Creative Machines, Minimalist Sculpture
TROVE: THE EVENT 2011
21st–30th October 2011 12 – 5pm
Curzon Street Station, Curzon Street, Birmingham
Artist include: Wayne Chisnall, Stephen Cornford, Jamie Jackson, Markus Kayser, Rob Mullender, Alex Pearl, Ben Rowe, Martin Sexton, Laura Skinner, Minnie Weisz, Luke Williams and Adam Zoltowski
Curated by Charlie Levine, TROVE, Birmingham & Minnie Weisz, Minnie Weisz Studio, London
Creative Machines, Minimalist Sculpture is an exhibition that has developed from conversations between Birmingham curator, Charlie Levine, and London gallery director and artist, Minnie Weisz. Interested in forging and forming links with creative practices and artists outside their home cities, Levine and Weisz have formed a creative collaboration, which is linked by rail stations, both connecting north and south. So, very apt that this exhibition takes place at the very first station to link Birmingham directly to London; built in 1838, at the start of the Industrial Revolution.
Curzon Street Station had regular passenger services to London Euston until 1854. Then, it was a direct link from Birmingham to Euston, (a stones throw away from Weisz’s London studio in King’s Cross). After which it ran only cargo trains until its closure in 1966. The building, designed by Philip Hardwick, mirrored the Euston Arch Station in London, sadly demolished in 1960, just six years before the closure of Curzon Street Station.
For ‘The Event 2011’, Levine and Weisz have curated an exhibition entitled Creative Machines, Minimalist Sculpture. It brings together artists from all over the UK who either create their own machine art works or have used machinery, or the idea of mechanics, to create the final Heath Robinson-esque whimsical, playful, scientific and experimental pieces.
Jaime Jackson and Alex Pearl’s site-specific film work reflects the exhibition space and its heritage. Pearl’s series of short black and white films, created and filmed by small battery powered machines, and Jackson’s large scale outdoor projection (for the launch night only) of people passing through New Street Station, are all about trains and in particular train stations. They are diverse in scale though not in subject, Pearl’s microfilms verses Jackson’s building size projection.
The film works by Markus Kayser, are a prelude to the machines he makes, resulting in a cinematic narrative which forms part of his process and machine experiments. The audience is shown a view into his world, how he builds his machines, from start to finish.
Martin Sexton’s engaging film explores what happens when a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School interacts with 62 school children that all say they have witnessed a UFO landing and encountered its strange humanoid occupants.
Inspired by film, Ben Rowe and Laura Skinner make imagined/familiar machines come to life. Skinner’s recent final degree piece has been re-commissioned specifically for this exhibition; a dark and eerie swing moving on its own conjures up classic film noir and Hitchcock style horror. Rowe takes a lighter look at classic 80’s sci-fi film machines, recreating out of MDF such iconic machines as the ‘flux capacitor’ from Back to the Future and Bill and Ted’s time machine phone box.
Wayne Chisnall continues the lens-based theme by creating a modern cityscape from old camera lenses and found ephemera. It makes you think of the views from train windows, and how they in turn become a different lens/frame through which to see the world. Weisz exhibits a large scale camera obscura photograph, depicting an inverted reflection of St.Pancras Station, London, as if its gazing directly into the Curzon Street Station, crossing the present, past, time, memory and place.
Artists Luke Williams and Stephen Cornford continue the hand made theme of the exhibition. Williams has made two sculptural pieces that project light, both based on the cosmos, specifically the stars, while Cornford’s piece is an installation of tape cassette recorders that switch on when sensing motion. These then perform in light and sound. Both works encompassing the theme of creative machines and minimalist sculpture, they are hand made sculptural pieces which literally light up mechanically.
Finally artists Rob Mullender and Adam Zoltowski bring a 2D element to the show. Zoltowski’s multiple give-away piece of a robot drawing has been photocopied 1000 times, utilising the machine in both design and production. Mullender’s delicate rubbings of old machines have been shellacked and framed. Mullender has not used graphite to create these; rather he has etched away with his nail to highlight the original scratches and marks off the machines.
The exhibition crosses sound, film and object/sculpture all based around the narrative of creative machines and minimalist sculpture. It is a look into pure machines meets pure minimalism, in a unique gallery setting.