The role of exhibition design as an artist for Hankering for Classification

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Family Meal

We were delighted to gain an insight from Poppy Whatmore on her thoughts to date for this unique role of exhibition design as artist for the current Hankering for Classification project. Here is what she had to say:

‘Through research of the selected work and collaboration with the artists the installation will be an expansive, raw, skeletal, wooden structure of living units.  The focus on responding to the project is to catalogue the works in a framework, allowing the viewer to pass through (door frames in some cases) into an installation facilitating an integral response  to a classification of objects. For instance, the viewer is part of the work as they experience the structure underneath them: ‘miniature office furniture’ works encapsulated and highlighted between the construct of floorboards in the case of Claire Tindale.  A ceiling framework expands overhead encapsulating Kwong Lee’s collection, ‘The Transpennine Memorabilia Collection’: a loose assemblage of discarded memorabilia symbolizing a Northern England super region. Each artists’ collection will be integrated with furniture objects exploding out of cutting through the catalogued setting relocating the viewer from the original sense of order and composition of objects. The work plays with memory exposing fragments of past events into reality with a physical presence.’

Image: C. Poppy Whatmore, ‘Family Meal’.

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Ruth Barker focusing in on Anna Freud

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After spending time at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust (a research and practicing centre for mental health), Tall Tales artist in residence Ruth Barker has honed in on connections to Anna Freud. After learning more about Anna, the ‘father of psychoanalysis’ Sigmund Freud’s sixth child and a pioneering psychologist in her own right, Ruth was delighted to meet staff at the Freud Museum which has influenced her thinking further, with the museum and Anna Freud Centre being only a short walk from the Tavistock Centre.

Ruth has been looking into the relationship between the two psychoanalysts – in particular learning how as a result of Freud’s battle with cancer he ironically lost the ability to speak, with the ground-breaking, and possibly ‘mother’ of child psychology, but lesser known Anna eventually becoming his voice.

These connections are merely a starting point for Ruth in considering the development of new works that may include both video and performance. Ruth has returned to Glasgow to continue her research and development also looking into, as she often does with her practice, key classical figures whose stories, for Ruth resonate with the story of Anna Freud and her father, for example the story of Cassandra.

Meanwhile the Wewioraprojects curators have been back to London to spend some more time with the collection and wonderful Curator and Librarian Karma Percy at the Tavistock Centre, as well as meet with the Freud Museum ourselves learning about the rich Anna Freud archive. Alongside an additional visit to  discover the inner workings of the neighbouring Central School of Speech and Drama, where many students are engaged in voice studies, it appears that the potential connections across the work of these Swiss Cottage/ Finchley Road area institutions, contextual links for Ruth’s developing work and the wider Tall Tales programme are keeping busy minds even busier!

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Hankering for Classification takes over TOAST, 14th November – 20th December 2014

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One half of Wewioraprojects, Elizabeth Wewiora and guest co-curator Matthew Pendergast are delighted to announce the confirmation of their first collaborative project, Hankering for Classification.

Hankering for Classification is a unique take on the role of classifying, archiving and collecting in contemporary arts practice.

London based artist Poppy Whatmore is working with the two Curators to create a large scale installation, which will respond to a selection of collection/ classifying based contemporary art work.  The structure will exist as a new piece of work in its own right but more over responds to the curatorial selection of the artists’ work – as a re-working of traditional exhibition design. Usin TOAST, the top floor project space of Castlefield Gallery’s new art spaces, Federation House, Poppy will be working alongside TOAST’s gallery coordinator Adam Renshaw to maximize on the vast scale of this space, treating this a an opportunity to expand the possibilities of exhibition design as a responsive art installation simultaneously.

The project can only exist through its curatorial selection of individual artists work, who dictate the nature of the materials, sensitively and design of the show. These artists include Katie Goodwin, Niall Macdonald, Martin Hamblen, Toby Huddlestone, Nicky Bird, Claire Tindale, Kwong Lee, Andrew Bracey and David Gledhill – who each take a shared interest but varied focal point on archiving, collection and re-using found imagery of objects within their practice.

The Curators will further host a series of events which coincide with the exhibition opening hours from artist talks, social gatherings to screenings and workshops.

To culminate this year’s TOAST programme, Elizabeth and Matthew have certainly offered a lot for TOAST to host!

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Images c. David Gledhill, Andrew Bracey, Toby Huddlestone, Katie Goodwin, Niall Macdonald, Poppy Whatmore, nicky Bird.

This project is kindly supported by Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England and Castlefield Gallery’s new art spaces

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A little more from Helen Wewiora on Tall Tales links at the Tavistock Centre

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article-2362089-1AC93A21000005DC-732_634x333As part of the current research and development stages of Wewioraprojects’ Tall Tales programme, both Helen Wewiora and artist-in-residence Ruth Barker, have been exploring the Tavistock Centre; the London based touring venue for the proposed forthcoming Tall Tales exhibition programme.

”The Tavistock Centre is home to The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and is the largest outpatient clinic in Europe offering psychological treatment to adults, adolescents, children and families and also provides training to professionals working in this field. Unknown to many though the Tavistock Centre is also the home to a a rich library collection as well as a large art collection that reaches into its hundreds. The art collection is not only overwhelmingly vast but also varied. Permanently hung throughout the Tavistock Centre, in its corridors and public spaces as well as teaching rooms and offices, the Tavistock Centre’s art collection feels almost part of the fabric of the building, as well as the every day life of all those that inhabit the building. A dedicated and hard working librarian and curator, Karma Percy, leads the collection and mounts temporary shows. Karma works tirelessly to care for the collection and the legacy of its founder, a rather visionary clinician Caroline Garland. As myself and Ruth explored the collection what struck us was not only the integration of the works into the day to day life of the centre, almost as if the collection had an unspoken life of its own as well as a set of relationships with the centre’s communities, but also the many routes via which the works have found their way into the building, often donated by artists, galleries and collectors.”

To find out more about just some of this vast collection, a hidden gem of art history, then you can follow the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/galleries/collections/the-tavistock-and-portman-nhs-foundation-trust-2460

(c) Mrs Annabel Obholzer; Supplied by The Public Catalogue FoundationImage C. Annabel Obholzer from the Tavistock and Portman Collection