Artist Meets Curator see their first project open this week with a three day show in the Edwardian Toilets on Park Row, ‘Here more concentrated, sparser there’.
Working in print, sculpture and animation, Gemma Wright‘s work investigates the relationship between image and object, creating optical landscapes of mathematical shapes inspired by the interior of this intriguing locked location.
Artist meets Curator invited me to write a new text for the show. They suggested I read Calvino’s Invisible Cities, from which the title of the show is taken, and take a look around the site – a private public space lost in the middle of Park Row where old perfumes still swill out of a cabinet where blank postcards are still stacked up, waiting to send someone a story that always ends with ‘Wish you were here’.
I started to think about spaces in the city opening and closing, a flickering array, chattering stomata.
I started to think particularly about fritillary flowers, which can still be found growing wild in spaces where the soils have not been disturbed, in woodland, wetland and ancient meadows, but are otherwise tended in gardens. And so they grow “here more concentrated, sparser there”, suggesting how we might map out those columns of soil that have stayed still and those that have been turned over, ploughed over, paved over. Plus, its bizarre chessboard patterning matches the Edwardian toilets’ Ennerdale tiling, so there was this sudden tessellation for me.
Fritillary start to sprout up at this time of year. I had tip offs that they were appearing at Moseley Old Hall in Wolverhampton and in private gardens, but no one had seen them closer to Bristol in parks or woodland yet. I googled and walked and peered under hedges and I had just about given up on having a cutting of some of these strange chess flowers at the reading this week when I walked into the garden at the back of my house where the motorway meets the railway line and the culverted River Frome runs under our feet. There they were, three solemn bells, looking at the ground.
I will be reading my new story Lazarus Bell at the preview of ‘Here more concentrated, sparser there’ on Thursday at 8pm.
And a short text and short offshoot of this project will be appearing for one night only as part of Pyramid Schemes, an immersive installation of sixty 100-word fictions responding to ‘the city’ at the White Building in Hackney Wick produced by Lawrence Lek and The White Review. That one night is the night of the 2nd May and you can book your excellent self in here.