Monday, 10 April 2017

Make Place by Sophie Lee at ArtWork Atelier, Salford

During my recent visit to Salford, I visited gallery and studio space, ArtWork Atelier. The exhibition in the gallery was Make Place by Sophie Lee.

The exhibition consisted of a number of video projections running simultaneously with a sound installation featuring two voices in dialogue, sometimes overlapping, coming from speakers positioned around the gallery. The projections mainly focused on the Icelandic coastline and seashots, but one projection included images of objects arranged in a domestic setting and an image of a space that was constructed in the gallery.

"Make Place is a solo exhibition by Sophie Lee investigating the artist’s interpretations into notions of the home and identity. Taking inspiration from her recent visit to a group of family owned islands off the West Coast of Iceland, Lee presents a gallery installation bringing together research from over the last eight-months.
During her visit to Iceland, Lee spent time with the family’s last remaining son, who in 1981, after the passing of his mother, took it upon himself to safe hold the family’s islands from the threat of sale. Taking up sole residency on the islands, he set about building wooden, family sized houses. Now, at the age of 75, having built twenty houses and one library, he continues his work, living in almost total isolation. Holding on to a sense of the un-finished, each house is unique and marks a lasting tribute to his mother and siblings. A place of contradictions and myth, the island and its inhabitant are fixed in a state of anticipation, nostalgia, transformation and change.

Bringing together her own narratives, experiences and documentation, Make Place is an exhibition that reinterprets this story from the experiences of the artist. Within the exhibition, Lee presents a fictional spoken word narrative between the island and the inhabitant.

Make Place has been developed and produced by Mark Devereux Projects with Sophie Lee over the last year. This exhibition signals the completion of the first research and development phase of the project, which has also included a talks programme concentrating on the thematics of domesticity and identity at Salford Museum & Art Gallery."

I attended one of the talks programmed alongside the exhibition.

Edward Hollis, architect, writer and teacher discussed the notion of what makes a home.

Drawing on his book, How to make a home, Hollis spoke about how our concept of home has changed over time. The desire for privacy is a modern invention.

We were asked to spend 60 seconds drawing a house. All but one of us in the audience drew a 2-storey building with a roof, windows, door, chimney and path. Hollis explained the tendency for us to draw such symmetrical buildings - a house is a place that presents an ordered facade to the world. 

A house offers shelter, warmth and food, and is detached from the rest of the world.

The stuff in our houses remind us of who we are and what we have to do.

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