Ideas in Action / Proposal for a group exhibition
Working Title : Hit&Miss
‘Landing on a bit of tarmac...I love flying by the seat of someone else's pants’ George Edward Brown
Maria Magdalena Theotoky
‘They put you in a box, close the lid, cover you in oil, you are sick, you’re in Paris!’
An exhibition curated by Simon Withers . Hit & Miss brings together the work of nine international artists who all perceive concerns about flight and airports.
Swiss Artist Lazerus Scott originates from a nation whose national airline has a near 100% perfect safety record in the skies. Scott’s Confidence in this fact is lacking. In his video works the presentation of his evidence is bared in ‘Hit & Miss.’ In the series of short autonomous films collectively titled ‘Knobs, knockers, whistles & bangs’ , Lazerus Scott dons a flight captains hat and reads from a series of transcripts taken from the Black box voice recorders of erstwhile doomed flights. Scott sits reciting these transcripts from the luxury of a comfy chair. With the completion of each reading Lazarus Scott deftly folds the transcript into a paper aeroplane and launches it into space.
Thomas Sinclair is a Canadian artist who lives and works in London. Sinclair perhaps is in ore of the heaviness of aircraft. He has replicated a models of a passenger jet in miniature. His hand cast lead aircraft have been put to use in a series of three works. ‘Open Skies’ is a large black and white photograph of clouds. Dancing amongst these giant forms are strategically placed small inconsequential lead aircraft. All aloft but never quite destined to reach their destination. I am reminded of the film ‘The day of the Triffids’ and you may wish to recall the portion of the film where the captain is literarily flying blind , the consequence of the alien meteor storm. I saw that film the day before I first boarded a aeroplane.
In ‘Post’ aircraft from the very same mould puncture picture post cards at varying degrees to the image. Some are clearly destined to crash, some into buildings, this was done pre September 11th. Others are undertaking flight paths into farce. Some offer a slightly more optimistic path, they are at least flying on a straight and level course. ‘Sunset’ is a small photographic work, a gorgeous vista of intense reds and oranges radiate in front of a single gold aircraft heading towards the sun. I hope it's to warmer climates that this dream plane is heading rather than into a nightmare, a captain piloting his aircraft into the heart of the sun.
Simon Withers exhibits one large painting ‘R-udimentary flying’ is a colossal interpretation of a child’s drawing of an aircraft. Withers has subverted this image by sincerely altering the trajectory of the aircraft. This is quite naturally in the playful mind of an adult is the direction of terra firma. This may however not necessarily propose that the aircraft is going to crash; although that seems likely observing at the angle of decent. It is just possible that through the eyes of a child this is the natural position a child may presume an aircraft would adopt in order for it to come into land.
As homage to an era before the Golden age of Flying, George Edward Brown has produced a Series of road maps retained in glass Vitrines. Brown has interfered with these maps and added objects of aviation interest. These route maps are laden with references as to how those early pioneers navigated the skies. Artistry and playfulness had been used by Brown and the Pioneers of aviation flying. All manor of items would have aided the pilots towards their destination. ‘Forced landing nr Railway line’(Map#2) contains the vital red cross marking the position to land near the railway line. After all the passengers would need to continue their journey even if the plane could not. An arrow also directs the pilot towards the nearest airfield. The legend , ‘All weather Mac’? heads a list of numbers and crosses. These crosses and arrows hide many secrets. Are they indications of later crash sites? Are these maps an anoraks guide to failed flights?
‘We’ve arrived’(Map#5) Contains a small portable semaphore kit. Broken machine parts and electrical cable; this is hardly memento’s from a successful flight . ‘Landing by Smell’ (Croydon beacon Map#18) Offers a choice of perfume bottles, For nose recognition; a sent of the sewerage works or the Perfume factory. ‘Flair Out, Landing anywhere’(Map#21) An un generous 15ft length of cord on a bobbin had been a tried and tested landing aid in the early 1910’s. Brown has produced a beautiful interpretation of this device. With skills of an artisan, a hand crafted weight and an attachment for a light source at the foot of this gadget has been combined to the bobbin. Is this a real or an imaginary contraption for landing?
Julia Felix in ‘Under Wings’ has suspended over 100 hand made paper aircraft from the gallery ceiling. Each one has been painstaking cut out and folded from single A4 sheets of paper. The paper form reflects the assembly processes that govern any duplication manufacturing processes. Each paper plane is nurtured by Felix into being. A table in the education space allows the visitor to attempt to make one of Julia’s aircraft.
Amanda Charrington ‘I had parents who loved visiting Air shows in the 1970’s. Being so young I had to go along with them. We would stand for hours watching plane after plane fly up and down a bit of tarmac. I hated it. My dad always took his super 8 camera to these displays to film them in his shaky vision style . Weeks later the film would come back from the processing lab, we’d sit in our front room. The curtains drawn too and with a room full of invited friends, we’d sit down to view dads home movies. It was dull, dull, dull.’
‘I’m glad now however; I saw a whole squadron of Vulcan bombers scramble from Duxford’s run-way. The sound of those Olympus engines was incredible. You had to be there.’
In Amanda Charrington’s film, ‘Come around to my home’ Charrington has re edited her father’s old super 8 film and transferred it onto video. Viewers are invited to sit in two handy and portable arm chairs (the sort Amanda must wish had been invented in the 70’s) to view the film. We are given no indication how long the film lasts or even if some of the footage has been repeated.
Blue Max in the work, ‘I am your Captain’ dashes off dozens of paper aeroplanes during a routine and hum-drum flight from point A to point B. Scattered on the floor of fuselage are the remains of his endeavours. ‘What Goes up, must come down!’ is the legend written on each of the paper darts.
Blue Max sits upon a seat at one end of a corridor, it is an assimilation of a 737 fuselage complete with escape exits, low level lighting and oxygen masks. Max adorns a Captains outfit, he records the days flight in his log book. The flight begins. For the duration of the performance Blue Max begins to make rudimentary paper darts from a stack of 500 (especially printed for the performance) A4 sheets of paper. As each one is made Blue max launches it down the passageway, Max documents in his log book the rough distance flown by the dart; the distance judged by Max counting down the lines of the hanging masks. The masks act as metaphors for the faces of the passengers, as distance markers for recording flight length and as obstacles/hazards which get in the way of the flight path of the paper aircraft. Blue Max begins work on the next paper dart, continuing until the flight duration is completed. The performance length is determined by the length of time relating to real flights undertaken by a 737.
‘The man is tall, wearing a brown jacket, he’s with a woman, who has a camera I think they are...!’ This installation by the Chinese Artist known as Wisemann consists of rows of suitcases. All individually tagged with the aforementioned title. To complete the legend the origin and nationality of the owner is added. American, the suitcase could be described as being a fat suitcase, A German case, swish and sophisticated, English; fat and bulging...another American suitcase.
Maria Magdalena Theotoky’s works ‘Omelettes aren’t made with out breaking eggs’ are a series of photographic portraits, each image is of a person or persons holding a model of an aircraft. One is hugging the plane, another is holding it aloft as to release it? A third seems seduced by the potency of the form, the aircraft as sexual toy. A couple stand either side of the aircraft, each holding on a tip of a wing. Maria photographs herself with an aircraft, her arm held aloft above her head with an aircraft balanced on her out stretched palm of her hand. What each image conveys are a series of performances of duration. The persons in the photographs will have been holding the aircraft for as long as they are able to.
Airports are the ‘No man’s land’ in peace time and all the worlds peoples’ can be found in these hubs. A synopsis of ‘Hit & Miss’ by the writer Adrian Carr-Heart
Promotional material ideas
Invite : A specially designed boarding card that upon entry into the private view is ripped along the perforation by a steward.
Thereafter If you bring the boarding card to the exhibition, the perforation is removed and a specially commissioned enamelled badge is given to the visitor. (this could be another artist)
Opening hospitality : Airline type meals are served during the opening, these are naturally served on the customary airline type trays with the usual plastic cutlery. Or as (curators talk/evening which people pay to attend)
Trolley service during the open evening.
Publication idea : This easy to take a way item of literature is packaged in a sick bag. Upon opening the bag the cover design of the publication reflects the nature of ‘Black Box’ design. (yellow and black stripe design) or - very similar in print quality to an in-flight magazine.
Installations : Blue Max performance work & Installation ‘I am Your Captain’ Wisemann ‘The man is tall ......’
Julia Felix in ‘Under Wings’ George Edward Brown ‘Vitrines’
Video : Amanda Charrington ‘Come around to my home’ Lazarus Scott ‘Knobs, knockers, whistles & bangs’
Wall Based Work : Thomas Sinclair ‘Open Skies’
Maria Magdalena Theotoky ‘Omelettes aren’t made with out breaking eggs’ Simon Withers ‘R-udimentary flying’