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Your Space Or Mine

DIVISION/REVISION

DIVISION/REVISION curated by Uta Kögelsberger for Your Space Or Mine, brings together sixteen internationally acclaimed artists to address the questions ‘What brings us together?’ and ‘What pushes us apart?’ Sure in the knowledge that certain issues can do both.

“The last three years have seen fundamental changes to how we relate to one another as individuals and as a society. Britain has exited from the European Union; the pandemic has bought new geographies to our daily lives; Black Lives Matter has voiced powerful articulations of systemic inequality. Division/Revision is a reflection on how relations are being re-defined through seismic shifts in the current social and political landscape.”

Uta Kögelsberger

 

With everything in such a state of flux it seems fitting that participating artists’ work will appear on sixteen billboards and change daily for sixteen consecutive days in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and Glasgow.

As you might expect the individual artworks are hugely diverse. From plain-speaking to intriguing, visually metaphoric to fantastical, playful to symbolic… Together they act as a fascinating, multi-perspectival intervention in the public realm that holds a mirror up to the turbulent and mutable times we are living through.

04.03.21

Words by Adrian Burnham

Where Do You End And I Begin? by Mark Titchner

Mark Titchner’s contribution poses an apparently simple question Where Do You End And I Begin? on a visually cacophonous background that on reflection questions boundaries of the self and state, of physical connection and group consciousness. Titchner was excited by the prospect of his work appearing on billboards across the UK, “One of the effects of the tectonic shifts of this last year is that the space we problematically call the ‘public realm’ has taken on a new and uncanny aspect. While seemingly physically familiar our experience of this space is radically different, however, we experience it in the form of a ghost of itself.”

Lifted (2017) by Melanie Manchot

Lifted (2017) by Melanie Manchot is a still from a collaborative project Dance (All Night, London). Five youthful figures are pictured jumping, apparently suspended in mid-air: an expression of collective joy and a challenge to often authoritative codes of behaviour in public space. Situated on the threshold between documentary and staged events, Manchot’s work frequently involves an engagement with strangers. “In Lifted,“ she says, “bodies are acting together as an assemblage of dancers forming multiple relations to the specifics of this urban space: its signs, architectures, graffiti, objects. As a photographic images it speaks to the stillness of a brief moment, stilled by the camera, while pointing to the flow that precedes and follows.”

Mothership (2021) by Larry Achiampong

Larry Achiampong’s work addresses issues concerning Africa and African diasporic identities, his contribution to Division/Revision is the latest in a series of flags the artist has made, titled Mothership (2021) it flies in ‘praise, honour and respect to the centre of community: black womxn.’

Cronyism is English for Corruption (2021) by Jeremy Deller

Cronyism is English for Corruption (2021) by Jeremy Deller is a typically direct poster work. In terms of time of production it specifically alludes to the mishandling of public funds in purchasing of PPE, etc., during the pandemic but the nostalgia loaded red, white and blue colour scheme suggests betrayal of the public by politicians is nothing new.

Belvedere (2020) by Fiona Crisp

Fiona Crisp’s Belvedere 2020 wittily frames J.M.W. Turner’s favoured Lake District scene with a window of card painted to resemble brickwork, raising issues of land ownership and the construction of ‘views’ both visual and ideological. “Division/Revision creates an incredible opportunity for an artwork to have a fleeting exchange with an unexpecting and unexpected audience […] Temporarily inserted within the fabric of the city it plays with dualities of inside and outside, public and private, confinement and freedom, rural and urban.”

Political Decadence, Disoriented Nations (2021) by Jasmina Cibic

In Jasmina Cibic’s Political Decadence, Disoriented Nations (2021) we see a barefooted young girl in a blue dress carrying a drum strapped to her small frame. The title of the work is printed across the taught batter head of the drum. With the solitary figure absently staring off into space, small and alone against a blank background the work exudes a plaintive, vulnerable air. Cibic believes current governments are mortgaging our childrens’ future, “So many countries are gambling with their education and support structures. The poster is a call to all children to understand their power and the right to denounce their instrumentalization by political forces.”

Gapado Island and Wedded Rocks, Conjoined After Typhoon Hagibis (2021) by Jane & Louise Wilson

Gapado Island and Wedded Rocks, Conjoined After Typhoon Hagibis (2021) by Jane & Louise Wilson is a striking juxtaposition of two panoramic landscapes before and after a tropical cyclone. Jan Avgikos wrote in Artforum about their work, “They distil a stunning vision of the natural world, marrying discovery with inaccessibility, reverie and demise.”

Lessons in Belonging (2021) by Albera Whittle

Alberta Whittle’s practice is concerned with self-care and compassion as key tactics in confronting anti-blackness in a society where xenophobia is entrenched. Beyond an initial impression of sunny, paradisiacal watercolours Whittle’s Lessons in Belonging (2021) present contradictory remarks that reveal the duplicity and insincerity that can lie behind apparent ‘beauty’. “The billboard becomes a place to ask questions of public space, to think about who is welcome and who is being spoken to,” the artist explained.

Sovereignty (2021) by Victor Burgin

A hugely influential artist and writer, Sovereignty (2021) Victor Burgin’s contribution – produced using video game software – is an enigmatic scene wherein a young woman sits reading amidst symbols of wrecked civilisations. An Alice in Wonderland style text mocks the delusions of sovereignty in a globally interdependent world.

Baa’s House 3 (2021) by Hetain Patel

Hetain Patel’s work weaves together famous characters from popular culture with those on the margins of society. Baa’s House 3 (2021) is a linear rendition of a large family portrait flanked by classic cartoon figures from the 1980s. The insertion of Transformer characters acts as a metaphor for intercultural imitation, disguise and change.

John Kippin

John Kippin’s contribution to Division/Revision reproduces an old postcard picture of Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s favourite residence. The words ‘BRITAIN’S No1 BESTSELLER’ and ‘YOUR PLACE’ overprint the image, drawing attention to the wealth, extensive ownership and privilege associated with the monarchy and the public’s changing attitudes towards them. Kippin suggested, “Billboards create a particular kind of dialogue between the artist and the public. One that is about the presented image but it is also about all billboard images, past and present. It’s a context that is rich in possibilities and open to endless interpretations at all levels of engagement.”

Together/Apart (2021) by Uta Kögelsberger

Division/Revision curator Uta Kögelsberger’s work wonders, ‘By what right does one person question the legitimate presence of another?’ Challenging the assumption that being born somewhere confers authority, privilege and licence to assume power over those deemed ‘alien’. The artist takes particular delight in the fact that her Together/Apart (2021) – along with all the other works – is part of a UK wide exhibition that evolves on a daily basis. “Not being able to see it as a whole in one go creates a strong metaphoric relationship to the complex entanglements […] of what keeps us together and what pulls us apart.” The mode of display reflecting, “the precariousness of any state of permanent togetherness. Instead it is in constant flux.” A ladder leans vertically across Kögelsberger’s work. A nod to the exhibition’s means of display: 16 daily billboard street performances, ups and downs. By subtle implication we’re confronted with the snakes and ladders of belonging.

The New Meridians (2021) photographic triptych by Eva Stenram

The New Meridians (2021) photographic triptych by Eva Stenram combines disparate, physically distant European landscapes to question histories, conflicts, power and shifting alignments across the continent, bringing to mind the uncertainty of connections between people and nations. The artist said, “In pandemic and post-Brexit 2021 many connections are once again uncertain. Grids and demarcations are being redrawn, new meridians are being created.”

Ingrid Pollard

Ingrid Pollard is a photographer, media artist and researcher concerned with representation, history and landscape with reference to race, difference and the materiality of lens based media. Her contribution to Division/Revision – a unique series of toned photographs – is typically non-didactic. Pollard often presents work in such a way as to encourage viewers to see her subjects afresh and generate their own thoughts and questions. ‘Touch’, ‘Feel’ and ‘Together’ are clearly words we might associate with the current pandemic but are these the hands of a gymnast, a wrestler, baker or farm labourer? We don’t know. Just as we can’t be sure what the future holds when we finally cease to be locked down and locked out of togetherness.

Londonium (2021) by Rut Blees Luxemburg

Londonium (2021) by Rut Blees Luxemburg is a typically luminous photograph of a shuttered shopfront at night, business signage references the law, the body and hierarchies of agency. In large white spray can lettering the word ‘criminal’ is tagged across the shining black metal shutter.

Spectral Scripts Reluctantly Festoon Tantric Dungeon On A Billboard by Hardeep Pandhal

Hardeep Pandhal’s work for Division/Revision reproduces one of his strangely mesmeric drawings that imagine an idiosyncratic cast of distressed figures and odd heraldic motifs. Spectral Scripts Reluctantly Festoon Tantric Dungeon On A Billboard is riotous, comical and cartoon gory: a satirical representation of an encounter between two parties and things are not looking so good for one of them.

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