The Andrew Brownsword Gallery at The Edge, University of Bath is pleased to be showing Borderlines, curated by Tessa Giblin, Director of Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh.
Borderlines gives form to the conceptual, geo-political, economic and cultural impacts of borders. It draws attention to the ownership of the earth beneath our feet, the UK border in Ireland, tribal territories, anarchic polar exploration and the world-wide distribution of natural resources. Conceived to coincide with the UK’s scheduled exit from the EU, Borderlines offers imaginative ways of representing and thinking about frontiers, at a time when very real borders between the UK and Europe are being proposed. The exhibition includes works from Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan, Willie Doherty, Ruth E Lyons, Amalia Pica, Khvay Samnang, Santiago Sierra, Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor. Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan have three works in the exhibition. Monument to Another Man’s Fatherland reflects on the story of the Pergamon Altar. It contextualises the extraordinary frieze (now in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin), with the plight of Turkish migrants hoping to enter the EU, just as the repatriation of the Parthenon (Elgin) marbles reappear in public debate as a result of the Brexit negotiations. The work is accompanied by two teaching casts, reproductions of 480-430 BC Parthenon Marbles, from Edinburgh College of Art. Monument of Sugar features blocks of sugar shown alongside the complex story of the artists’ attempt to trace European sugar exported to Africa and then evade trade tariffs by re-importing it back to Europe as an artistic ‘monument’. The third film work, Episode of the Sea, particularly poignant in the context of the Brexit campaign’s close alignment with the UK fisheries, charts the rise and fall of the Urk (Dutch) fishing community after the inland sea they traditionally fished was dammed to create land for development. Ruth E Lyons evokes an ancient sea with salt bowls carved from salt mined from a deposit that dates back millions of years to the Zechstein Sea; this salt deposit stretches from Ireland to Poland, impervious to the nation-states now crowding the top soil. Willie Doherty reflects on the border where Ireland and Northern Ireland meet, between Derry and Donegal, meditating on the dramatic impact that Brexit might have on otherwise unremarkable points on the road, haunted by memories of the militarised border in place before the Good Friday Agreement. Amalia Pica makes images from the stamps she has collected as she encountered the bureaucracy surrounding international mobility and citizenship acquisition, while Khvay Samnang interprets his understanding of the Chong people’s embodied knowledge of the land and its regions, recreating movements through collaboration with a dancer used to define tribal territories in Cambodia. Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor show the globe as a patchwork of dominant resources – industries, minerals or labour – and finally, Santiago Sierra places the anarchist flag at the North and South Poles.
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