Norden Farm Centre for the Arts
STRUCTURES + SPACES
Exhibition open 31st March - 8th April
Opening hours 10am - 10pm daily
Private View Friday 30th March 6 - 9p.m
Structures and Spaces is a collaborative project by the artists, Alex Edwards and Adam Watts, and the architecture graduate, Michael Denyer. Edwards and Watts studied BA Fine Art at London Metropolitan University from 2007-10, while Denyer studied BA Architecture at the University of East London from 2008-11.
The collaboration takes a number of forms - the initial stages of a project are based on drawing, designing plans and making maquettes. These are the first steps towards producing the larger body of work - an installation, or architectural intervention in a space. Edwards, Watts and Denyer often work specifically to a space - visiting a site many times, experiencing and talking about a possible location before beginning work.
Structures and Spaces’ first exhibition will be at Norden Farm Arts Centre in Maidenhead. For Denyer and Watts, it is going back to their roots - both grew up in Maidenhead before studying in London. It is a chance for them to revisit areas that they knew when growing up; knowing the area has helped with finding materials to use. Five minutes from Norden Farm, on the edge of a school playing field, lay a number of fallen elm trees which the group have recycled to become an integral part of their exhibition.
For the installation at Norden Farm, the group have created an environment that changes the way the viewer navigates the gallery. They have introduced a series of static and moving screens made from timber and paper - transforming the gallery into a series of pathways or entrances. The layout of the screens means the viewer walks around and through them - entering openings and pockets of space. Interspersed between the timber-framed screens are dead elm trunks, erected upright. It gives the gallery a feel of a courtyard or communal area. On two of the sunken gallery walls, projections can be seen. The projections are of white billowing smoke, which drifts up the wall, fluctuating between the moving screens. The projection is from a video filmed in Didcot of the Power Station. Every week, Edwards traveled from Oxford to Maidenhead to work on the exhibition. The train line runs through Didcot, giving him a view of the impressive power station through the window. Ideas of time and travel are important to the group – because they influence the way the members collaborate.
The exhibition is full of collected images or materials that have been gathered on the journeys to and from Norden Farm. A landscape has been created inside the gallery - piecing together the stark dead trunks of the elms, the paper-covered screens and the smoke projections. It’s mysterious, almost like no-man’s land, that can be looked down upon or experienced by walking through. Its transience can be either calming or thought-provoking.
During the process of assembling this installation, the group have studied various artists, architects and design practices, ranging from Martin Boyce’s Turner Prize-winning installation Do Words have Voices to the dance screens of the American, Kelly Nipper. Collaborating and sharing ideas has been extremely useful for Denyer, Edwards and Watts, who aim to work in new locations in the future.