‘Library of Pilgrimages’ and ‘Something of Place’ exhibitions at Trowbridge Arts Centre

Posted by on Aug 29, 2017 in Event, exhibition

Trow_BoxProj5(150)

                             

At Town Hall Arts, Trowbridge Town Hall BA14 8EQ

Exhibition dates 9 September – 4 November 2017

   

Opening times Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm Saturdays 10am – 2pm

 

About Space Place Practice: 
These two exhibitions were created by Space Place Practice, a collective group of multidisciplinary practitioners who share an interest in researching the wider aspects of ‘landscape’ and take inspiration from a sense of place:

Library of Pilgrimages
 inspired by the Robert Macfarlane’s description of the artist Miguel Angel Blanco’s Library of the Forest, members of the group each created a ‘mini-installation’ on the theme of a ‘personal pilgrimage’ where each artist has put a special interaction with a space or a place in the small confines of a foolscap filing box. Each response records how we endow places with special responses and recognises how a place may be integrated into our own ‘inner’ landscape. This gathering of boxes records an intensity of feeling and responses to ‘place’ that becomes the beginning of another ‘pilgrimage’.

Pilgrim:  a wanderer, wayfarer, one who travels a distance to visit a holy place…
(Chambers Dictionary)

“Choose three books from the library’ said Miguel…the first will tell your past, the next knows your present and the last will see your future”
(The Old Ways, by Robert Macfarlane, Penguin, 2012 p 238)
This quotation by Robert Macfarlane refers to the “Library of the Forest” collected by his friend the wayfarer Miguel Angel Blanco.  The ‘library’ consists of wooden boxes that contain the relics/objects/incidents which were collected during Miguel’s exploration of ‘Spanish practices of Senderisimo – or path-following’. The collections are intensely personal with each becoming a mini-installation that tells the story of a particular interaction with the landscape. There are over one thousand boxes stored as a library in a basement in Madrid, the visitor is invited to take out three boxes. MacFarlane describes the experience of choosing his ‘three’ boxes, and says that the books that he opened seemed in turn to ‘open’ him and access his own inner landscape.

We all respond to our local environment and the ‘relics/memories’ that we collect are stored in our internal landscape, and develop a special meaning for us. For example, most people are moved to pick up a particular pebble on the beach because it says something to them, they end up in pockets or mantelpieces, their meaning forgotten over time.  Many people have ‘special’ places that they visit or make a ‘pilgrimage’ to because of the meaning invested in them – memories, grief, happiness, mysteries, tragedies, atmosphere, smells and colours.

This is the basis for the ‘Library of Pilgrimages’ exhibition. It is a collaboration of ‘mini-installations’ where each artist has put a special interaction with a space or a place in the small confines of a foolscap filing box.  Each response records how we endow places with special responses and recognises how a place may be integrated into our own ‘inner’ landscape – it is a formalisation of the random collection of objects which are gathered together to narrate a story or replicate an experience of a place or site. This gathering of boxes records an intensity of feeling and responses to ‘place’ that becomes the beginning of another ‘pilgrimage’.

 

Slate map

‘Slate Map’ Sarah Rhys 2015

From mapping and walking Brecon Beacons

 

The Museum Box project: Something of  Place

The museum box project builds on the theme of a research seminar when each member of Space Place Practice brought ‘something of place’ with them to the event. Each member went home with a museum box in which/with which to develop their connections with these somethings and places as a way of presenting their ‘place’ to others as a finished artwork for exhibition.

Here ‘place’ is interpreted as a personally specific and meaningful location but, of course, individual translations take a variety of forms – therefore the ‘something of place’ might be interpreted through the box in the form of an object or objects, a sound or a text.

The simple idea is that each museum box is used as a container and each member re-presents their own specific ‘place’ using one of the boxes.  As such, the resulting boxes and contents might result in any combination of media but each box will serve to re-present a specific location in the UK, however loosely.

When the museum boxes are brought together again, they collectively represent the group but they also tell of the individual places (and the constituency/materiality of these places) that inspired the re-configuration of the boxes. They also of course express something of the individuals who made and presented the boxes as ‘artworks’.

 

 

All Rivers Flow to the Sea. River Biss Art Walk.
Artist-led by Walking the Land this three-hour art walk exploring and responding to the natural and cultural heritage of Trowbridge’s River Biss, is part of the Library of Pilgrimages exhibition, and Explore Art Trowbridge.