Friday, 24 April 2009

Ian Whittlesea – Economy

To celebrate May Day (traditionally the date of International Worker’s Day, Maypole dancing and anti-capitalist protest) CHELSEA space is proud to present a 12 hour excerpt from Ian Whittlesea’s remarkable work Economy.

Economy consists of the entire first chapter of Henry David Thoreau’s great book Walden, projected one word at a time. First published in 1854, and itself called “Economy”, this chapter contains some of Thoreau’s most radical observations on living deliberately, self-reliance, consumerism and the relationships between an individual and society.

From 10am until 10pm the glass box of CHELSEA space will be full of Thoreau’s words. Projected in daylight as white text on a white wall, each word will fade slowly into the next, becoming more visible as the light of May Day fades away. Economy will be viewable from outside the gallery and across the parade ground that separates Chelsea College of Art & Design from Tate Britain.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication with an essay by Richard Deming of Yale University, which concludes:

"The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run," Thoreau writes in "Economy". With Whittlesea’s installation, one knows exactly what amount of time – and thus what part of our lives – needs to be given to the piece, both in its making and in its experiencing, and this itself serves as some comment on the market forces that shape the art world. Art asks of us everything we are willing to give it, and now with Economy we have an exact sense of what that cost is for this specific encounter. We can decide not to pay it or offer anything in exchange – either way, the choice we make is our own. The exchange, however, is the realization that interpretation, the ongoing act of reading, working, and participating in larger social, ethical, and existential patterns are, first and last, a shared endeavour. This shared labour, this literal collaboration in the hope of meaning, Whittlesea’s installation reminds us, is a human economy."

Ian Whittlesea was born in 1967 and lives and works in London. He studied painting at Chelsea College of Art & Design and sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London. Recent solo shows include Occasionals, London and Ocular Lab, Melbourne, Australia. His translation of Yves Klein’s 1954 book Les Fondements du Judo was published in March 2009 by The Everyday Press, London.

from the press release, Chelsea Space

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Thomas Joshua Cooper – True

Thomas Joshua Cooper – True
Haunch of Venison
6 Burlington Gardens
London WS1 3ET
1 – 30 May 2009

Haunch of Venison
London continues its exhibition programme at its new venue, 6 Burlington Gardens, with True, an exhibition of new work by Thomas Joshua Cooper. Charting a two year journey to the polar regions of the Atlantic basin, the exhibition presents new works from the series, The World's Edge - an ongoing work that seeks to map the extremities of the land and islands that surround the Atlantic Ocean. 

The 79 works in this exhibition include images made in the North and South poles, at the northern most land points of Norway and Greenland, and the most northerly point of the Antarctic Peninsula, Prime Head, which has had fewer human visitors than the Moon. 

Haunch of Venison and the Royal Academy Schools will co-host a talk by Thomas Joshua Cooper to coincide with the opening of True. The talk will take place on Friday 1st May from 4.30 - 6pm in the top floor galleries.

Thomas Joshua Cooper has recently been awarded a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of stellar achievement and exceptional promise for continued accomplishment.

For the past 30 years, the artist has travelled to some of the most isolated and far-flung locations across the globe, making images with his 19th century Agfa camera and specially made photographic plates.

The World's Edge was initiated in 1990. Each work begins as a location found on a map, researched and tracked down, and after often difficult journeys by air, sea and land, only one photograph is made per location on Cooper's arrival. The Worlds Edge began with trips to chart Europe and Africa, and the last outstanding journey along the Atlantic coast of North America from Labrador through to Cape Cod and on to Key Largo is planned for spring 2010.

The exhibition True required some of the toughest journeys for Cooper to date: over three months at sea, sailing into areas marked as 'uncharted dangers' - territories where rescue teams never venture and in which insurance companies are not able to provide cover - and treacherous weather conditions, including extreme storms caused by the El Nino and being snowed into the South Pole for 13 consecutive days.

Constructed only and always of the landscape, Cooper's images are devoid not only of figures and animals, but all human trace. Using the chiaroscuro technique - the use of long exposures and low lighting to create distinct areas of light and darkness - the resulting images describe the darkness of cold water, white voids of fog, submerged rocks icebergs and the geology of rocks.
from the press release of Haunch of Venison

Thomas Joshua Cooper
refuge, The Bransfield Strait, Neptune's Window at the crater wall edge, Deception Island, The South Shetland Islands, United Kingdom, Antarctica, 2008. 62º59 S, 2008
Gelatin Silver Print, 71 x 91 cm

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Take me (I'm yours) – Serpentine Gallery, 1995

Special edition of the catalogue of the exhibition Take me (I'm yours)Serpentine Gallery, London, 24 March - 30 April 1995 (touring to Castello di Rivara, Turin and Kunsthalle Nürnberg), curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Edition of 40 copies
cardboard box in silver foil envelope, both numbered 28/40, with catalogue, 20 pages, 10,5 x 15 cm, and 36 postcards, 10,5 x 15 cm, with additions of the artists.
Wolfgang Tillmans – 3 postcards, one signed
Douglas Gordon – 3 postcards, all with the artist's bite (see previous post)
Franz West – 3 postcards, one signed
Maria Eichhorn – 3 postcards, all with 19p stamp
Hans Peter Feldmann – 3 postcards with glued b/w images on the back
Christian Boltanski – 3 postcards, one signed
Jef Geys – 3 postcards, one signed
Lawrence Weiner – 3 postcards
Gilbert & George – 3 postcards, all signed (love from Gilbert & George)
Fabryce Hybert – 3 postcards, one with 28-29 written on the front
Christine Hill – 3 postcards, one signed
Carsten Höller – 3 postcards, all signed and dated
in perfect condition, one copy
price on request

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Douglas Gordon – Take me (I'm yours)

Douglas GordonKissing with Sodium Pentothal No 20, 1994
Douglas GordonKissing with Sodium Pentothal No 1, 1994
Douglas GordonKissing with Sodium Pentothal No 18, 1994

3 postcards from catalogue box Take me (I'm yours), Serpentine Gallery, 1995
10,5 x 15 cm, with the artist's bite

Monday, 13 April 2009

Studio Voltaire, London

Studio Voltaire is the first and only artist-led gallery and studio complex in South-West London. Established in 1994, the organisation has developed a reputation for supporting artists at a pivotal stage in their careers through an ambitious public programme of exhibitions, commissions, live events and offsite projects. 

The organisation is committed to widening access to contemporary practice and runs an innovative and wide reaching education programme producing artist-led projects and activities for individuals and communities within the local area.
 Studio Voltaire provides a much-needed resource of affordable studios to London-based artists. It is our key objective to create a supportive and critical atmosphere to develop diverse artistic practices and help provide career opportunities.

Cathy Wilkes
11th April – 24th May 2009

New solo commission, supported by The Henry Moore Foundation

Cathy Wilkes (1967, Belfast, lives in Glasgow) was nominated for the Turner Prize 2008 and showed at Milton Keynes Gallery, Milton Keynes, and the Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, in 2008. This is her first show since her nomination.

Studio Voltaire Portfolio 2008
Studio Voltaire is pleased to announce the launch of its latest limited edition portfolio. Published by Studio Voltaire and launched at Zoo Art Fair, the portfolio will include specially commissioned artworks by six leading international contemporary artists. This year’s portfolio will be the third in a series of collaborations with artists to publish innovative and affordable works. Previous portfolios have been collected by both individuals and institutions including the British Council Collection, Government Art Collection and White Columns, New York.

prints by
Steven Claydon
, Ruth Ewan
, Alan Michael, 
Oliver Payne & Nick Relph, 
 and Cerith Wyn Evans

Price: £1,500 (excluding P&P)

Studio Voltaire
1a Nelson Row
London SW4 7JR

Nature over again

John Dixon Hunt – Nature over again, The Garden Art of Ian Hamilton Finlay
a recent book published by Reaktion Books, London, 2008 discussing the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay in different gardens like the Max Planck Institute, Stuttgart, University of California, San Diego, a private garden in the South of France (Fleur de l'air) and Little Sparta, Scotland. designed by Ron Costley

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Alec Finlay

Alec Finlay, Alexander and Susan Maris You’ll have had you tea?
HICA (the Highland Institute for Contemporary Art)
Dalcombrie, Loch Ruthven, Inverness, Scotland
3 May – 7 June, 2009

Alec FinlayHome to a king
Nest-boxes with embedded crossword clues on the names of trees, newly installed at Stanza (St Andrews), George Square Gardens (Edinburgh), Montgomery Street Gardens (Edinburgh) and Cove Park (Kilcreggan).
Visit Alec’s website for more information on Home to a king, where you can download and make your own crossword nest-box.

Mesostic Remedy
New book by Alec Finlay, available May 2009
A compendium of mesostic poems composed on the names of Dr Edward Bach’s 38 flower remedies. With drawings of the plants by Laurie Clark.
Hardback (signed, ed. 750) £20.00
Paperback £12.00
designed by StudioLR
Shortlisted for Scottish Design Awards 2009

More awards
Mesostic Curriculum at The Community School of Auchterarder
Alec Finlay and StudioLR worked with school groups to compose mesostic poems on the names of well known authors in the National Curriculum. The poems were made into signs displayed around the school.
Shortlisted for Scottish Design Awards 2009

Saturday, 11 April 2009


Letterboxing is a form of hobby walking and rubber stamp collecting. Over the next few years Alec Finlay is placing 100 letterboxes at sites around the globe. Each box protects a circle poem. Some of the boxes are sited singly, in locations that are described in guides written by their keepers. Other letterboxes are composed into walks. These include circlesthroughthepath at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and Isle Arcs, Circles & Ways on the Isle of Thanet. Alec has also written about letterboxes and circle poems and discussed them in an interview with Elizabeth James. When you go letterboxing you can log your visit. See:


location Empel, near ’s-Hertogenbosch (The Netherlands)
keeper Peter Foolen
installed 18 November 2007
Follow the dike along the River Maas, starting from the village Empel in the direction of the village Gewande. On the road you will come on your left side to a big pond (‘Wiel’) surrounded by poplars. In the trees you will see a colony of many cormorants. When you have arrived at a wayside mark with number 781 go down the slope of the dike and search around the pond for the letterbox which is hidden inside the thicket. In the pond are ducks and grebes swimming. Look out for the kingfisher!

Peter Foolen, dedicated to Hans Waanders
note this is the site Hans Waanders recorded as the beginning of his work on the kingfisher.


Hans Waanders - IJsvogelwiel, Empel, 1984
Peter Foolen - IJsvogelwiel, Empel, 2007
letterbox WWLB002, Empel, 2007

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Thomas A Clark – New Stobhill Hospital Glasgow

The New Stobhill Hospital Glasgow will soon open. It will be one of the largest hospitals in Scotland. It is built by
Reiach and Hall Architects, Edinburgh. These architects also developed the new extended building for The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness, Scotland (2007), which is nominated for the 2009 Mies van der Rohe European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture. Associated with the artist Alan Johnston, Reiach and Hall also run Sleeper, a space for art in Edinburgh.
Thomas A Clark was commissioned to lead a group of artists to install artworks in the New Stobhill Hospital. There are permanent installations of works by Olwen Shone, Andreas Karl Schulze, Kenneth Dingwall, Donald Urquhart and Thomas A Clark.

installations by Andreas Karl Schulze and Thomas A Clark inside the New Stobhill Hospital Glasgow, 2009

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Interview – Neil Gillespie, Reiach and Hall Architects

Excerpt from an interview of Charles Rattray with Neil Gillespie, Reiach and Hall Architects, Edinburgh. Neil Gillespie talks about the influence of art on their architecture and about their collaborations with the artists Alan Johnston, Roger Ackling, Thomas A Clark, Ragna Robbertsdottir and Alan Charlton.
Sleeper is a small space for art in the offices of Reiach and Hall Architects in Edinburgh. Artists who made exhibitions in Sleeper are among others Lesley Foxcroft, Douglas Gordon, Alan Charlton, Martina Klein, Thomas A Clark and Roger Ackling

From Architectural Research Quarterly Vol 8 No 1, 2004
See for complete interview and other writings:


Much of the work is informed by an interest in contemporary and conceptual art and also by a particular collaboration with his friend, Alan Johnston, professor of drawing and painting at ECA.

You have a little room in the basement ...

Sleeper. It's a space that we provide. Then we collaborate with Alan Johnston and it is really over to him to fill it with people - artists. We provide enough money for a card and a few bottles of beer. What has emerged doesn't rely on anything else and doesn't rely on subsidies from anybody. It's a very quiet thing. All we are interested in is what the idea is on that particular day, whoever the artist may be. And we have no influence over it whatsoever - who the artist is, what the artist does. It's like a piece of grit embedded in the office, making us think about ideas going on outside.

You deliberately have someone else select, and they can provoke you in any way they wish.

Alan's art is about his own very interesting pieces but also about making interesting connections. So when he goes to Japan, Germany, wherever, he can offer this space, say 'next time you're in Edinburgh, you can do a little show'. It's about ideas, and it has been amazingly successful - purely in terms of art, not foot-fall. And a lot of our buildings have influence from the shows.

The room can be taken as a whole or people can put things in it ...

Yes. What has tended to happen is that the artist - and we've had people like Douglas Gordon and Ulrich Ruckreim - has done a one-off piece specially for that little room because it has just appealed to their sense of a simple, little idea. They feel they can take a chance here, and some of them have said it's given them a spark. It's remarkable really because - well, you've seen it ...

... a small room ...

... virtually a wardrobe. So that has been really positive for us. But we also work with artists in our buildings as well.

What happens when you do a building specifically for art - the Collective Gallery in Edinburgh, the Pier Gallery extension at Stromness? The art is what is going to go into it. The building ought not to be the equivalent of bad art.

It's a really difficult one. The normal route is to try not to be there. But it's a balance, isn't it? The art is more memorable in a memorable space - but not so memorable that you can't see the art. The Collective Gallery is a series of four rooms going down the street, two old, two new, with glass on the front. The rooms themselves seem to be complete when viewed from the outside but, inside, the apertures between them are offset. There is a play, then, between the readily understandable and the more ambiguous and we were also interested in the relationship of the spaces to the city: the gallery-space being an extension of the street and vice versa. The Pier is very different. It's a remarkable place. the project has a piece of everything: it has a 'we're not here' piece; another piece - the extension - where we make a mark on the town so that people can recognize that there is a cultural building there; and then there's a refurbishment to lift the standards of environmental control and so on in Kate Heron's bit, designed in 1978.

The Pier extension has a very simple shed-like form to which various things happen.

Two artists in two consecutive shows at sleeper influenced us. One was Roger Ackling, who takes driftwood and burns very very precise marks onto it with a magnifying glass. The analogy was that Stromness became the driftwood, and we wanted the new building to be etched or tattooed into the fabric of the town. Hence the soft blackness of the cladding too - pre-patinated zinc. The new building wasn't going to touch the town lightly but was going to be embedded. The shed idea was about accepting that everything on the Stromness foreshore has that form and then transforming it by removing all detail from it. The other artist was Icelandic : Ragna Robertsdottir. She glues pieces of lava from Icelandic volcanoes to a wall in a geometric arrangement and then starts to move them, using tweezers - amazing. As you move towards a wall and view it obliquely, the lava particles join up, as it were, and the wall becomes their colour. Our white wall became black. We use a similar idea on the courtyard elevation at the Pier.

The simple exterior conceal a less expected interior.

Yes. There are various intersecting volumes and places where there is a northern notion that the interior really has got nothing to do with the exterior, that the Mediterranean idea of flowing from the inside to outside doesn't hold because you're retreating from a hostile environment.

The way you describe certain buildings shows evidence of a strong art interest. And what is fascinating is that this can continue in difficult situations - not only with an 'art' building but a commercial building, for example.

It is about that word, 'culture'. We've been robbed of it, or at least the architecture or the clients we experience generally have removed that piece of agenda. And that has led to a certain frustration because Scotland is such a small building world that you are working for the same people all the time. So it is a way of keeping our sanity, I suppose, and generating ideas. Our most fruitful conversations are with artists, who seem to be lighter on their feet, able to take a situation and look at it and then turn it into something. That's much better than getting entrenched trying to pursue a purely architectural agenda. I think there are a lot of lessons there. Interestingly, virtually all the early collaborations were on commercial projects for people like Sainsbury's or Grosvenor Estates.

This wasn't a percentage for art, was it?

No. This was us saying to the client that we could add something to this very commercial project in terms of a cultural layer that might make it more interesting. It might make it more interesting to the planners, it might make it more interesting to the neighbours. Private clients found it difficult, but the really commercial guys responded.

On what basis can one sell that? They might think that it was going to cost more money, but the answer in terms of architecture is that it might not.

It might not. We've always tried to resist applied art. It always has to be something that reveals something about the building rather than just sticking something in a courtyard or whatever. What we've learned from artists like Duchamp is that everything is available, all materials are available, and they are all there for you to use. There is no such thing as a 'bad' material or a 'good' material. But developers and planners, they view the world differently. For them, there is a pecking order in terms of materials from those that are decent and novel to those that are secondary and poor. At the top of every list in Edinburgh is stone. So there's no debate about that. Just stone. I think it's a kind of Medusa thing: every time you look at a building in Edinburgh it turns to stone. Actually that led us onto a kind of conceptual idea which was about mirrors, because Perseus - wasn't it? - defeated the Gorgon by using his shield as a mirror when he couldn't look at her directly. The Collective Gallery, for example, was about putting a mirror into the Old Town and reflecting it. Maybe the moves are very modest; that's all people can afford to do. I was interested in bringing that kind of thinking into some of the really ground-down briefs like a hospital or a supermarket. How can you bring in an idea that can keep you going through that process and makes it something more, that might not be that obvious.

Underlying this is an acceptance of a reality, whether it is a commercial reality or a material reality.

Yes. We're quite fortunate because our portfolio is always really broad. I think that's probably a reflection of Scotland - operating a the size that we are, we have to involved in every kind of project. Here's a sewage sludge treatment plant. That was a great project to work on ...

... I keep wanting to set one for my students.

We really enjoyed the process, really mucked in (laughter). We tried to see what we could bring to it in an architectural frame: we brought a logic that didn't exist in the 'processing' mind. It was good.

A lot of architects don't have this acceptance of materials and so on that you are talking about. A lot are still like the planners you mentioned, believing that there is a definite hierarchy - some things are beautiful, some things are ugly - and their take is very traditional.


So your attitude is more egalitarian - you look at possibilities that are around, as they arise.

I'm sure that's where the artists help us. Their gaze is so acute. Generally in architecture you don't get that space to really, really look at things, so you resort to type very quickly. There are other aspects too which really come through Alan Reiach and Stuart Renton. In 1944, Alan Reiach published 'Building Scotland' with Robert Hurd. The title interests me because architecture doesn't come into it. There's this kind of Presbyterian thing here - let's get on with it, let's just build. I suppose that ties up with the art thing in that we're presented with problems, let's not moan about it, let's just get on with it. The other thing that's happened is that clients are becoming more demanding, so the debate is getting richer.

Give an example.

Alan Charlton made a fantastic piece here: a grey rectangle with a grey canvas. That influenced directly the Edinburgh Technopole building. There was a sudden awareness that we could do something in this very very economic building, that there were still choices.

The two blocks slide and you pick that up ...

On its largest scale the slips creates two courts by implication. One is facing east, and that's about entrance; the other faces west and that is about the end of the day, to spill out and have a few drinks or something. That plan idea was then taken through the details whether fenestration, or even the ceiling tiles, where the light fittings are all slipped. So right through, we kept reinforcing that simple little idea with the elements we had at our disposal, which were suspended ceilings, open lights, brick joints and so on. And that's when we started to work with Tom Clark. His piece in sleeper was about the woodland glade, a place apart. And he helped us to understand the nature of a very simple building sitting in a landscape. We started to view it not as a part of the landscape in the way a boulder might be, but as apart from it. Rather than hugging the ground or trying to disappear, it could just be placed there. And the piece of text he put on the facade - 'a fold of granite' - talks of forces within nature folding something, and the spaces formed when you make a fold as a first move in architecture.


Thomas A Clark – Glade

Thomas A Clark – Glade, 1996
multiple, enamel, 21 x 31 cm
made by Langcat, Holland
edition of 25 copies

published by Peninsula on the occasion of the exhibition Travaux Publics [Public Works] at the Van Abbemuseum and the City of Eindhoven, 1996

Yvon Lambert – Espèces d'Espaces

Yvon Lambert, New York – Espèces d' Espaces
550 West 21st Street
10011 New York, NY
March 28 – May 16, 2009

group exhibition with among others Robert Barry, André Cadere, Jenny Holzer, Roni Horn, Bethan Huws, On Kawara, Brice Marden and Lawrence Weiner

Roger Ackling – Sunlight on wood, 1999

Roger Ackling – Sunlight on wood
Weybourne, May 1999, (h x w x d) 47 x 12,5 x 1 cm

Peter Foolen, from Roger 1999

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Roger Ackling – Sunlight on wood, 1995

Roger Ackling – Sunlight on wood
Weybourne, June 1995, (h x w x d) 6,6 x 3,9 x 2 cm

Peter Foolen, from Roger 1997

Jenny Holzer – Survival Series, 1991

Jenny Holzer – Survival Series, 1991
multiple published by Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY in 1991
cardboard box containing 12 unsharpened pencils with erasers, text in red gold on unpainted light brown wooden pencils.
20 x 15,4 x 1,5 cm


perfect condition, only one copy available
price € 350

Internationales Künstler Gremium

Internationales Künstler Gremium, 1990
portfolio with 15 prints, published by Peninsula on occasion of a meeting of the Internationales Künstler Gremium at the 15th anniversity of the Apollohuis, Eindhoven in 1990
80 x 100 cm
Acid-free corrugated cardboard box, text in silkscreen
typography by Peter Foolen
edition of 40 copies (including 25 for sale), prints numbered and signed

Marina AbramovicDragon Head, colour photograph
Claudia CostaMira Alta, colour etching with drawing
Gunter DemnigGesetzetafeln, computerprint, silkscreen in portfolio
Andrzej DluznieuwskiUntitled, silkscreen
Hetum GruberUntitled, photograph
Franziska MegertUntitled, colour laser print
Maurizio NannucciThe possible Plan, silkscreen
Boris NieslonyWass soll das, Monotype, handcoloured
Ann NoëlBo Peep-Caution Explosive, silkscreen
Jürgen O. Olbrich/Wolfgang HainkeH90-Unbedruckt, silkscreen
Paul PanhuysenGelijke rechten voor geel, rood en blauw, silkscreen
Sef PeetersUntitled, silkscreen
Maria Anna PotockaPrimer of Human Form, offset, monotype
Eva-Maria SchönParallele Natur, silkscreen, drawing
Nicholaus UrbanUntitled, lithography

image Ann Noël – Bo Peep–Caution Explosive, silkscreen on Simili japon, 1990, 65 x 100 cm
Marina Abramovic – Dragon Head, colour photograph on paper (video still from perfomance Dragon Head, Oxford, 1990), 50 x 66 cm

only 1 copy available
price € 3000