May 28 - June 19
Open: Thursday - Saturday , 2pm - 6pm
Private view: Thursday 27 May, 6pm - 9pm
Castle & Elephant is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition in the UK by Croatian artist Damir Ocko.
Ocko will present two new works entitled The Age of Happiness and The Moon shall never take my Voice. Situated on both levels of the gallery, the two films evidence a shift in Ocko’s subject matter, from filmic landscapes towards a theatrical musing on history and the attributes of sound.
Ocko develops a spectrum of references when making his productions. A strong component of The Age of Happiness is his research into Russian composer Alexander Scriabin’s incomplete work Mysterium. Scarabin’s unrealised durational performance was to be located in the Himalayas, and his intentions were that “there will be no spectators, all will become participants”. One of the proposed effects of this piece was to transform participants into higher human beings. Through the realisation of The Age of Happiness, Ocko highlights this unachievable utopian vision as comparable to the shortcomings of today’s society.
Occupying the upper gallery is Ocko’s most recent film The Moon shall never take my Voice. The film observes a woman performing several acts in sign language, revealing a distinctive, ulterior form of music. The imaginative composition of both sound and noise alters conventional conceptions of hearing as the narrator gradually reveals a story about Gustav Mahler, John Cage and Neil Armstrong. Through this experimental tonal structuring the artist composes and transforms all the silent gestures into a new narrative logic and synthesis of images.
A transcription from The Moon shall never take my Voice will be available in the gallery.
An extract from a conversation between Elizabeth Rowe (E) and the Classified department at Coventry Classifieds (C).
E - How are you?
C - Yeah not too bad, errrm, obviously I’d spoken to your friend is it Hannah –
E – It’s Hannah yes the curator of the project.
C - Once we’d got to the bottom of the problem, well not problem but once we’d got to the bottom of what you wanted to do – my collegues in Coventry were under the impression that they were pictures, well I was saying to Hannah there are certain things we can’t put in, when you submit something on line it goes through to our scrutineers who decide whether they are going to put it in the paper or not– you hadn’t stated if they were free or for sale or anything like that and to our eyes it didn’t make much sense. We had the pictures then a caption and according to Hannah this is someway you want people to perceive the picture or something like that?
E - There were four inserts I put in that were a quote from a Milan Kundera book called the ‘Unbearable Lightness of Being’ and it was just to do with how in your day to day life you might spot little co-incidences that allow you to make some sort of sense of what is going on or make meaning for yourself.
C – You see to us that didn’t appear to be an advert – it looked like someone had out a picture on with some writing and there seemed to be no relevance in our eyes, I’m sure there is in your eyes because you know what it relates to with the picture. Well not a picture it’s a collage isn’t it?
E – No they are just pictures I have selected.
C - This is slightly different from what I was told earlier.
E -There were lots of restrictions in terms of how it might work best and I didn’t think collages would work very well – you wouldn’t be able to see them So I went for a collage in terms of the four pictures and how they might work in the classifieds.
C – Alright ok – this is I was given the impression earlier that these were pictures you’d produced yourself.
E – Well I’d selected them, re-photogrpahed them and prepared them and put them with certain bits of text for print in the newspaper
C – well basically how things sit to summarise an advert regardless of whether it is for sale for a price or whether it is free – it has to say what is for sale – so we need to say picture for sale even if it then says free at the bottom
E - What about if it said ‘idea for sale’ – would that be acceptable just because I’m not selling a picture
C - Well if I had ‘idea for sale’ then the picture them the quotation then the price then your telephone number would that be acceptab;e
E – Yes that sounds good – does it have to have ‘idea for sale at the start of each one.
C – Well yes – you see this is the problem we are having that we do all sorts of advertisements but in its own right if you want to book the space to use for something in the paper then it is trade. And then you have this thing where it is pictures but when you say an idea errm, alright say I put that in for you– if Joe Bloggs was to ring you up what would you say to them?
E – I’d say I’m an artist and I was approached by this curator called Hannah and I make a lot of work out of mass produced printed material – lots of collages but I’m really interested in how people read images to make some sense of the world around them
C – ok
E -I’d say quite a lot Chris because I’d go on to explain the work in quite a lot of detail. Really it’s about having that conversation, just like you and me are now, it would be about it was really interesting with the articles for sale slot in the classified because it goes out to so many people. Not just in Coventry but Hinckley, Nuneaton and Warwickshire as well so there is a massive audience there. Normally, generally only other artists or people in the art world see my work so it was a fantastic way for lots of people to see my work and I imagine most people wouldn’t call but maybe, I was interested in how they would decipher those four pictures and the quote
C – one of them we definitely wouldn’t be able to publish
E – Is it really problematic
C – Yes, I’m afraid we there are strict guidelines on advertising. I’ll be honest with you we’ve had enough problems trying to get around trying to possibly publish this anyway. So all right I phone you up then you say about the work etc then I would see you and get this picture?
E – No, it would be that we talked about the work. We would just have a conversation about it. Because I imagine people who rang me up would be people who were interested already and wanted to find out more. I don’t think a lot of people have access to art or understand contemporary art or feel comfortable talking or thinking about it. So on one level I was making this work as a way of starting conversations about art. Where they could have a conversation with an artist and if they were interested I could tell them about the show that this work is part of at Elephant & Castle in Coventry. So new more varied people get to find out about the project
C – So basically people would ring you up and then at some point you would go and by the way this is going on and talk about the exhibition?
E - That might be part of the conversation.
C – Bear with me – I need to speak with my boss about this – I’m just going to put you on hold.
C- Right ok I’ve just have a word with my manager and I can see what you want to do and where you are coming from my problem is you aren’t selling an item you’ve said to me you’re selling an idea, although you’re not even selling anything. But indirectly as much as you argue against this I think it is a trade advert.
E – But what is the definition of trade though Chris? Because to me it suggests some money is being made out of it somewhere along the line and I’m not going to make any money out of putting this work in the paper or all of the conversations I’m prepared to have with strangers.
C – Then what is the point in you putting this in the paper then?
E – I suppose just because I’m interested in it as a concept, that I would be putting images and text in a section of the paper that is all about buying and selling and interrupting that economy. Or reconnecting them with a system of exchange that I think is more valuable.
C – Like what?
E – Well, thinking.
Rumiko Hagiwara - Dillan marsh - Elizabeth Rowe
Private view 25 Feb 2010
10th February - 4th March
Private View 25th February 6-8pm
Castle & Elephant is pleased to present Rumiko Hagiwara, Dillan marsh and Elizabeth Rowe in its relocated space in City Arcade, Coventry. The exhibition brings together three young artists whose work encapsulates notions of distraction, futility and perseverance.
Taking three different formats, all exhibited elements are visible beyond the gallery threshold, responding to the temporary nature of the space. Both Hagiwara and Marsh’s films will be viewed for the duration of the exhibition from the outside, on the windows of the gallery space (9am – 5pm daily). Rowe will work with the format of the exhibition flyer, which will be distributed across the city; the artist will also be placing a work within The Coventry Telegraph newspaper.
The protagonist in Rumiko Hagiwara’s video Escalator (2003) performs a subtle passive aggressive act by walking the opposite way, on a downward flowing escalator. By drawing attention to the use of the public space, Hagiwara suggests that the viewer rediscover trivial elements around them. This will be shown alongside Dillan Marsh’s video Multiple Failures (2008), which documents futile attempts to inflate a self-constructed air-balloon. Marsh strives to realise a fantasy of escape, but the end result is a catalogue of short-lived unsuccessful endeavours.
Elizabeth Rowe’s practice merges images from printed media to regain an element of control over an overwhelming mass of information. Rowe will produce two works for this exhibition, the first being the front image of the show flyer that presents a falling rodeo rider titled F—k reason (2009). The second work will be a new commission printed in the classifieds section of The Coventry Telegraph, which will be on sale in most Coventry newsagent on 25th February 2010.
Dillan Marsh, UK (1980) is currently studying an MA Fine Art, at Kunsthøgskolen i Bergen, Norway. Recent solo exhibitions include Book Project (Solo Show), Kuenstlerhaus Dortmund, 2009, and Lighter Than Air, Utica NYS, USA, 2008.
Rumiko Hagiwara (1979) has recently completed a residency at Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam, NL, 2009. Recent exhibitons include A la vuelta la esquina, La Casa Encendida Art Center, Madrid, SP, 2009; Walden Affairs, Den Haag, NL, 2009; Belicht Galerie De Expeditie, Amsterdam, NL, 2008.
Elizabeth Rowe, UK (1974) has recently completed residencies at Het Wilde Weten, Rotterdam, NL, 2009, and The Dudley Library, UK 2009. Solo exhibitons include If Distance was an Object Between Us, Rotterdam, 2009; Tiny Details, Grotesque Proportions, New Art Gallery Walsall, UK, 2008; My Sponsor is the Leader of the Country, MAC, Birmingham, 2006.
Castle & Elephant, Unit 35, City Arcade, Coventry, CV1 3HX
11th December 2009
Annexinema presented a site-specific screening for Castle & Elephant’s second exhibition. Selected from a range of contemporary and historic films, Annexinema responded to the gallery’s location in the poleaxed modernism of the City Arcade, loosely flitting between themes such as urban environments, architecture, travel, and consumerism.
Andrew Kötting: Jaunt
UK, 1995, super 8/video, 5 mins
A Super-8 trip up the Thames from Southend-On-Sea to the Houses of Parliament, this film is a trailer of sorts for Kötting’s demented feature film, Gallivant.
Woody Vasulka: C-Trend
USA, 1974, video, 9 mins
A view of traffic shot from a window is transformed and sculpted into permutations of abstract, three-dimensional forms.
Bob Sabiston: Snack and Drink
USA, 2000, video, 3 mins
An autistic boy makes a highly ritualized visit to a convenience store to purchase a ‘snack and drink’, in wildly fluctuating styles of animation.
Romain Sein: The Man from Albacete
France, 2007 video, 5 mins
A chance nocturnal encounter with a unique tennis player.
Mike Stubbs: Cultural Quarter
UK, 2003, video, 10 mins
A meditation on some of the gaps between developers’ dreams and citizens perceptions of what cultural space means and how to use it, the film also begs ethical questions on surveillance, the gaze and human behaviour
Emily Richardson: Block
UK, 2005, 16mm/video, 11 mins
Block looks at the incidental activity that take places inside and outside a tower block in London over the period of several months.
Ron Tran: The Peckers
UK, 2005, video, 5 mins
An interactive public sound installation attracts some unusual participants.
Matt McCormick: The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal
USA, 2001, super 8/video, 15 mins
Graffiti Removal: the act of removing tags by painting over them.
Subconscious Art: a product of artistic merit created without artistic intentions.
David Blandy: From the Underground
UK, 2006, video, 4 mins
The artist’s heartfelt tribute to the Wu Tang Clan.
Rob Kennedy: Eden
UK, 2005, video, 2 mins
A series of fragmented and hallucinatory collisions of text and image build up a vision of the city at night.
Mischa Leinkauf + Matthias Wermke: Zwischenzeit
Germany, 2008, video, 8 mins
A journey through Berlin by handcart on the
U-Bahn at night, Zwischenzeit, meaning ‘inbetween’ is what takes place in the gaps between stations.
George Barber: Shouting Match
UK, 2004, video, 12 mins
A variety of participants, due to the power of their voices, determine the length of their presence on screen.
Film descriptions courtesy of Lux and IMDB.
Private view The Three Day Week - Tom Godfrey
Jennie Syson and Tom Godfrey in conversation at the opening of the private view 23 Oct 2009. This conversation can be heard by following the link below.
The Three Day Week - Tom Godfrey
Godfrey’s work manifests itself in a range of media including sculpture, photography, video and installation. Taking as a starting point a found image, object or experience, works are often developed through the administration of a physical adjustment, a combination with a process or an amalgamation with other objects and materials. Resultant works are often reductive in nature, maintaining a commitment to the initial subject with often only the most minimal intervention being made to make the viewer question its status as an artwork.
Previous examples of work include the self explanatory Photograms of Sunglasses 2008; the documentation photograph turned artwork in itself Bad Painted Ceiling 2009; Hypotenuse 2009 which constitutes of a straightened crowbar leaning against a wall and Architecture of Resistance 2009, an ongoing series of shutters built from birch ply and brass hinges that are custom built around gallery lighting systems.
The exhibition title is taken from the Conservative strategy of 1974 to conserve energy usage by restricting industries to only operating for three days a week. The intention is to draw parallels between this tactic and the three day week opening hours of Castle & Elephant. Wider implications of this title relate to the context of the gallery in a shop unit, surrounded by empty and redundant commercial lettings.
A specially commissioned interview held between Godfrey and London based artist Richard Paul will be available from the gallery.
Born 1981 and lives and works in Nottingham. Received BA (hons) Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University. Recent exhibitions include Publish and Be Damned, London (with Marbled Reams); Lemonade Radio, De Montford Hall Leicester; Distance, APT Gallery, London; The Parallax View, Airspace, Stoke on Trent. Forthcoming exhibitions include Indoor Life, Walden Affairs, The Hague, Holland. Curated projects include Marbled Reams , Keep Floors and Passages Clear ,and Moot (co-director), Nottingham - www.keepfloorsandpassagesclear.com - www.marbledreams.com - www.mootgallery.org
Gallery open Thursday - Saturday 12pm - 6pm
October 23rd - November 22nd
Preview Friday 23rd October 6-9pm
Castle & Elephant, Unit 11, City Arcade, Coventry, CV1 3HX