Monday, September 08, 2014
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Benjamin Bridges, Matthew Cowan, Annabel Dover, Debbie Lawson, Cathy Lomax, William Morris, Laura Oldfield Ford, Alex Pearl, Alli Sharma, Mimei Thompson, Mark Titchner, Joel Tomlin
Alex Pearl, Bungalow, found photograph with transfer, 2014
Kelmscott House, 26 Upper Mall, Hammersmith W6 9TA
8 June – 26 July 2014
Private View: Thursday 12 June, 5-9pm
Opening Hours: 8-15 June open daily 2-5pm for ArtsFest, then Thurs and Sat afternoons 2-5pm until 26 July
‘… if others can see it as I have seen it, then it may be called a vision rather than a dream.’ William Morris
News from Nowhere takes its title from William Morris’ utopian novel and vision for a future free from capitalism, alienation and industrialisation. In our current climate of political uncertainty, ‘disappearance’ of the working classes and shifting populations, Morris’ longings for a better world seem more pertinent than ever. Morris became increasingly involved in political activism and founded the Hammersmith Socialist Society, which held Sunday evening lecturers in the Coach House at Kelmscott House, Hammersmith. The location is directly referred to in News from Nowhere and the exhibition will take place in the historic meeting room. Morris also set up carpet looms in the Coach House before moving to Merton Abbey in 1881 and the small rugs and carpets made here are known as Hammersmith rugs.
Morris’s uncompromising desire to see an end to mass production and return to small-scale local production seems like a very modern view. His socialism was imbued with environmentalism and understanding of the brutalising nature of the modern city. Whilst his idealised vision may be flawed (in the novel the women do all the housework, bring up the children and serve the men with food), his passion is inspiring and the exhibition will bring into focus his vital message, to dare to dream. Incorporating works from the William Morris Society collection, News from Nowhere picks up the dialogue where ideas about the environment, idealised society, personal longings and dreams for the future continue to yearn, seethe, simmer and provoke.
Monday, May 12, 2014
Blondin at the Falls is part of a series of works recreating exploits of daring and spectacular escape. Often I have found that postcards commemorating such events have already been produced and occasionally, like mine, a degree of fakery has gone into their making.
Blondin first tightroped across Niagara in 1859 cooking an omelette and lowering it to be eaten by the passengers on the Maid of the Mist below. Like so many adventurers there is often a sort of mundanity to their exploits to which I am attracted.
My father collects and deals in postcards. He thinks he has about 60,000, my mother says its closer to 100,000. He is not too keen on people knowing this. Shelves of archive boxes edge his study, each filled with scenes of: grim northern towns, famous stars of stage and screen, and dubious humorous sketches. I act like a gleaner picking up the doubles, the damaged and the not so valuable. Often I phone up, asking for airliners of the 1970s, cliff-top hotels or street scenes in Barnsley into which I insinuate a meteorite, a bowling ball, a sub-Cretaceous explosion. Blondin, the blonde 'boy wonder' survived threats of prison, travelled with Barnum and Bailey and died of diabetes in Niagara House; a simple terrace in Ealing.
As well as Niagara, Blondin also performed his act at Edgbaston Reservoir.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I remember reading, or being told, that as we stare into space we are looking into the past, that the light reaching us is centuries old. I had something of this feeling when reviewing my grandfather’s footage. I also recalled images from Star Trek in which the Enterprise would encounter Earth’s past through a viewscreen. I am almost certain that this happened on more than one occasion.
I decided to project the images from my father’s past onto polystyrene spheres creating new planets or perhaps images reminiscent of the opening scenes of Flash Gordon in which Ming the Merciless targets earth for eventual destruction. Or perhaps I was remembering the camera obscura from A Matter of Life and Death, 1946. Both these images and the many more circular viewscreens of science fiction create a feeling of separation from their imagery.
|Alex Pearl, Earth, Digital video, 2013|
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Apropos of nothing, I have long been thinking of making a short film about the hair that regularly sprouts from my nose. In the end I decided to make it in the form of a gif. Things are going roughly to plan for Mothra vs. Gozilla though I have only just learned the lesson (at least where projectors and media players are concerned) that it is foolish to throw good money after bad.