Tocsin Bang: Stephen Felmingham | Until 28 April 2011
Salon winner Stephen Felmingham is having a Leeds based exhibition at East Street Arts, Union 105
Venue: Union 105
105 Chapeltown Road, Leeds LS7 3HY.
11th- 28th April 2011
12 – 6pm (except Fridays, weekends and Bank Holidays)
‘Tocsin Bang’ is the codeword used by the Royal Observer Corps after a nuclear strike on the United Kingdom during the Cold War
Union 105 will present objects, drawings and a video work made during the last twelve to fourteen months in response to the Cold War observation posts that have formed part of Stephen Felmingham’s field research and studio drawing practice. This exhibition aims to allow Stephen the opportunity to develop artwork relating to his practice-led Phd ‘Drawing, Place and the Contemporary Sublime’, University of Leeds.
“Recent work has centred on the bunkers and installations that were a part of my childhood in the militarized landscapes of East Anglia. Part of the ‘everyday’ of this childhood landscape were the hilltop observation posts of the Observer Corps. These installations were the underground concrete rooms for the Corps, occupied in split shifts for twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year between the late 1950’s and 1992 and covering the UK in a consistent network. The bunkers provide me with objects and material for drawing and are ‘charged’ places in my practice. They act as conceptual and physical ‘laboratories’ from where the drawing experiments into the subtle field of perceptions that form the work can emerge. They represent the centre of a sphere of observation, a place in which the world is reduced to the narrowest of perceptual apertures with which to regard the blinding flash on the edge of the horizon: a moment of the apocalyptic sublime. Each post had a total view of a landscape overlapping with that of the next post in its sector – within sight like the ancient systems of beacons (often sited on the same hilltops) to warn of invasion or disaster.”
The posts now have the air of abandonment with a sense of kicked chairs and hurried departure. Often they have become utterly ruined or become a refuge for persons unknown, containing cooking stoves, enigmatic objects and empty cans. It is important to me that the posts contain a series of objects that are common to each one- objects such as warning siren crates, standard issue beds, intercom units, brushes/pans etc. The bathos of these objects is telling- they connect the occupants countrywide. Often what remains are the materials of cleaning, of washing of the body, reflecting the futility of these actions in the circumstances of mutually assured destruction. They represent a dissolution – or as Julia Kristevea puts it – “the abject, edged with the sublime” (Kristeva, Powers of Horror, 1982, p.20.)
“..a very strange enmeshing of things that seem to be coming from very different radio stations….there is this notion that there could be a kind of polyphony or collage or a stacking up of things on top of one another to create an interesting alignment between two drawings or texts or objects. There is a possibility to read through, and take on a different, lateral analysis or research into what actually might be being said.”
Cerith Wyn Evans, Second First Committee Hearings, International Necronautical Society
For more information about Stephen’s work please visit the Axis website.
For further information relating to the exhibition, please contact Karl D’Silva
Stephen Felmingham’s Tocsin Bang exhibition came about as a result of him being one of our Chapeltown Salon Winners.