the arts territory exchange is a correspondence program which pairs up artists across the world And opens up a space within which to generate new ideas around our personal territories and topographies, through a simple pen-pal style exchange.
News: Sustainable practice, the CSPA and Art AIA-Creatives/In/Residence.
We are very excited about the development of a new project – the Arts Territory Exchange Residency in Sustainable Practice will be an off shoot programme to our ‘residency by correspondence’ and has been formed in collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA). One existing ATE pairing per year will be offered the opportunity to develop and hone their practices in relation to ideas of ecology and sustainability- they will also have the chance to bring a collaborative project to fruition with tutorial support from a number of ‘expert’ academics and artists in the field and will be offered a space to meet face to face, work in a shared studio, put on their own exhibition and present their work to the public through events and talks.
This residency ‘space’ will be hosted by Art Aia- Creatives/ In/ Residence which is a cultural Centre and creative residency programme located on an eco-farm in the Friulian countryside of Northern Italy in the Province of Pordenone. Art Aia shares many crossovers with the interests of the Arts Territory Exchange including a contextual interest in the polarities between the ‘international’ and the ‘local’ and a facilitation of cultural activities which serve to remove and break down barriers to communication across borders. To this end Art Aia is strongly committed to a promotion of exchange and collaboration between artists from different nationalities and backgrounds and offers a space where artists can spend time studying, developing new projects, host workshops, seminars and hold exhibitions.
Art Aia is also an ecology centre, immersed in the Friulan territory, where it is possible to become familiar with sustainable agricultureand innovative practices of ‘eco-therapy’. They have been working with artists and academics in recent years on the theme of ‘Resilience’ within arts and ecology and continue to develop their ethos of furthering creativity as a ‘cultural resource’ within a natural setting and fostering new relationships between humanity, art and nature.
Art Aia also run an interesting venue called La Dolce Berlin in Berlin Germany where they host artists and support them in the development of their work with exhibitions and immersion in the Berlin Arts scene.
We are looking forward to developing our Arts Territory Exchange Residency in Sustainable Practicewith the support of Art Aia and will be publishing more soon, including confirmation of selection panel members and details on how to apply.
Elizabeth Schoen’s recent works reflect the complicated minutia of a domestic territory and the tensions between the artists desire for order and the chaos created by her children. Schon makes playful investigation into her own neurosis and her fantasy that she may ‘return to a room one day and find it exactly the way I left it’. This is tempered by her fascination and intrigue at her children’s various installations, arrangements and traces.
Schoen says ‘Suddenly I stop myself from dismantling an unintended installation and for the first time see what they were doing. A haphazard stack of random objects precariously balance as a momentary sculpture. A dinosaur perched on the kitchen table chomps on dry crackers. The leftover meatballs that fit so perfectly through a round hole in a box role around as I pick it up. I am suddenly aware of their tangible existence in our home, the way they shape our space, and the logic and the absurdity behind their explorations’.
The children’s accidental exhibits have become reflective moments for Schon, suspending her desire for order and instead photographing them; a rope stretches wall to wall across a window, perhaps blu-tacked in place, an egg sits incarcerated inside a whisk, maybe forced there by small hands. An arrangement of cushions balances precariously between a sofa, a coffee table, an upturned tricycle and lego pieces in carefully placed rows create beautiful lines of colour.
The children hold no attachment to their creations says Schon, destroying whatever they have elaborately created with gleeful abandon. The photographs are testament to a moment carefully preserved containing the dual desires, for both order and the chaos of a child’s intimate explorations of their home territory.
Schoen’s work feeds into a narrative which perhaps only parents or carers will understand, the interior topographies which need careful navigation and re-exploration when you find yourself at home for long stretches of time, the repetition of domestic chores creating an interior territory which can seem vast and pervasive if not in some way challenged and playfully re-configured.
Untitled photographs – Elizabeth Schoen.
Elizabeth Schoen lives in the Netherlands. She joined the Arts Territory Exchange in January.
Arts Territory Exchange participant Julia Groves is a multidisciplinary artist with a recent focus on drawing exploring ethnobotanical themes. Her practice is informed by many years working as a horticulturist and by the historical and contemporary traditions of botanical art and illustration and their re-configurations within contemporary drawing practice.
She used Goethian observation techniques to study plant structure, geometry, colour and pattern. Groves engages with specimens in her local landscape and regularly accesses National plant collections such as Bedgebury Pinetum Florilegium.
Her work has as one of its interests the endeavours of Botanical societies in saving and preserving species and the transient territories of specimens gathered from distant parts of the world on seed gathering trips and expeditions. The themes of territory and habitat heavily inform her work and she has an active interest in ethnobotanical investigation and connections whether spiritual, symbolic or cultural, between plants and their place within regional indigenous cultures. Behind the traditional practice of ethnobotany resides the long and complicated history of the Colonial research expedition and the wide network of travel cast by intrepid specimen collectors which led to the formation of the major Botanical gardens such as Kew. Groves work is also often informed by personal itinerancy as she traverses her local topography on foot; reflecting on the plants she finds and their migrant or indigenous territories and the possible journeys of the seeds on their wind blown trajectories.
Groves is in the process of making her own migration from Kent to Suffolk and is using her transition from one territory to another as a catalyst for a new body of work as part of the Arts Territory Exchange.