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Down Stairs

Exhibition Detail
Tainted Love
Curated by: CORINNA SPENCER
Great Brampton House
Madley, Herefordshire HR2 9NA
United Kingdom


September 29th, 2012 - November 18th, 2012
Opening: 
September 29th, 2012 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
 
Tainted Love, Tainted Love
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Friday-Sunday 10-5pm or by appointment
TAGS:  
photography, digital, installation, video-art, performance, conceptual, abstract, sculpture
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> DESCRIPTION

You are an obsession, you’re my obsession…

For those who do not share it, unconditional devotion is seen as unhealthy and unsettling, typically loaded with negative stereotypes and labels of deviancy. But to the devotee, their chosen idol, however undeserving, is at the centre of the world, skirting between reality and fantasy.

While aficionados of high culture are seen to have tastes and preferences, their rowdy popular culture counterparts are deemed fanatics, expressing excess emotion and passion. The dividing line involves issues of status and class where reason is pitched against emotion, and the objective apprehending of reality against the subjective, imaginative and irrational fantasies. However, fantasies are one way humans have to negotiate troubling situations. Fantasy occupies a central place in the project of analysis undertaken by Freud and bridges the gap that is created when desire is prohibited, but the longing for full satisfaction is still there. Fantasies allow us to close the distance between what we need or want, and what we can have, throwing open questions of identity and the self.

Tainted Love is a day-dreamingly, dark installation questioning what it means to desire, cherish, seek, long, admire, envy, celebrate, protect or destroy. These desires for desire inform aspects of how we make sense of the world, in relation to mass media, and in relation to our historical, social and cultural locations to create meaning in our everyday lives where the traditional bonds of race, religion and ethnicity are increasingly diminished and where fantasy functions as an empty surface for the projection of our desires. The exhibition ranges from simple groups of paintings to more elaborate devotional structures, each dedicated to what Proust claimed was 'the only successful (sustainable) love’, unrequited. From cabinets of transgression to intimate shrines the Tainted Love artists attempt to come closer to an object of desire, that eludes our grasp, no matter what we do to attain it.

Participating Artists:

Alice Anderson
Alice Anderson's work for Tainted Love follows a series started at the Freud Museum in London last spring. Taking the act of remembering as a creative process where memory constantly changes Anderson re-staged childhood ritual culminating with binding-up grids and the entire master’s house with dolls’ hair and threads.

Here Anderson is binding up personal objects from her studio with copper thread. These objects are woven in a liberating act. Tightened with threads, objects are set free from their primary utility and are reveal new shapes provoking a tension between the figurative and the abstract.

Born and based in London, Anderson grew up in Algeria and France. She studied with Christian Boltanski at Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and completed an MA Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2004. Recently her work has been shown at Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Nichido Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Busan Biennale, South Korea; Fondation Cartier, Paris; The Kunsthalle Dusseldorf, Germany and Tate Liverpool, Liverpool.

Kirsty Buchanan
Kirsty Buchanan's work constructs quiet and fragile narratives in carefully composed environments incorporating drawing, film and performance. Linking each of these components is a connection to the notion of shame and the internalised gaze of society. For Tainted Love she has returned to the private rituals and absorbing moments of her teenage self, 'where you imagine what he's doing now, recreating imaginary and impossible scenarios, the physical makeup of his face, his cell structures, his strong arms'. She says that, 'a victim of desire has a soul which is in motion. The misery and thrill of wanting, the flux of unfulfilled desires is more significant than a state of having desire satisfied.

Kirsty Buchanan studied at Central St Martin's College of Art and lives and works in London. Previous exhibitions include Strip, Transition Gallery at Sluice Art Fair, London; LONDON / BERLIN Anschlüssel, Fruehsorge Contemporary Drawings, Berlin and London; One night stand, Thistle Hotel, Middlesbrough; Mock Tudor, Transition Gallery (offsite) London.

Annabel Dover
Annabel Dover's Tainted Love hero is Anna Atkins, a Victorian botanist and devoted daughter of the scientist J.G. Children. Atkins made over 200 drawings for her fathers translation of Lamarck's Genera of Shells and went on to use the Cyanotype method she had learnt from royal astronomer Thomas Herschel to document the flora of her native Kent. Unfortunately Atkins work like that of so many Victorian women was undervalued in favour of a male relative. Atkins' albums of cyanotypes are charming, illogical and poetic, yet she is remembered as an assistant scientist rather than an artist. For Tainted Love Dover has painted images from Roger Phillips Wild Flowers of Britain (1977), which sought to rekindle the botanical zealotry of Victorian naturalists. The paintings capture the domestic and amateur look of the photographs; some of the plants look half dead and picked and are displayed in an illogical and unscientific way.

Annabel Dover studied at Central St Martins College of Art, London and lives and works in Ipswich. Previous exhibitions include National Velvet Transition Gallery, London; The Island of True Stories, Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter; Lux, Rosy Wilde, London; Trace & Nostalgia, Persimmon Gallery, Los Angeles, USA.

Georgie Flood
Georgie Flood says about her work that it is 'her heart singing of the dark, moist, animal absurdity of sex; the joy, the clichés, the utter wonderment of love; and the intoxicating horror of violence'. For Tainted Love Flood has embraced the idea of creating a shrine including sculpture, painting and delicate fabric images telling of love and hinting at the fragility of the unknown and allure of the forbidden.

Georgie Flood studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London and lives and works in London. Previous exhibitions include The Perfect Nude, curated by Phillip Allen & Dan Coombs, The Space, Wimbledon College of Art, London; Crash Open, Charlie Dutton Gallery, London; Water, Woburn Research Centre, London.

Andrea Hannon
Andrea Hannon returns to Roland Barthes to explore the potential and pitfalls of the language of love itself for Tainted Love. Interrogating and exploring the discourse of, what Barthes calls, the ‘amorous’ relationship.  Here Hannon has created an installation combining books, objects, and images made by cutting, slicing, binding and fixing. And in doing Hannon offers a response to the journey we all take - in and out of love.

Andrea Hannon is currently undertaking a PhD by practice at Coventry School of Art whilst she lives and works in Coventry. Previous exhibitions include The Piracy Project, Byam Shaw School of Art, London; She Said, The Outside World Gallery, London; Bodies on the Edge, Artspace, Coventry.

Paul Kindersley
Paul Kindersley's work is situated in the spaces created between viewer and film. Exploring and blurring the boundaries between fantasy and reality, the personal and the public, suggesting a fluid involvement with mythologized film experience. Kindersley’s Tainted Love installation resembles a Google image search for that one desired photograph of the object of his affection. Playing with an individual, amateur interaction with constructed glamour, celebrity, icon and stereotype and creating an uneasy reversing of the fan/artist positions, so it is no longer clear or important where lines are drawn. A liminal place of borderline existence, anchored in a shared pop culture reality. Kindersley utilises everyday cultural encounters as a storehouse of props with which to populate a reality that is striving to make sense of the everyday.

Paul Kindersley studied at Chelsea College of Art and lives and works in London. Previous exhibitions include Everything - Jack SmithGroup Show, ICA, London; LONDON / BERLIN Anschlüssel, Fruehsorge Contemporary Drawings, Berlin & London; TVOD, Transition Gallery, London.

Hayley Lock
Hayley Lock has looked closely at the intriguing relationship, both real and imagined, of the occultist Aleister Crowley and his vixen Leila Ida Nerissa Bathurst Waddell, whom he branded between the breasts with the mark of the beast and affectionately called Laylah. Lock’s work looks at notions of obsessive love through ritualistic and imaginative belief systems citing known Crowley quotations with symbols of re-creation and violence. Recognising Stendhal’s theory of crystallization as a journey of romantic love, Lock uses the relationship of Crowley and Laylah. To reiterate that falling in love can be deemed a form of mental illness containing irrational thoughts, obsessive behaviour and sickness.

Hayley Lock studied at Goldsmiths College of Art, London, and she lives and works in Suffolk. Previous exhibitions include (Now that would be) TellingatTransition Gallery, London; Ickworth House, Suffolk; Brantwood House, Cumbria; Dr Johnsons House, London; and A La Ronde, Devon.

Cathy Lomax
The Sixteen Most Beautiful Men (in profile), is an investigation into screen desire featuring portraits of male film stars from early cinema to today. The portraits are painted from images culled from Lomax's extensive collection of film stills and are methodically organised according to the placement of the star's face in an almost ethnological way. They are accompanied by The Sixteen Most Beautiful Men (in profile) Tranzine. This very personal look at unobtainable desire and the problematic area of male beauty is inspired by Andy Warhol's Screen Tests, Milanese Renaissance portraiture and most importantly the lingering gaze of the cinematic close-up.

Cathy Lomax studied at Central St Martins College of Art and lives and works in London. Her previous exhibitions include Face to Face, Galerie d'YS, Brussels; The Secret of England's Greatness, Hanger 7, Salzburg and The Jerwood Drawing Prize 2010.

Alli Sharma
Alli Sharma examines her own cultural identity with a new series of paintings based on the record sleeves of her adolescence. The Smiths represented an important alternative, independent band in 1980s Britain, developing loyal fans and cult status. Morrissey's humorous, poetic lyrics combined politics, rebellion and regional pride with romance and unrequited love. He brutally articulated situations and feelings rooted in ordinary experience in a way that is rarely found in popular music. The Smiths’ artwork has a distinctive style, featuring film and pop stars that reveal Morrissey's own fandom and obsessions with Englishness and icons of popular culture from the 1950s and 1960s.         

Alli Sharma studied at Central St Martins College of Art and lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include Idle Worship, Centre for Recent Drawing, London; The Perfect Nude, Phoenix Gallery, Exeter and Wimbledon Space, London; Zoo, Meter Room, Coventry.

Corinna Spencer
For Tainted Love Corinna Spencer has created a shrine-like group of paintings inspired by the film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford which critic Mark Kermode described as being 'about the idea of approaching death but also about, I think importantly, the idea, that the character who is going to kill Jesse James, is in a very modern celebrity conscious kind of way, obsessed by him.' Spencer’s work explores the relationship between these two historical characters. A relationship that began with teenage fascination and hero worship but became one of obsession, envy and lust that ultimately ended in betrayal and murder.

Corinna Spencer Studied at Coventry School of Art and design and lives and works in Coventry. Her previous exhibitions include Collectible, ZAP, London; Home Office of the Fan Fiction Empire, The Residence Gallery, London; Curious Pursuits, The Portico, Manchester and Pulp Fictions, Transition Gallery, London.

Mark Scott Wood
Mark Scott Wood's work often explores elements of obsession. Whether this is through the process of making or the nature of what it is to be obsessed. This may result in work that has been painstakingly created such as hair threaded into canvas, work involving multiple layers of paint or work reflecting perhaps the idea of unrequited love.

For Tainted Love he is exploring the nature of bands and their fans with two works dedicated to two different bands, 30 Seconds to Mars and My Chemical Romance, under the working title of The Battle of the Band Shrines. During the build up to the exhibition the fans of these bands, The Echelon and The MCRmy, will be invited to cast their vote and ultimately determine which shrine will make it into the exhibition.

Mark Scott Wood studied at Norwich School of Art and Design, and Byam Shaw School of Art, London and lives and works in London. Previous exhibitions include Attack the Block Party, Latitude Festival, Suffolk; 2Wet, Stew Gallery, Norwich; Shame, The Residence Gallery, London; Late Shift, The National Portrait Gallery, London.

Jessica Voorsanger
Jessica Voorsanger's work explores the concept of 'celebrity' within popular culture; through obsession, fans and media representation. It deals specifically with the relationship between celebrities and their 'fans', and the ideology of fan culture. She attempts to capture the inaccessibility of celebrities by confronting a fan’s excitement and eternal love, with the improbability of them meeting their idol.

For Tainted Love Voorsanger has created an installation of paintings and costumes that detail Andy Warhol, Abraham Lincoln and John Lennon - all people who were shot by obsessive fanatics.

Jessica Voorsanger is an American artist living in London. She Studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and Goldsmiths College and has had one-person exhibitions in London, New York, Edinburgh, Berlin & Turin. Recent exhibitions have been at Gallerie 33, Berlin; The ICA; Whitechapel Art Gallery and a project for Art on the Underground.

Editors’ Notes
About Down Stairs
Opened in June 2011, Down Stairs is a new 6,000 square foot artist-run gallery space located at Great Brampton House in Madley, Herefordshire. The gallery shows a diverse range of work placing emerging artists shoulder to shoulder with established artists.

Exhibitions to date include Change The World Or Go Home’ which questioned the role of the artist within contemporary culture; and ‘Heartlands’, which united artists interested in the countryside and its relationship with British national identity. Artists exhibited so far include Jeremy Deller, Mark Titchner, Gavin Turk, Simon Roberts, Jimmy Merris, Ghazaleh Abassalian, Mark McGowan and Susan Stockwell.

Down Stairs also offers a Residency programme as part of its commitment to supporting artists. Residents in 2011 included the Bigtoe Group, who made work for the exhibition Change The World Or Go Home, and Mark Houghton, who made work for Upstare, that took place on the roof of Great Brampton House.

The most recent resident artist is Tom Howse, whose residency led to his solo exhibition Fantastic Salad. Forthcoming residents include Adeline de Monseignat, Pil and Galia Kollectiv.

Down Stairs is programmed and run by artists Craig Barnes and Dmitri Galitzine, alongside artist, entrepreneur and gallery proprietor Martin Miller.

Craig Barnes curates Down Stairs' programme. He graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in 2009 and was included in FutureMap and the Catlin Art Guide 2010. Recent exhibitions include As You Wish, Outpost, Amsterdam; How Could Everybody Be So Wrong, And/Or, London. At Down Stairs, Barnes curated Change The World Or Go Home, which is subsequently touring to Solent Showcase, Southampton, in May 2012.

Dmitri Galitzine manages The Stables, the studio complex at Great Brampton House, home of Down Stairs. He graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2009. Recent exhibitions include Prune, Fold Gallery, London; Hotel Palenque, Outpost, Norwich; and Given The Standards Of The Day, Formula Gallery, St Petersburg.

Martin Miller first went into business breeding hamsters whilst still at school. He later set up the bestselling antiques price guides Miller's Antiques, which became a publishing phenomenon. He has written numerous books, encompassing fiction, poetry and self-help, whilst also creating an award winning brand of gin – Martin Miller's Gin – and running numerous luxury retreats decorated in his renowned maximalist style. In 2010 he bought Great Brampton House.

 


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