Thursday, 21 May 2015

Singing in the Bath: Art at Brighton Festival

At the beginning of Brighton Festival, I planned to go and see some of the art exhibitions that were incuded in the listings. The festival is nearly over, and I still hadn't seen any, so yesterday I went off into the city with my neighbour, to see what artistic wonders we could find!

Brighton is a fantastic place for art exhibitions. It's a city so rich in history and architecture, with countless spaces hidden off the beaten track that are perfect for hosting exhibitions large and small.
Such a place is Circus Street Market, which looks derelict and empty, but could hide all manner of things behind those graffiti-smothered shutters. (Unfortunately it looks like there are plans to 'regenerate' this street and turn it into another characterless redevelopment that will suck more of the soul out of the colourful and surprising city that Brighton once was. Bah.)

Complaints aside (I promise that was the last one!) here are some pictures and summaries of the exhibits we saw. And more pictures. Pictures are great, right?

Rachel Kneebone
An exhibition featuring three porcelain works by Rachel Kneebone, housed at the University of Brighton Gallery. The image above is from the Visual Art leaflet, because I didn't take any photos in this gallery.

These three pieces are fascinating to look at, a warped mess of human limbs and strange tendrils, holes, cracks and irregular shapes. I found they really fired the imagination--here could be an overgrown plant (Feed Me, Seymour!), a mass grave, an alien life form, a white-washed image of hell.

Was impressed by these, not only in the finished pieces but the workmanship that has obviously gone into them.

Rachel Kneebone's work is at University of Brighton Gallery, Grand Parade, Brighton, until 24th May 2015

Dawn Chorus - Marcus Coates
An exhibition housed at Fabrica, this was not something to underestimate!
At first glance, this decommissioned church is merely filled with screens that depict people, with birdsong played over the video--the video sped up to give a more birdlike movements.
A look in the leaflet explains: Marcus Coates recorded the songs of different birds. He taught a slowed-down version to a group of amateur singers, and recorded them mimicking the birdsong in their 'natural habitat'. These videos were then sped up to regain the bird-like sound, which also made the movements of the singers appear more bird-like.

These 'natural habitats' included all manner of places--an armchair, the bath, a waiting room, a car...

I thought this exhibition was really interesting. It really highlighted the relationship between human- and bird-kind!

Dawn Chorus is at Fabrica, Duke Street, Brighton, until 25th May 2015

Gauge - Madeleine Flynn & Tim Humphrey
This exhibition was in the massive space hidden behind the facade of Circus Street Market (shown at the top of this post).
It comprised of eight strange, weatherlike inventions, a 'playful and curious investigation into weather, water and climate change' according to the information provided!

Madeliene Flynn and Tim Humphrey are sound artists, so this exhibition included a lot of weather-like sounds!

Along with cloud machines, another feature was a keyless piano...

Water dripped from above, onto the strings, which created quiet 'plinks' of sound.

This device also made use of water droplets. This time the water dripped through a sieve into a bowl of water. Microphones attached to the ends of two lengths of pipe picked up the sounds made.

In the background of this picture, another of the installations can be seen--this was a number of tiny speakers, suspended from the ceiling, each of which was playing a different 'water' sound. Walking through it was akin to walking through a rainforest (but without the rain...or the forest...)

This bubbling vat of water was the piece I took most photos of. Mainly because water can distort images behind it (probably why the wall behind was painted white) so I took advantage of weirdness...

You wouldn't think two adults could find a cylinder of water so entertaining, but we did! (What can I say, neither of us have grown up yet!)

Of the exhibitions we saw, this was the most fun, relaxed and interactive.

Gauge is at Circus Street Market, Circus Street, Brighton, until 24th May 2015.

It was great to get out and see some visual art!

This trip out helped count towards one of my goals on The List:
010. Visit 30 museums/art galleries/exhibitions
I'm up to twelve now--and looking back, I can't believe it's been months since I last went to any kind of museum or art exhibition!

Though I don't always understand the meaning behind visual art, I still enjoy looking at it, and often find inspirational value in what I see.

1 comment:

  1. Those exhibitions seem like they were great and a good mix between thought-provoking and fun! I like that there were audio as well as visual artists included too. :D

    On a side note, I've never visited Brighton, but from what you've said at the beginning it seems it's headed the way of London, stripping away its uniqueness bit by bit, which is a shame. (I mean, there's still interesting things to be found there too, but...).