This exhibition opens discussion about how the physical experience of the dwelling space. Nevertheless there’s more to the physical manifestation home of home than the building where you sleep. There’s the streets you walk down, the corner shop where you know everyone’s name, at least in some places, and of course wherever you consider your ‘hometown’. Is that where you currently reside, where you were born, or is there more to it? A cultural connection to a place, and it’s psychogeography, cannot be underestimated.
Natasha Joseph’s moving image artwork explores the idea of the surreal absurdities of situations- planned or otherwise that fringes on the realm of reality and fiction. Taking a walking tour through the streets of Derby, an insight is revealed into some of the cultural fabric of the town. Little details, the colour of the bins, what people are wearing, how close-knit the houses are build an image and idea of community. This characterful display, coupled with an upbeat soundtrack, is well accompanied by a factual yet minimal map on the floor, detailing the journey taken throughout the film. You can’t help but think of the deeper meaning this must hold to locals, yet the rest of us can picture our own town in a similar way. How often do you really think about the journey home? Street names, certainly not road numbers, don’t matter much. A left here, a right there, is all you need. Who knows what goes on in secret behind those closed doors? Like the personal, social, and cultural elements out of which they are constructed, homes can be not only comforting, but threatening too. It reinforces the point that home is not a static place, rather we carry home with us as a psychological space where we care for and are cared for by others. Where we are comfortable. The small acts of care that that make us feel at home wherever we are.
This simple yet multifaceted theme has been deftly handled by the two artists. It’s often a challenge with a process like these, where there are two artists previously unknown to each other and brought together by an application process and a one-word theme, to present something cohesive. This has clearly been on their minds throughout their eight weeks in residence at Artcore Gallery. Simple touches, such as a few minutes of silence from Joseph’s video piece, allowing Hudson’s softly spoken audio recordings to take over, the quiet voices of the everyday being preeminent. It’s always good to see artists taking steps to support each other like this.
An exhibition leading from a residency is one of those wonderful moments where you get a peak into the creative journey the artists have gone through, and hopefully will continue exploring. Both Hudson and Joseph wrote regular blog posts to document their thoughts during the process, providing an intriguing insight:
Home as a theme can be playful, engaging and cutting. This exhibition strikes a clever balance across a variety of interpretations, and the two exhibiting artists keep multiple themes in conversation. Issues of memory, history, displacement, identity and the body all come into play. The exhibition makes you consider not only where home is, but what it can be. Home shows the challenges with these questions, and shows why the theme continues to be a vibrant area of research in contemporary art.
Artcore Gallery celebrates contemporary visual arts through a dynamic and diverse programme of events and exhibitions. Find out more at artcoregallery.org.uk
The reviewer was Chris Boote, Programme Manager at Artcore.
Home was at Artcore between 21st November – 21st December 2019.
Images are by and courtesy Iona Davies.