Underpinned by the Movements of Freighters
1st - 16th July 2021,
The Florence Trust,
St Saviour’s Church,
London, N5 2AR
Private View: 1st July
Launching on July 1st, Underpinned by the Movements of Freighters seeks to tease out the strange links between mythology and industry. The exhibition, including the work of twelve artists, is situated in The Florence Trust, a grade-1 listed Neo-gothic church turned artist studios. Alongside this exhibition, a limited-edition zine will be released, which explores some of the specific, real-world impacts of the relationship between mythologies and industry.
Mythologies have a great deal of power, serving different agendas over time. The nuclear family is one of these mythologies. If we trace the lineage of this myth, we find its origins in England, an approval by the Church, and a key role in the Industrial Revolution. After this it is exported as the fundamental Modern social unit, considered to have a high moral character. It is in this moral understanding that we can almost grasp another, deeper mythology. It is the fundamental myth of the West that to become ‘Modern’ is to go through the process of industrialisation.
Underpinned by the Movements of Freighters aims to unpick any binary understanding of mythologies, and instead show how their trajectories intersect with industrial developments. The exhibition presents a cosmic soup of mythological and industrial influences, where you will find slippery truth in references to the darker side of folklore, the alchemical beginning of the scientific method, unused patents, and verdant utopias.
By situating the exhibition and zine launch in the Romantic architecture of The Florence Trust, whilst the reverence of nature and the ephemeral seep back into contemporary culture, Underpinned by the Movements of Freighters pays a wary homage to Romanticism whilst critically updating and contextualising the overlap for the contemporary world.
In Ajla Zihan Yi’s ‘Membrane’ a screen sits on industrial materials, displaying a 3D modelled avatar in a constant state of flux, attempting to identify the boundaries of their anatomy. This high-tech installation turns Romantic ideals on their head, focussing not on the internal struggle of a clearly defined hero but instead the frontier between self and perception. The fluidity of the being repeats the logic of the latex forms around the screen, which are in stark contrast to the rigidity of the gothic brickwork of the church.
In a similar material tension, Susan Jacobs’ work presents a steel platform supporting steaming ceramic bricks infused with holy basil, based on 17th century recipes for the spontaneous creation of scorpions. The work simultaneously pays homage to the industrial and mythical histories of the ceramic brick, whilst investigating the absurd origins of the scientific method.
Throughout the space, the three meter high arches of the church are filled to display a wallpaper by Scott Young. Young’s installation discreetly brings into question the line between the decorative and fine arts. His wallpaper serves the same fate as all wallpaper in providing a backdrop to other works. The paintings include Kemi Onabule’s utopic visions of a verdant world populated by ambiguous figures, and Salome Wu’s otherworldly canvases, displaying ethereal beings that blend between background and foreground.
The zine by the same title serves to provide examples of the real world impact of the themes in the exhibition. Sabeen Chaudhry explores the rich history of salted-caramel and it’s transition from fantasy into ubiquity, Sherie Sitauze looks into quantum mechanics and their ability to provide resistance to colonialist thinking, and Cole Denyer’s poem explores the anachronism of London’s commuter belt.
Gabriel Birch (b.1983, Bahrain) is an artist, researcher and educator. Gabriel will be creating a new installation.
Sabeen Chaudhry (b.1990, UK), is a poet and researcher writing a new piece for the zine on the status and origins of luxury food in the West.
Jane Davies (b.1993, Canada) is an artist with no formal arts education, living and working in London. Jane will be exhibiting a small ceramic piece.
Nina Davies (b. 1991, Canada) is an artist and researcher writing a an essay for the zine on the intersections between slow motion capture technology, control and social media.
Cole Denyer (b. 1993, UK) is an artist and poet contributing a section of the poem ‘OUR VILLAGE’ to the zine.
Bryan Dooley (b.1987, UK) will be installing Data Barge (Emma), that draws upon research into dormant patents currently owned by Google designed to move data farms out to sea.
Ashleigh Fisk (b.1997, UK) is an artist and ceramicist currently enrolled on the Slade’s BA program, she will be contributing a printed artwork.
Sophie Goodchild (b.1993, UK) is an artist based in London, Sophie is developing a new work for the exhibition.
Susan Jacobs (b.1977, Australia) is an artist and educator working in the UK, she will be making a new sculpture for this exhibition.
Alix Marie (b.1989, France) is an artist and will be adapting the glass limbs she exhibited at Sucer La Nuit, 2019, Musée des Beaux Arts Le Locle.
Kemi Onabule (b.1995, UK) a British artist of Nigerian/Greek descent whose practice is a response to a world seemingly in chaos. She will be exhibiting a painting.
Richard Phoenix (b. 1981, UK) is an artist and activist writing for the zine on the myth of abnormality, in the context of Radical Disability.
Stephany Pollard (b. 1987, UK) is an artist and writer, she will be contributing a new piece for the zine on the significance of chainmail.
Luke Samuel (b.1992, Wales) is currently enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools. Luke will be exhibiting a painting.
Sherie Sitauze (b. 1998, Zimbabwe) is an artist who will be writing a piece for the zine based on the quantum mechanical perspective of time, and it’s relation to colonialism.
Huhtamaki Wab (b. 1984, Japan) is an artist living and working in Devon, they will be contributing a printed artwork for the zine.
Salome Wu (b.1996, China) is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in London. Salome will be exhibiting a painting.
Ajla Zihan Yi (b.1995, China) lives and works between London and Beijing. Ajl a will be exhibiting a sculpture.
Scott Young (b.1991, USA) is producing a wallpaper and painting for the exhibition.
Curated by: Joe Moss