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Memories of the Five Administrations

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2

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Date: 
Wednesday, 15 May 2024 to Saturday, 22 June 2024
Opening: 
Wednesday, 15 May 2024 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

British conceptualists Simon Bedwell and Stephen Sutcliffe, coalesce individual approaches to poetic satire and knowledges of modern and contemporary popular culture in a collaborative exhibition fusing ceramics, video and painting. 

Bedwell’s recent experiments in monumental ceramic ‘statuary’ have created technical challenges that have led to his innovations in fired ceramic: a flexible system that creates a bespoke ‘kiln’ for each sculpture.  The new, large-scale ceramics, inspired by contemporary figures, depart from the tradition of British cartoonists from James Gillray (1756-1815) to Steve Bell (born 1950). These amorphous forms become the support for new video works by Stephen Sutcliffe: fired ceramics that incorporate spaces for screens and technical equipment. Sutcliffe’s digital video collages and murals draw on the artist’s extensive archive of British television, film sound, broadcast images and spoken word recordings. 

Bedwell and Sutcliffe are of the generation and social class for whom mass, state-funded TV, and the music press, served as introductions to experimental art and European philosophy, as well as pop music and fashion. Together, the artists seek to embody an empowerment of under-represented voices through the subversion of orthodox boundaries, between frame and image, object and space, medium and support. This new collaboration is commissioned to respond to Beaconsfield’s unique gallery environment, where sculptural installation is understood as the critical process of trying things out. 

Bedwell and Sutcliffe merge figurative, sculpted bodies with figurative filmmaking, and the apparatus that ‘film’, or video, relies upon to be shown.

Artist ( Description ): 

Glasgow based artist Stephen Sutcliffe (1968, Harrogate) creates film collages from an extensive archive of British television, film sound, broadcast images and spoken word recordings which he has been collecting since childhood. Often reflecting on aspects of British culture and identity, the results are melancholic, poetic and satirical amalgams which subtly tease out and critique ideas of class-consciousness and cultural authority. Through an extensive editing process Sutcliffe’s works pitch sound against image to subvert predominant narratives, generating alternative readings through the juxtaposition and synchronization of visual and aural material.

Simon Bedwell is best known for his hand-manipulated trashed posters and photographs, using text and spray-paint to generate esoteric, strangely poignant or crass comedic fusions of word and image. Using ClipArt and WordArt software, available to almost anybody with a computer, Simon Bedwell’s posters combine found pictures with words and phrases, real and invented. Whilst destroying the quick-hit, constantly shifting message of this ephemeral material, Simon Bedwell also saves it, giving it new weight and an object-quality that meanwhile retains an echo of the familiar.

Bedwell draws on the visual vernacular of the streets, employing the cheap and throwaway nostalgia of posters scavenged from billboards, bargain bins and thrift stores as raw materials to fragment, divert and elaborate the original meaning into absurd compositions, poetic narratives and sardonic allegories of power. As in much of Simon Bedwell’s work, a wide range of visual material, from promotional blurbs to local newspaper headlines, from ’50s photography to Communist Bloc advertising, combines to shape the final images. Some of the posters have had their transient commercial directives so intertwined with the artist’s fictional and material alterations that it is impossible to tell where the original ends and the mutation begins.

Telephone: 
020 7582 6465
Venue ( Address ): 

Beaconsfield
22 Newport Street
Vauxhall
London
SE11 6AY

Beaconsfield , London

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