Thursday, 23 February 2012

KnightCycle At number82

In the beginning was ‘Maurice’ an entity housed in a concrete structure, given metaphysical properties, a projection, an idea, which gave it life. It had a strong connection with its intended place of residence, if only for a month. The ‘thing’ was conflicted, not knowing what to offer to those encountered. It began to disintegrate under too much scrutiny.

Back at the site of it’s making, it becomes ordinary - a thing of labour, something man made waiting to regain its valour. Thrust upon a spike the object makes further sacrifice, a new ideal emerges, more rigid, practical and perhaps more attainable…

Amanda Francis is preoccupied with identity - specifically, how attempts to ‘define’ can be influenced by context - the when and where of encounter. Francis’ is particularly interested in ‘Black’ as a cultural construct, the evolution of a political and social identity within the occident. She employs sculpture, drawing and animation to realise her ideas. Beginning at the enlightenment, she speculates about a drop of dark matter forming and gathering mass in clinical conditions. But even beginnings are contentious - spiritual and empirical impressions vie for ascendancy demanding scrutiny and dissection.

At the heart of this show is the passage of an object, inspired by a saint with an identity crisis. The story goes that Maurice a leader of a Theban legion, refused to take arms against his fellow Christians as ordered by Rome - he and all his men were executed for their disobedience. Maurice (venerated widely across Europe and North Africa) embodies the consequences of being held between two poles, but he also points to the transformative potential of such circumstances.

Amanda Francis has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad, exhibitions include; Product Placement (solo show) Space Station Sixty-Five, London; Print and Design now, The Bear Space London; Concretum, Dilston Grove London; Absorbency Retreat, University of East London; The Black Series, Südbalkon Hamburg; Gyumri International Biennial of contemporary Art, Armenia; The Scope, Purcell Room South Bank London and Campfire at Café Gallery London. Amanda holds a BA from the University of East London and MFA from Slade School of Art. She lives and works in London.

Open Friday and Saturday 12 - 6pm

Continues until 10th March


82 Tanners Hill



Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Opt in Opt Out

My show is fast approaching and the state of anxiety is rising. The anxiety is threefold… first is the debt created by the show, the second is concern about the whether people will come, and the third is worrying that people wont like it.

I participated in a project recently, South London Black Music Archive at Peckham Space. The project invites people to share memories triggered by musical experiences – it’s an attempt to map out South London according to more idiosyncratic coordinates. It’s a fabulous idea, making solitary studio practice seem boring and conservative. But in my conservative solitary state, I tried to rack my brains for some ‘moment’, and realised that most of my time with music of any kind has been alone.

During the launch night of SLBMA, I had a conversation with a painter who had stopped painting. He reckoned you should know how your art could benefit other people – its purpose. It gets me thinking about popularity too, whether it matters if one can anticipate what people will need or like. It sounds a bit like market research doesn’t it? But I’m not trying to be crass or critical about it. In terms of making a living… maybe I should give it more thought. The thing is I don’t want to anticipate, takes the fun out of it.

Projects like the black music archive are about community dynamics. In these modern times, (where capitalism can take the rap for eroding the ‘community’) any strategy to keep those dynamics healthy is positive. It suits me sometimes to articulate myself as part of a community. In reality you can’t escape sharing your existence with others. I suppose that inescapability is what makes the communitarian so stifling at times. Valves (like making stuff) are required to release the pressure. For me it’s always important to have the freedom to ‘opt out’ of things if desired – although that can become more difficult with age. I think Maurice appealed to me because of his dilemma, because he chose to opt out and had the courage to accept the consequences...