THE ACCORDIAN HOUSE
2011 Project Space, Modern Art Oxford, Artists-in-residence
Artistic partnership brook & black took up residency in Modern Art Oxford’s Project Space for three weeks. Reflecting on ten years of collaboration, and recent projects responding to specific architectural spaces, including Modern Art Oxford and its allotment in Rose Hill. During the residence the artists were available to discuss their work and ideas with the public.
The work made in the Project Space, focused on a cardboard constructed space, with ‘windows and doorways’, a projected image of an accordian ‘breathing’ into the built ‘house’ space and Eileen, eighty-nine years old, sitting in the kitchen in her house on the top of a hill outside Belfast. She looks into her garden as she holds the telephone in her hand and sings into it. In the sitting room the record player plays Lascia ch'io pianga, a Handel aria. She was an opera singer in her youth. At the other end of the phone, in the gallery entrance area, her voice is recorded. This sound is placed in the ‘house’ structure.
Let me weep
my cruel fate,
and I sigh for liberty.
May sorrow break these chains
Of my sufferings, for pity's sake.
As part of the residency, an open forum ‘Art in Public Spaces’ took place on 20 October at the Gallery. Responding to an increasing number of public art commissions, many actively involving the communities in which they are sited, the open forum explores the conditions for artists working in the public realm. Curator and public art consultant Frances Lord was joined by Sophie Hope, an independent practitioner and researcher based at Birkbeck College, and artists-in-residence brook & black. Together, they highlight some of the constraints and opportunities for artists working in this context, as well as issues around the impact on practice when working in this territory. The event was of particular interest to artists, arts practitioners, art students and community group leaders interested in developing site-responsive practice.
With thanks to Eileen Robinson