2021.

Online Salon: Speculative Conversations Erika Tan in conversation with Kathleen Ditzig and Wenny Teo

Saturday 9 July 2022 | 1-3pm. All Welcome.

1pm (BST) Online Screening Barang-Barang: Spectral Entanglements

1.30pm (BST) Online Salon with Erika Tan, Kathleen Ditzig and Wenny Teo

Book free tickets here

Stanley Picker Gallery (Kingston University) and the Decolonising Art Institute (UAL) invite you to join us for the online premiere of Erika Tan’s Stanley Picker Fellowship commission Barang-Barang: Spectral Entanglements (2022) and the launch of the artist’s limited-edition publication Barang-Barang.

The online film screening will be followed by an unfolding speculative conversation between Erika Tan, National Gallery Singapore curator Kathleen Ditzig and art historian and writer Wenny Teo. Their conversation will focus on ideas of speculation in use as a form of methodology to unhinge and unsettle fixed notions of history and nation state boundaries, as well as to open up the possibilities of altering the status, resonance, value and interpretation of a work, or its reception.

The idea of a speculative encounter or entanglement runs central to the artist Erika Tan’s recent exhibition at the Stanley Picker Gallery, where four women artists (Georgette Chen (1906-1993), Kim Lim (1936-1997), Dora Gordine (1895-1991) and Erika’s mother, Fay Tan (1940-2005) are brought together in cinematic and imaginative space to ‘converse’. Interwoven into the project is the physical work of the artist’s mother’s estate and Tan’s own materials, artworks and ‘stuff’ or ‘barang’, which operates as a tool for thinking through and connecting sometimes the unexpected, forgotten, or invisible.

The conversation will also touch upon short texts each speaker has contributed to the associated publication and expand on these responses and ideas which meditate on art as ecology and family network’s histories and affinities as a feminist resistance of historical amnesia.

Register your attendance for free via eventbrite.

A recording of the conversation between Erika Tan, Kathleen Ditzig and Wenny Teo will be uploaded following the event.

Barang-Barang: Spectral Entanglements (2022) will be available to watch online for one week following the premiere. The Online Salon discussion will be available to watch on the Stanley Picker Gallery website and Decolonising Art Institute website from the end of July 2022.

Copies of the publication Barang-Barang (edition 50) are available directly through the Stanley Picker Gallery, priced incrementally from £15 to £75 as the edition is sold.

Kathleen Ditzig is based in Singapore and is a curator at the National Gallery Singapore and pursuing her Ph.D. at Nanyang Technological University. Her research interests include exhibitionary histories of Southeast Asia, global histories of capitalism and the enduring cultural legacies of the Cold War. She has presented Erika Tan’s work in recent curatorial projects such as Art Histories of a Forever War: Modernism between Space and Home (2021/2022) curated with Fang Tse Hsu at the Taipei Fine Art Museum and As The West Slept (2019), a Performa Consortium Project hosted and organised by Silver Art Projects in New York.

Wenny Teo is Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art at The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. Her research centres on layered histories of transnational encounter, geopolitics, ecology, infrastructure and speculative futures in Chinese and Sinophone visual cultures. She is currently preparing a monograph on the work of the Singapore-born British sculptor and printmaker Kim Lim (1936-1997), supported by a Paul Mellon Centre Mid-career Fellowship. Prior to joining faculty of the Courtauld, she worked in various curatorial positions at Tate Modern and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai. She has published essays and articles in numerous journals and catalogues, including Erika Tan’s Come cannibalise us why don’t you (2013) at the National University of Singapore Museum.

Erika Tan is an artist and curator whose research-led practice manifests in multiple formats including large installations, moving image, print, 3D works, publications, participatory and curatorial projects. Her research interests focus on the postcolonial and transnational, working with archival artefacts, exhibition histories, received narratives, contested heritage, subjugated voices and the transnational movement of ideas, people and objects. Tan was the Stanley Picker Fellow at Kingston University (2018) and is currently Reader of Contemporary Art Practice and MAFA Course Leader at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London, and an Associate Researcher with the Decolonising Art Institute, UAL in 2020-2022.

Dani Admiss

All day festival and teach-in: Friday 7 October, 12-8pm. All Welcome.

www.sunlightdoesntneedapipeline.com

Join us on Friday 7th October 12-8pm for the Sunlight Doesn’t Need a Pipeline community festival and teach-in featuring commissioned talks, performances, film screenings, refreshments and music, as well as a public vote where the community will decide on a decarbonisation plan for the Gallery.

Including contributions from Chanelle Adams, Elena Agudio, Amazoner Arawak, Apex Zero, Maxwell Ayamba, Araceli Camargo, Lauren Doughty, Hazel Falck, Ellie Harrison, Susannah Haslam, Sarah Mady, Lou-Atessa Marcellin, Samuel Onalo, Sean Roy Parker, Anne Pasek, Luiza Prado, Charles Pryor, Megha Ralapati, Oliver Ressler, Studio Hyte, Tatjana Söding, Shridhar Sudhir, Cecilia Wee, Heba ElSharkawy, The Grange, Writers’ Kingston, The Community Brain, Hogsmill Community Garden, Kingston’s Stylophone Orchestra, The NewBridge Project, The Networked Condition, Platform London, Kingston Stylophone Orchestra, Save the World Club and more!

Visit www.sunlightdoesntneedapipeline.com for full festival schedule and further events in October.

Sunlight Doesn’t Need a Pipeline is a collaborative literacy and climate justice project in search of transformative and regenerative repair. A coalition of art workers, agitators, dream weavers, growers and caregivers have co-created a holistic and ever-growing decarbonisation plan for the art sector and beyond.

Through collective study our coalition asks questions such as: How can intergenerational wealth help communities in the face of Climate Change? What would it mean if we took museums “to the orchards”? What configurations of life are possible after restitution? Is it possible to replace carbon literacy with love? Together we call for solutions to the climate crisis that not only reduce emissions but create a fairer and more just world in the process.

Read previous Sunlight Doesn’t Need a Pipeline Monthly Messages:

March
April
May
June
July 
August
September

Dani Admiss is a curator and researcher working across the fields of design, art, technology and science, and was appointed to the Stanley Picker Fellowships at Kingston University in 2020. Her approach is framed by world-making practices and community-based research prioritising these as lenses to explore alternative forms of curatorial practice.

Erika Tan

Online Salon: Speculative Conversations Erika Tan in conversation with Kathleen Ditzig & Wendy Teo
Saturday 9 July | 1-3pm

Online Premiere: Erika Tan Barang Barang: Spectral Entanglements (2022) 2-channel video 23 mins. Online 9-16 July 2022

Barang-Barang is a multi-faceted installation containing collected objects, materials and moving-image works produced over the course of Erika Tan’s Stanley Picker Fellowship. The project explores the value and relevance given to the material traces and afterlives of objects made, collected, discarded or valued by others, responding to local specificities, personal collections and historical connections that the artist encountered, from coconut coir mills in Kingston upon Thames to the speculative entanglements that she weaves between different events, places and people, including that of her mother Fay Tan.

Barang-Barang is a Malay word used colloquially in Singapore to mean ‘stuff’, ‘belongings’ or ‘freight’. In Khmer the word means ‘French’ and in Thai a similar sounding ‘farang’ is used for ‘stranger’, ‘foreigner’ or ‘white person’, but also to describe things that are imported. In the Cebuano language of the Philippines barang means ‘mythology’, ‘magic’ or ‘malignant sorcery’.

Whilst commencing her Fellowship research, Tan was immediately drawn to the history of the Stanley Picker Gallery’s physical location, on an island along the Hogsmill River that is the former site of an old water mill that once processed coconut coir for domestic and commercial use. For Tan the coconut itself provides a potent symbol of the diasporic experience, the history of its applications as a material and culinary ingredient representing an illustrative critique of global cultural exchange.

The exhibition focuses on the legacies of four female artists – Dora Gordine, Georgette Chen, Kim Lim and Fay Tan – who are brought together in filmic space to explore aspects of their lives. There is no evidence, as yet, that these women ever met, but Tan’s work imagines their possible conversations and interactions as artists and as women.

The main moving image work for the exhibition was filmed on location at Dorich House Museum, the former studio-home designed by Gordine herself in the 1930s. The house provides the setting for a speculative encounter between the four artists, who are brought together by Tan through what she describes as an “imagined constellation of celestial art historical references that stretch conventional understandings of time and space, geographical location and historical veracity”.

To accompany the Gallery exhibition, Tan has also intervened in the permanent collection displays at Dorich House Museum, requesting that Dora Gordine’s bronze heads of unidentified Asian subjects be turned to face away from visitors. At the Museum entrance a video of Gordine’s bust of Chia-Chu Chang (1925-26) sits across from Gordine’s own self-portrait (1930-32), the artist and her subject reconnected in a direct visual dialogue.

Barang-Barang continues Tan’s interest in ‘minor’ histories and a process of entanglement that the making of a work can foster. The project draws lines between disparate moments in time, individuals and geographical locations to find new positions and perspectives, not only through the specifics of these histories and individuals, but also the way in which we might understand larger or more known/received histories.

Barang-Barang was commissioned by the Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University and supported by the Stanley Picker Trust and Arts Council England. The project was previewed at Taipei Fine Arts Museum as part of Art Histories of a Forever War – Modernism Between Space and Home (Nov 21-Feb 22) in advance of its premiere at Stanley Picker Gallery accompanied by a display at Dorich House Museum, Kingston University. A limited-edition artist book is being produced to accompany the exhibition.

Erika Tan is an artist and curator whose work is primarily research-led and manifests itself in multiple formats such as moving image, publications, curatorial and participatory projects. Appointed to the Stanley Picker Fellowships at Kingston University in 2018, she is Course Leader of the MA in Fine Art, Reader in Contemporary Art Practice in Central Saint Martins and an Associate Researcher in the Decolonising Art Institute, UAL (London). Tan’s most recent research has focused on the postcolonial and transnational, working with archival artifacts, exhibition histories, received narratives, contested heritage, subjugated voices and the transnational movement of ideas, people and objects; her future projects point towards the digitization of collective cultural memory and cloud architecture through the prism of ruins, hauntings, and mnemonic collapse. Tan’s work has been exhibited, collected and commissioned internationally including: The Diaspora Pavilion (Venice Biennale 2017); Artist and Empire (Tate Touring, National Gallery Singapore 2016/7); Come Cannibalise Us, Why Don’t You (NUS Museum, Singapore 2014); There Is No Road (LABoral, Spain 2010); Thermocline of Art (ZKM, Germany 2007); Around The World in Eighty Days (South London Gallery / ICA 2007); The Singapore Biennale (2006); Cities on the Move (Hayward Gallery, London). Recent curatorial projects include Sonic Soundings/Venice Trajectories.

Thank you to everyone involved in helping to develop and stage the exhibition, including Sara, Ant & Charles at ADi, Aylish Browning, Maya Dew, David Falkner, Fiona Fisher, Lara Garcia, Anthony Lam, Guillermo (Will) Rodriguez Lopez, Jelena Luetzel, Faith McKie, Rebecca Moss, Sebastian Nissl, Gary Stewart, Alex Stillwell, Heidi Tan, Nathaniel Tan-Lam, Théo Welch-King, Tat Whalley and Saffron Yates.

Disclaimer: All representations of artists within the film work, whilst referencing factual materials such as oral histories, archival materials and interviews, are ultimately representations, mediated through personal and differently situated positions and interpretations. In this way, the works might be conceived of as fictional landscapes and constellations, as much about the artists’, performers’, and audiences’ desires, as they might reflect any specific lived experience.

Artist Biographies by Erika Tan:

Georgette Chen (Chang Li Ying) was born in 1906, some would say in Paris and others China. She trained in Paris and the United States and established herself in Paris as an artist before coming to Singapore via Hong Kong, China and Malaysia (1953-1993 Singapore). Now considered in Singapore as a Pioneer Artist, she was a fundamental part of the Nanyang Fine Art Academy and the Nanyang group and received a Cultural Medallion in 1982. Georgette is best known for her local portraits, local landscapes and baskets of fruit. Georgette also learnt to speak Malay and went by the name Chandana to her Malay artist friends.

Dora Gordine (1895-1991) was born in Latvia, which at that time was a province within the Russian Empire, of Jewish parents. Her exact date of birth she took care to keep secret and cultivated a mystique about her past. She grew up in Estonia where she trained as a sculptor and lived both in Paris (1924-1929) and Singapore (1930-1935) before settling in London in the 1930s. Her Chinese Head exhibited in Paris in 1926 received great reviews and she went on to become the first female artist commissioned to make work for the British government in Singapore. Gordine made a series of ‘Asian’ heads during her stay in Singapore, four of which are held in Parliament House Singapore and some of which are in Tate Britain (London) and said to be the Tate’s earliest ‘Southeast Asian’ works. Gordine relocated to London in the 1930’s where she married Richard Hare and built her studio home Dorich House in Kingston upon Thames.

Kim Lim, born 1936 Singapore. She spent a large part of her childhood actually in Malaysia and in 1954, at the age of 18, she went to London to study at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art. She remained in London for the rest of her life (1954-1997) and married acclaimed sculptor William Turnbull. She had two sons who have inherited both her and her husband’s artist estates which they now manage. In 2019, she is found to be the highest publicly collected female ‘Black’ artist in the UK. During her life she did have exhibitions in Singapore but collecting and celebration of her work in Singapore has been more posthumous.

Fay Tan (my mother) was born in 1940 in the UK. Whilst in London learning shop window display (1950’s), she met my father (Leong Seng) who had been sent to London to study after the Japanese occupation of Malaya. After Leongs return to Singapore, Fay emigrated to Singapore where she lived for over 40 years. Initially a self taught artist and ceramicist – she also attended Nanyang Fine Art Academy life drawing and painting classes in the 1970’s and later completed her B.A Degree in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, London. In 1987, we are both included in the same exhibition in the National Museum Singapore called Transformation Image: Contemporary Ceramics in Singapore.

Barang-Barang: Spectral Entanglements 2-channel video (2022) 23 minutes

Film Credits:

Eugenia Low as Georgette Chan
Lucia Tong as Kim Lim
Cathy McManamon as Dora Gordine
Emma Vansittart as Fay Tan

Editor: Lara Garcia
Sound Design: Gary Stewart
Colour Grading: Remi Stewart

Producer: Jelena Lützel
Director of Photography & Camera: Cristina Barillari
Camera: James Goodchild
Sound: Laurie Overton
Lighting: Ada Wesoloska
Costuming & Make-Up Design: Andria Kyriakidou, Imanuela Oh

Hair & Make-Up Artists: Daisy Adler, Mariam Conteh, Abbie Hutchings
Art Handler: Tat Whalley

White Garment Designers:
Moning Liu, Xirui Feng, Yizhou Zhang, Qianhuizi Chang, Lea Bauvais, Xiangqing Chen, Jiaxin Wu

With thanks to David Falkner, Fiona Fisher, Audrey Thomas Hayes, Rebecca Moss, Abbie Fletcher, Lauren Bell, Anthony Lam, Maria Piene, Richard Sorger Qinyi Lim, Joleen Loh, Julian Rodriguez and the Department of Film and Photography in Kingston School of Art.

Pamela Breda

Orders Of Signification 2021

“The Quintessence” is an artistic research project exploring the visual imaginary of outer space, and the con­struction of contemporary astrophysical knowledge from sky observation, in order to discover how images of space tell a story. Developed over three years, the research has led to the development of artworks in multimedia forms, including experimental films, photographs, site-specific installations, audio recordings and an artist’s book. The project has been supported by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Culture under the Italian Council Program, and promoted by Kingston University (UK), Fondazione Modena Arti Visive (IT), La Box/ENSA (F), Boghossian Foundation (BE). A related catalogue has been recently published by a+m bookstore (IT).


Moving forward from the traditional representation of the scientific world as a fixed domain of knowledge, the project presents the domain of astrophysics as an evolving system, which evades the fixity of truth-encompassing statements. Through crossovers and original methodologies of enquiry, visual representations of the universe are approached as complex narratives constructed through the combined agency of technological apparatus and human intervention.

Archival research on visual representations of outer space provides a contextual frame of reference, complemented by a series of theoretical discussions pinpointing the re­search. Audio-visual documentation generates a sensorial representation of highly se­cluded scientific laboratories usually not accessible to the general public, thus providing a first-hand impression that would not otherwise be accessible. A series of audio inter­views conducted with scientists provides an intimate portrait of astrophysicists’ unique background knowledge, ideas and creative intuitions.

The research tests how and to what effect artistic practice can generate new and origi­nal insights on the modalities through which astrophysics represents and narrates itself. The related artworks act as a series of experiments looking at subjects (outer space visual representations, research labs), agents (scientists, technological apparatus) and contexts (theoretical frameworks of reference) and demonstrate the tension between the visible and the invisible shaping the present development of cognitive-visual knowledge about outer space.


My research began at night, the first time I saw the milky rift of stars scattering through the sky. Since that moment, every time I look at the dark vault extending above the Earth, it is like the first time. All my observations blend into timeless pictures of that edge on view of our galaxy. My mind floods with a sea of images and I start wondering about the universe.

Ever since I was a child, I was astonished to think that every phenomenon existing in outer space reaches us through light travelling from incommensurable distances. While I was looking at the night sky, millions of light-years away things were happening. Plan­ets were rotating around their stars and galaxies formed in the darkest regions of empty space.

What is the universe? Is it the expanse between things? Is it emptiness, a vacant stage for our dramas? Is it a material substance? A vessel for our experiences? What is real and what is invented in what we know about the universe? Isn’t it real enough even if it exists only in the configuration of our thoughts?

Thousands of years ago ancient astronomers viewed the sun and the heavenly bodies as celestial gods. They carved tablets into visual tales of the living sun and its compan­ions, stars and planets. Now we view the universe through the scientific gaze and we have different explanations for what we see in the sky. But aren’t these narratives as well?

They say the universe is infinite, it hosts an infinite number of events, an infinite number of planets, maybe an infinite number of sentient beings on those planets. Surely there must be a planet so very nearly like the Earth as to be indistinguishable from it. I admire this infinity. It makes me want to pierce its surface and fall through to its core.

The universe is space. A three-dimensional space we live in and the time we watch pass on our clocks. It is our north and south, our east and west, our up and down, our past and our future. Space is a physical dimension waved through gravitational attraction. The stars, the sun and the weight of our own body all are brought into unison because they all have a gravitational attraction in common. Mass, like an electric charge, creates a field around it in the form of a curved space. Therefore space is a structure, warped in response to the presence of matter and energy, like paper curling in a flame.

Apples fall on the Earth by breaking loose from the pull of the tree, following the path of least resistance along with an invisibly curved space, until the surface of the planet interrupts their fall and forces them to stay still. Planets orbit the sun by following an elliptical path defined by their natural curve. Anybody and any mass takes the path of least resistance along a curved space. We all fall freely without a pull, along this natural, invisible, curve.

This is the space and time we are bound to. We cannot jump off it, or live outside of it. This is our universe, the vast extent of our curved space-time. People always ask: what’s outside the universe? The answer is nothing. There is no meaning to the question of where or when if there is no space or time. The Big Bang is the creation of time itself. There is no sense to the question: how long was it before the Big Bang happened? Time began with the Big Bang. There is no sense to the question: where did the Big Bang happen? It happened everywhere. The Earth is at the centre in a sense, every galaxy is at the cen­tre. The centre is everywhere and is becoming more diffuse as the universe continues to expand and cool.

The universe is inhabited by giant clusters of galaxies, each galaxy a conglomerate of a billion or a trillion stars. The milky way, our galaxy, has an unfathomably dense core of millions of stars. We stand on a small planet inside a huge cosmos. But we’re alive and we’re sentient. Many centuries ago we began to observe the sky and wonder about its secrets. We built instruments to look into the depth of the unknown, we sent telescopes orbiting around the Earth and we captured the signal of the cosmic background radia­tion, bearing information about a time before organic life.

Due to technical constraints, we cannot see infinitely far out into space. We can only see as far as light has travelled since the beginning of the universe. While we try to determine the nature of our ultimate end, we slowly decipher our common beginnings. Gravity, matter and energy are all different expressions of the same thing. We’re all intrinsically made of the same substance. The fabric of the universe is just a coherent weave from the same threads that make our bodies. Our bodies are mostly water. Water is mostly empty space. So, by extension, we are space, we are the universe.

This text is an extract from a performative talk presented for the first time at Harvard University, Faculty of Astrophysics, in autumn 2019. The text takes inspirations and some quoted passages from Janna Levin’s How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space, Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press, 2002


The Quintessence – Film

The film explores the production of scientific knowledge through the director’s visit to secluded research centres in Europe and the USA. The title refers to the classic physical description of the universe, which included the presence of a fifth essence or fifth element (in addition to water, air, fire and earth), mysterious but omnipresent, which holds all the others together. Through a three-year journey, the director visited a number of laboratories studying the fundamental laws of the universe, from the microcosm of quantum physics to the macrocosm of the multiverse.

In these research centres, knowledge is developed at scales and distances beyond human perception. But what does it actually means to study the universe? Through a series of intimate dialogue with scientists and a detailed visual analysis of experiments and events taking place inside the lab, the director draws an original picture of scientific research, considering how individual background, cultural frameworks and technological constraints play a key role in the elaboration of scientific theories about the universe and its visual representations.

Heavenly Bodies – Collages

70 x 100 cm each

A series of collages produced with images collected from online and physical libraries, archives, star atlases and scientific publications. The images represent space objects such as stars and galaxies, planets and constellations, superno­vae explosions and black holes – along with telescopes and optical instruments used to observe and study the universe.

Clashing visual combinations bring together old and new practices of sky obser­vation. Shots of scientists and engineers calibrating instruments and conducting high precision experiments are combined with images of ancient rites evoking the cosmic drama of gods and goddesses dominating the Heavens and deciding the fate of humans on Earth. This combination stresses how throughout the centuries humanity has looked at the sky in different ways, generating unique stories and explanations for the phenomena observed in outer space.

Into The Night – Photographic Series

4 lightboxes

70 x 120 cm each

A series of collages produced with images collected from online and physical libraries, archives, star atlases and scientific publications. The images represent space objects such as stars and galaxies, planets and constellations, superno­vae explosions and black holes – along with telescopes and optical instruments used to observe and study the universe.

This artistic process highlights how the knowledge we possess about the univer­se is multilayered, constructed on the observations and theories proposed throu­ghout the centuries by different human cultures. Very much as an archaeological excavation, these artworks bring to light multiple representations of outer space as historical strata sedimented through time.

Mounted on lightboxes, these large-dimension prints act as a charged surface, enabling universal light travelling through space to be re-activated by man-made light. Photons originated from nuclear reactions are captured on photographic glass plates and brought to life by the lightboxes’ tungsten bulbs. whose chemical components are also originated in the dense and hot core of stars. In a neveren­ding circle, starlight generates new light, which spreads images of outer space back to the universe where they came from.

To The Wonder – Photographic Series

10 photographic lambda prints

White wooden frame

50 x 70 cm each

The photographs are reproductions of archival images from Apollo official photo­graphic records. Most notorious among other space exploration programs, Published by NASA on the image-sharing platform Flickr/The Commons, pictures of amazing moon landscapes, details of the space rocket interior and breathtaking vistas of Earth seen from space are combined with photographs presenting er­rors or glitches such as hues, haloes and dots.

From a conceptual point of view, rather than being successful records of the Apollo mission, they stand as me­taphors of how errors can become triggers for new approaches to scientific re­search. Their visual quality resembles that of avant-garde artworks from the early 20th century and contemporary glitch art experiments. These images generate a critical di­scourse on how scientific knowledge is constructed through trials and errors. Fai­lures and mistakes in scientific experiments can lead the way to serendipitous discoveries, as the technical malfunction of the photographic apparatus leads to the development of these aesthetically charged images.

To The Wonder – Video

Found footage

7’42”, 16:9, silent, loop

A silent experimental film presenting archival footage of multiple American and Soviet failed unmanned rocket launches. The archival footage used for this pie­ce has not been widely circulated in the mainstream media and was discovered through detailed online research, after multiple and unsuccessful attempts to contact NASA space agency enquiring about its film archive.

There is no clear information about the loca­tion or date of the documented explosions, however, from the certain aesthetic quality, we can infer the footage was recorded between the 1950s and 1990s. No voice­over or off-screen commentary describes the images or tells a story, leaving the viewers to find their own interpretation for what they are looking at.

The footage’s elusive nature generates a reflection on how trials and mistakes are pivotal for the development of scientific research shaped through the monu­mental human effort to bring mankind a little closer to the stars.

The Horizon Behind Us – Video

2020, video FullHD

16’40”, 16:9, stereo, loop

The short film is structured as a fictional meditation on a possible future when artificial intelligence software will have full control of sky observation, data collection and analysis. As a consequence, man-led laboratories will be abandoned. Questioning the possi­ble future development of space exploration, the film analyses the ultimate phi­losophical and ethical implications of human exploration of the cosmos.

While the slow-panning camera wanders around silent rooms hosting telescopes, mechanical tools and optical instruments, an anonymous voice describes how the millennial tradition of sky observation has evolved through the centuries and why it was always important for mankind to wonder about the mysteries of the universe.

The visual focus on observational tools and mechanical instruments suggests how contemporary astrophysicists act as ancient alchemists, capturing the li­ght coming from distant stars and transforming it into a different matter, in order to give it new form and meaning. The camera movements are extremely slow, evoking the long, durational processes involved in sky observation and the huge temporal scales at which universal phenomena unfold.

Pamela Breda is an artist and filmmaker living between London and Venice. She holds a MA in Art History from Ca’ Foscari (Venice, IT), and a MA in Visual Arts from IUAV University (IT). She recently completed a PhD in Visual Arts from Kingston University (UK), where she developed the artistic research presented in this online exhibition.

She was the recipient of several art awards and fellowships, including Cantica21 (MibaC, IT), IMeRa Fellowship (F), Italian Council Award (MibaC, IT), Kingston University Phd Scholarship (Kingston, UK), Moving’Up funding scheme (Turin, IT), Italian Institute of Culture (Moscow, RU). In 2019 she was appointed Fellow Artist in Residence at Pratt Institute (New York, USA).

Her films have been screened internationally and presented at festivals and art venues such as Sheffield DocFest (Sheffield, UK), “ECRA Film Festival” (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), “Revolutions Per Minute Festival” (Boston, USA), “Digital Film Library”, Clermont- Ferrand Film Festival (Clermont-Ferrand, F), Cite Internatinale Des Arts, (Paris, F), “Vision Du Reel” Film Festival, Media Library (Nyon, CH), “Hazel Eye Film Festival” (Tennesse, USA), “The Bomb Art Factory Film Festival” (London, UK), Sohonya Art Center (Bangalore, I), Francesco Fabbri Foundation for Contemporary Art (Pieve di Soligo, IT), Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation (Venice, IT).

She has received many scholarships and fellowships from institutions such as Kingston School of Art (UK), the Italian Cultural Institute of Moscow (RU), Cantica21 (IT), Simultan Prize (RO), Premio Fotografia IED (IT), Coffee Flash Art award – Querini Stampalia Foundation (IT) lo Stonefly Art Prize (IT). She recently presented her work internationally, in particular in the UK, Austria, Estonia, France, Colombia and Switzerland.

In 2019 she received the prestigious Italian Council award granted by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism. The project “The Quintessence” was awarded the prestigious Project Anywhere prize and will be featured in a series of international exhibitions and screenings.

Ben Judd

Ben Judd’s Stanley Picker Fellowship project The Origin reflects on Britain’s island status, both literal and metaphorical, and how islands shape the communities that live there. The Stanley Picker Gallery sits on an island in the Hogsmill River and Kingston Upon Thames historically existed as an island surrounded by marshland. The nearby River Thames is home to many islands and also boats – floating communities.

The Origin brings together the communities surrounding the Stanley Picker Gallery – from Kingston University students and academics to local networks, charities and residents – and asks them to imagine a classless, stateless, humane society based on common ownership. A temporary community, an experiment in living, a fictional island group. How would this community interact? What would they move, sound and dress like? How would they communicate with the outside world?

Imagining this temporary community felt particularly poignant in the divisive political landscape that the project was first developed in. However, The Origin took on greater significance in 2020 when most people were thrust into social isolation and interactions migrated online. Hope, love, solidarity, care and support are all values central to this temporary community’s identity – but have also manifested in the community spirit of our own islands over the last year.  

Through a series of workshops and conversations, participants have been collaborating with Judd to define different aspects of this imagined, temporary community. A first iteration of the project #TheOriginKingston took place online during the first national lockdown – browse their online dialogue here or search for the hashtag #TheOriginKingston on social media. This collaborative project culminates this summer with an installation at the Gallery, a boat on the River Thames and a series of performances, workshops and events – a rehearsal for an alternative future.

A large free-standing structure in Stanley Picker Gallery, built by 121 Collective and Architecture at Kingston School of Art (KSA), will act as a focal point for the community, both imagined and real. The structure will contain objects and images related to the project that are used to substantiate the community’s existence and sketch out its history and aspirations.

A boat will travel along the River Thames in Kingston facilitating meetings, workshops and performances throughout June and July 2021. Informed by discussions with Canbury and Riverside Association, an architectural intervention designed by Interior Design (KSA) and 121 Collective will be fixed to the boat adapting to the needs and aspirations of local people.

Further collaborations include: new instrumental and choral music produced by Refugee Action Kingston and Music (KSA); a choreographic sequence developed by The Grange and Dance (KSA), incorporating elements of the sign language known as Makaton; texts and poetic responses by The Bradbury and Writers’ Centre Kingston that consider the elemental force, locality, and history of the Thames; and adaptable, transformable clothing designed by The Gate and KSA Fashion as costumes for the inhabitants of the boat.

The Origin Events Programme

As part of The Origin, a series of workshops, performances, talks and tours took place at Stanley Picker Gallery, a boat moored in Kingston Upon Thames and online throughout June and July 2021. Watch a selection of highlights from these events:

Gallery: 10 June Collaboration between KSA Fashion & The Gate

Gallery: 11 June 11am-1pm Creative Writing Workshop by Jim Dunk

Online: 11 June 3.30pm Performance by Writers’ Kingston

Gallery: 11 June 4pm Walking Tour by Writers’ Kingston

Gallery: 12 June 2-3.30pm The Origin Performance

Boat: 17 June 3pm Creative Writing Workshop by Jim Dunk

Boat: 18 June 11am Talk & Workshop by Aoife Donnelly

Boat: 18 June Collaboration between KSA Dance & The Grange

Gallery: 18 June 2pm Talk by 121 Collective

Gallery: 18 June 3pm Talk by Robin Hutchinson, The Community Brain

Boat: 19 June 11am Talk by Elliot Newton

Online: 19 June 12pm Talk by Dani Admiss

Boat: 19 June 1pm Murky Waters Tour

Boat: 19 June 2-5pm KSA Museum & Gallery Studies: Murky Waters Exhibition

Online: 24 June 2pm Talk by Anna Wendy Stevenson

Online: 24 June 2.30pm Chloe Steele: Bann nam Baghasdal Film Screening & Gaelic Singing Workshop

Online: 24 June 3.30pm UHI Land of Our Kin Film Screening

Boat: 25 June 3pm Creative Writing Workshop by Jim Dunk

Boat: 26 June 11am-5pm Eel Pie Island & Museum Tour

Gallery: 26 June 2.30-5pm British Sign Language Tour

Boat: 1 July 11.30am-1pm Art Class

Boat: 1 July 1-3pm Lockdown Creativity on Display (no booking required)

Boat: 1 July 3-4pm Live Music from The Kingston Academy (no booking required)

Boat: 1 July 4-5pm Riverside Design Competition & Winners Announced (no booking required)

Boat: 1 July 5-7pm Live Music (no booking required)

Online: 2 July 2pm Talk by Author, Caitlin Davies

Gallery & Boat: 2 July Collaboration between Maria Celina Val & United Response

Boat: 2 July 4pm Sustainable Design Talk

Boat: 3 July 2pm Time Shivers Performance by KSA Drama (no booking required)

Follow @theoriginkingston on social media for the latest updates!

This project is managed with the support of students from Project Management for Creative Industries (KSA) with graphic design by Louis Polin and Jasmine Kelly.

The project is supported by Leeds Beckett University and Nottingham Trent University. The boat is supported with Art Fund’s Small Project Grants and Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants.

Ben Judd

Ben Judd is an artist based in London appointed Stanley Picker Fellow in Art & Design in 2019. His work examines collectivity and participation through performance, moving image and installation, enabling different forms of communities to be explored in relation to site and context. He often works with collaborators as a method to develop self-reflexive folk histories and construct temporary communities. Judd has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad, recently including ICA, Art Night London, Whitstable Biennale and Victoria Gallery & Museum, University of Liverpool.

The Decorators

Launch Event: Wednesday 17 November 6-8pm / All Welcome

For their Stanley Picker Fellowship commission Portal Tables, The Decorators take the idea of commensality – the social practice of eating together – and extend it beyond the human to include microbial communities.

Domestic food fermentation gained momentum during the periods of social-isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people sharing home-made recipes through social media. Bacterial communities, such as those nurtured in food fermentation, actively participate in human digestion. It is believed that bacteria produce joy in the human body through the release of hormones like Dopamine and Serotonin, perhaps serving as a substitute for the social joy of IRL (In-Real-Life) human interaction.

In parallel, a growing area of research has been exploring how bacterial communities digest xenobiotic materials, synthetic and foreign to animal life. It was found that different species of bacteria eat plastic, including Pseudomonas Putida and Ideonella Sakaiensis.  These findings distort the structure of commensality as we know it and open-up ethical questions regarding the use of bacterial life as a solution for human happiness or pollution.   

Portal Tables is a set of three polyurethane inflatable furniture pieces that encourage affect between microbial and human communitiesThe pieces are designed to be flatpack, easy to wash and used anywhere within the home or outside. Portal Tables comments upon the contemporary obsession with microbial life, probiotics and wellbeing, and speculates on the possible relations and social encounters – political, tender, economic, friendly – across bodies and species.

Kimchi-Pool (2021) seats up to twelve people around a large vessel as they collectively make Kimchi – fermented cabbage and radish napa with various seasonings – a staple of Korean cuisine. Users may choose to seat, kneel or lean, negotiating their bodily position and weight around the bouncing materiality of the Kimchi-Pool. The largest Korean community in Europe lives near to the Stanley Picker Gallery in New Malden, within the Royal Borough of Kingston.

Cheese-Board (2021) has been designed for one person to make Labneh, a type of soft cheese traditionally made in Lebanon. A person can kneel at the edge of the table and use it as a working surface. Then lay down on the top of it, while waiting through the fermentation process. 

Sofa-Bread (2021) sits two people.  It invites a diversity of postures – feet up or down, upright or laying down. The two ceramic bowls are for bread dough to be proved whilst users rest together with it on the sofa. 

On the walls of the gallery are two diagrams. The first is anthropologist Susanne Kerner’s diagram of commensality, outlining different levels of food sharing, evolving from one body – such as in-utero feeding, where food is shared between mother and foetus – to many bodies, from siblings to strangers, banquets to food banks. The second diagram distorts the first, shifting the gaze to the inside of the human body, thus considering the microbial communities involved in commensality.  

The two short films for the exhibition are directed in collaboration with Sergio Márquez, with graphics and motion design by Stephen McLaughlin, and original soundtrack by Maxwell Sterling. In the second of these films (below) Kimchi-Pool was activated by a group of regular participants of the yearly Kimjang Project, led by Justina Jang, festival director of the Kingston Korea Festival, Cheese-Board was activated by Inês Neto dos Santos and Sofa-Bread was activated with the performance Resting (2021) by Laura Wilson, performed by Elina Akhmetova and Piedad Seiquer with costumes by Lucie Kordacova. These live activations were filmed at the Picker House, Kingston upon Thames.

The Decorators is an interdisciplinary design collective founded by Suzanne O’Connell, Carolina Caicedo, Xavier Llarch Font and Mariana Pestana in 2011, and appointed to the Stanley Picker Fellowships at Kingston University in 2018. With backgrounds in landscape architecture, design, curation and psychology, they work on spatial design projects that aim to reconnect the physical elements of a place with its social dimension and expand notions of community. 

Portal Tables was launched online in May 2021 with the video-essay Portal Tables: Connecting Multiscalar Communities. A preview of the project was displayed at the Victoria & Albert Museum for London Design Festival (18-26 September 2021) with the furniture piece Sofa-Bread, before the project received its full premiere at the Stanley Picker Gallery in November 2021.

Edition: A special digital print-on-demand edition accompanying Portal Tables is available for sale individually (£20 each) or as a set of 6 (£100). Available exclusively through the Stanley Picker Gallery, proceeds from the sale of our editions and publications support our public programme and keeps the Gallery free for all visitors. Please contact us for details.

Thank you to everyone involved in the project, to the Stanley Picker Trust, Arts Council England, Victoria & Albert Museum/London Design Festival, ITI/Larsys (Instituto Superior Técnico) and the Kingston Korea Festival.

Online Salon III: Oreet Ashery, Nadia Hebson & Judy Rabinowitz Price

Thursday 18 March 2021

Join us to hear Oreet Ashery, Nadia Hebson and Judy Rabinowitz Price in conversation with each other, for the third in our series of Online Salons to facilitate exchange and dialogue between the creative community around the Gallery. Each of the three artists has created significant bodies of work over recent years that have (re)considered the lives and work of other women artists.

Oreet Ashery is a former Stanley Picker Fellow whose award-winning web series Revisiting Genesis premiered at her Fellowship exhibition in 2016. Nadia Hebson is an artist based in Stockholm, who over the past year has been the Dorich House Museum Studio Resident remotely, and recently published her contribution to Dora: Dialogue’s on Women’s Creative Practice and ThinkingJudy Rabinowitz Price‘s recent exhibition at the Gallery The End of the Sentence presented her research on Holloway Women’s Prison.

The first two Online Salons featuring Larry Achiampong, Maeve Brennan & Erika Tan and Dani Admiss, Ben Judd & The Decorators are now available to watch in full online.

Online Salon II: Dani Admiss, The Decorators & Ben Judd

Thursday 17 December 2020

The Stanley Picker Gallery is delighted to host the second of its new series of Online Salons to facilitate exchange and dialogue between the creative community around the Gallery.

With COVID-19 changing how we operate as a cultural venue, our digital platforms have become ever more vital as ways of engaging with each other and with our audiences. We hope these gatherings will enhance our role as an “expanded studio”, where creative work is shared during its production, by inviting practitioners to gather online to share their working practice in an informal manner.

The second Online Salon features three of our current of Stanley Picker Fellows Dani AdmissThe Decorators and Ben Judd. They will be in conversation with each other about their Fellowship projects which are all collaborative in nature, draw on the Gallery’s locality in Kingston Upon Thames, and engage with our local community in different ways. Each project is at a different stage of development, so this will also be an opportunity for them to reflect and discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on their practices.

Dani Admiss is a curator and researcher working across the fields of design, art, technology and science. Her approach is framed by world-making practices and community-based research prioritising these as lenses to explore alternative forms of curatorial practice. Admiss has curated projects across the UK, Europe and internationally including at the Barbican Centre, Somerset House, MAAT, Lisbon and Lisbon Architecture Triennale.

The Decorators is an interdisciplinary design collective founded by Suzanne O’Connell, Carolina Caicedo, Xavi Llarch Font and Mariana Pestana in 2011. With backgrounds in landscape architecture, spatial design, curation and psychology, they work on spatial design projects that aim to reconnect the physical elements of a place with its social dimension.

Ben Judd is an artist based in London. His work examines collectivity and participation through performance, moving image and installation, enabling different forms of communities to be explored in relation to site and context. He often works with collaborators as a method to develop self-reflexive folk histories and construct temporary communities. Judd has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad, recently including ICA, Art Night London, Whitstable Biennale and Victoria Gallery & Museum, University of Liverpool.