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Cover Story—September 2019: ‘Polperro to Detroit’

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The September 2019 monthly Cover Story ‘Polperro to Detroit’ is now up on Latitudes' homepage: www.lttds.org

“In 1937 the retired sailor Samuel Puckey began transforming Peace Haven, his 19th-century fisherman’s cottage, into what would become known as The Shell House. Over the years Puckey used his collection of cowries, limpets, clams and other shells from around the world to embellished the façade with his maritime memories, including a depiction of the eminent Eddystone lighthouse. The Shell House is effectively a public artwork (as well as being holiday cottage) in Polperro, an idyllic seaside village in Cornwall, England. Polperro once revolved around the vast shoals of pilchards that used to come into Cornish waters in late summer. The thriving fishing industry was the mainstay of the community, and the seine-netted and salted pilchards exported in their millions to Italy.”


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Cover Stories' are published on a monthly basis on Latitudes' homepage featuring past, present or forthcoming projects, research, texts, artworks, exhibitions, films, objects or field trips related to our curatorial activities.

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Residency: Askeaton Contemporary Arts, County Limerick, Ireland, 20–29 July 2018


The annual residency programme ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’ curated by Askeaton Contemporary Art's director Michele Horrigan has situated Irish and international artists in the midst of Askeaton, a small town in County Limerick since its conception in 2006. Over one hundred artists projects have been realised in public spaces throughout the town, bringing forward layers of daily life and creating a rich framework for encounters.

In its thirteenth year, the 2018 edition of ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’ invited artists Matt Calderwood, Jonny Lyons, Ruth Clinton and Niamh Moriartyand curators Gareth Bell-Jones (Flat Time House, London) and Latitudes

The programme began on July 14 and wrapped up on July 28th with an Open Day where the artists-in-residence unveiled the works they had been produced.  

Event programme.

Latitudes arrived at Askeaton on the 20th, following a short stint in Dublin's The LAB Gallery where they participated in a closed-door seminar in the context of the exhibition ‘I Slept Like A Stone’ curated by Sheena Barrett and Julia Moustacchi.

"Many public events have occurred during Welcome to the Neighbourhood, each introducing new perspectives to the role and purpose of contemporary art and knowledge production in the Limerick region. Public talks by Gareth Bell-Jones (Flat Time House, London), Latitudes, Patrick Comerford and Karin Dubsky (Coastwatch Europe) explored topics from contemporary curating practice to El Greco and marine ecology. Carl Doran’s ongoing collaborative work with Askeaton Castle’s conservation theme was showcased, while Anthony Sheehy led tours of Askeaton’s medieval heritage." [Text by Askeaton Contemporary Arts]


Askeaton's square. Desmond Castle in the background. All photos: Latitudes.
Artist and "Welcome to the neighbourhood" mastermind curator Michele Horrigan in the Desmond Castle.

Artist Sean Lynch talking about the previous editions of "Welcome to the neighbourhood".
Sunday BBQ with ACA family. Rory Prout (left) and 2018 "Welcome to the neighbourhood" artist Matt Calderwood (right).

Local guide Anthony Sheehy has led tours around Askeaton since 1964.

(Above and below) Visiting the RUSAL Aughinish alumina plant near Askeaton.

Picnic site on our way to Lismore Castle.
2018 "Welcome to the neighbourhood" artist Niamh Moriarty and ACA Assistant Curator, Jessica Kelly.
(Above and below) Visiting Lismore castle’s impressive gardens.
Detail of Stuart Whipps's work included in "The Expanded Field" exhibition co-curated by Lismore Castle Arts and Askeaton Contemporary Arts at the St Carthage Hall, Lismore, which also presents works by The Center for Land Use Interpretation, Olivia Plender, The Domestic Godless, Superfolk and Filip Van Dingenen.
(Above and below) The Grange Stone circle, the largest stone circle in Ireland, was built by the Bronze Age people who lived around Lough Gur in 2100BC.
 Enchanting studio visit with local legend and stick-maker Seanie Barron.
View of Desmond Castle from the top floor of the Civic Trust.
 Banqueting Hall next to Desmond Castle, also under restoration.
Tour by the OPW workers restoring Desmond Castle.
As we later learn, these two rectangular columns in Askeaton's Friary contained a much-hunted treasure. It became the spur for Latitudes' research in the links between Barcelona and Askeaton. To be continued...

In "The Pilgrim", Latitudes reprised a 1984 article written by Tim Kelly in the back issues of The ABC News, Askeaton’s annual journal. Made available online and through social media platforms, an excerpt was heard at the Franciscan friary, of a dramatic narrative bringing to life a cryptic inscription found in the cloister there that reads "Beneath lies the Pilgrim's body, who died January 17, 1784". The story is read aloud by artist Carl Doran. The tale involves an Italian, a Spaniard, and a morbid blood-hunt that links Barcelona with Askeaton. 


Cloister in the Franciscan friary.
Ray Griffin's magic hands fabricating Matt Calderwood's boat.
Matt's first rehearsal, testing the oars on the River Deel. 
Ray and Matt carrying the boulder to the water.

"London-based artist Matt Calderwood’s installation Erractic (Approximately 4.5 Tonnes) can be seen floating on the River Deel. With a healthy interest in what the artist describes as the “non-expert production of things”, Calderwood without any prior experience, guidance or clear blueprints, constructed his own boat, and vigorously rowed it up and down the Deel. On the Open Day, it is seen on the river with what appears to be an enormous rock inside it. The longer you look at this apparition, the more uncomfortable its appearance becomes as if the boat and stone were a tangential echo or parallel universe of the stone buildings and maritime traditions of the region. In addition, a series of large-scale prints detail a selection of Askeaton stones, some real, some not, seen in various locations throughout the town." [Text by Askeaton Contemporary Arts]

Matt floatin’ out on the River Deel. He sails off accompanied by two show-dog Rottweilers (they are not part of the work!). 
Matt Calderwood and rock on the River Deel in front of Askeaton's 14th Century Franciscan Friary
(Making of) Jonny Lyons’s "Joyride" during the morning high tide at the River Deel. 

"Glasgow-based artist Jonny Lyons debuts a new installation, Joyride, at Askeaton Community Hall. Impressed by the rhythm and assured style of card playing he encountered in Askeaton, his artwork was realised in collaboration with local card sharks William Sheehan, James and Antoinette Fitzgerald, and Noel McCarthy. Surreally they appeared unannounced early one morning at high tide in the middle of the River Deel, playing the trick-taking card game of forty-fives that originated in Ireland on a specially constructed pontoon." [Text by Askeaton Contemporary Arts]

Players signing two joker cards.
On Saturday 28 July, the Open Day, over 50 guests joined the tour which took of from Askeaton's Civic Trust.
Matt Calderwood's boat made a new apparition upstream for the Open Day.
Calderwood displayed some large prints at a former hair salon. Below Calderwood discussing his work in dialogue with Sean Lynch.
Jonny Lyons new installation, Joyride, at Askeaton Community Hall. Featured in Latitudes' August 2018 Monthly Cover Story (after August it will be archived here).
A paparazzi moment with the artist and the card players. Below Lyons' installation presents the table borrowed from Ranahan's pub on the pontoon, alongside a fresh Guinness pint, two signed joker cards and the 7 of hearts – the card that blew away during the making of.
 Ruth and Niamh reenact the small photograph on the upper left which can be found at Cagney’s Bar – featuring two local women aside a broken-hearted Kiefer Sutherland (here brought to life by artist Jonny Lyons). 

“Dublin and Sligo-based artists Ruth Clinton and Niamh Moriarty are known for their intense sensitivity to microhistories and the local. In recent days they have uncovered the story of Hollywood star Kiefer Sutherland’s visit to Askeaton, soon after being dumped by Julia Roberts days before their planned wedding in 1990. A 24-year old Sutherland ended up in the west of Ireland where, in his own words, he was going to “try have a drink in every town I passed through.” Clinton and Moriarty’s artwork acts as a form of fan fiction, a stream of consciousness spread throughout the rooms of Cagney’s Bar and Ranahan’s Pub. A lino print and video accompany a photograph of Sutherland partying in Askeaton, while the artists will perform an intimate scripted theatrical performance in the snug of Ranahan’s at 3.15pm and 5pm respectively.” [Text by Askeaton Contemporary Arts]

It's been grand!

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Participants in the symposium "You're such a curator!" at de Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam, 23–24 November 2016 and Amsterdam Art Weekend

 Above: de Appel director Niels van Tomme during his welcome speech.  
This and following photos: Carina Erdmann/De Appel.

Latitudes participated in de Appel Arts Centre two-day symposium "You are such a curator!" on 23 and 24 November 2016. Coinciding with the Amsterdam Art Weekend, the event presented lectures, discussions, performances and papers marking the conclusion of a three-year research project into the dynamics of de Appel’s curatorial programme and its position in the wider field of curatorial education.

Latitudes' presention "Following the Holy Greyhound" reflected "on the disinterment of a sculpture from 1991 – part of an exhibition by the Venezuelan artist José Antonio Hernández-Díez curated by Latitudes at MACBA, Barcelona, earlier this year – and their approach to a group exhibition in preparation for CAPC Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux in 2017. Their point of departure was responding to the question "what does the wrongful killing of a dog in medieval France have to tell us about the micro and the macro, the hyper-specific and the universal?"  

Above: Chris Sharp during his presentation 'The Willfully Minor Anomaly of Lulu'. 
Below: Q+A session.
 
Above: Presentation by Aneta Rostkowska and Jakub Woynarowski.  
Below: Latitudes' presentation "Following the Holy Greyhound".
 
Above: galerie founders Adriano Wilfert Jensen and Simon Asencio during their presentation. 
Below: Attentive (femenine!) audience. 

Above: (Intensive) Q+A amongst speakers and audience. 
Below: Renata Cervetto during her presentation '(Art) Mediation Projects. In & Out The Museum'.

Above: Kim Nguyen during her presentation 'That's Why We Love the Moon'. 
Below: Niels van Tomme during one of the many Q+A's.

Above: Prem Krishnamurthy during a Q+A.

The two-day symposium included contributions by Mira Asriningtyas, Lucrezia Calabrò Visconti, Renata Cervetto, Mateo Chacon-Pino, Galerie (Adriano Wilfert Jensen and Simon Asencio), Natasha Hoare, Kati Ilves, Prem Krishnamurthy, Inga Lace, Latitudes (Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna), Shona Mei Findlay, Fadwa Naamna, Kim Nguyen, Emma Ines Panza, Aneta Rostkowska and Kuba Woynarowski, Chris Sharp, Niels Van Tomme and Huib Haye van der Werf.
  
We also visited a few exhibitions and attended a few events  programmed for the Art Amsterdam Weekend (24–27 November). One of the highlights was Marinus Boezem's exhibition at Oude Kerk's grand Gothic architecture, one of its finest and oldest examples in Holland. Boezem's pieces resonated with the Gothic style of the church, an architecture that has fascinated him throughout this artistic practice – he has produced several pieces using plans of cathedrals, his most famous one being "Gothic Growing Project" (1978–1987), popularly known as "The Green Cathedral" in a polder landscape near Almere, composed of 178 Italian poplars.
 
"Progetto Spaziale" (1970/2016) video works, and "Meteorieten" (2016) on the floor.

(above) "Windschaal" (Wind Scale) (1968) projected in the Holy Sepulchre chapel.
Majestic "Labyrinth" (2016) piece above and below.
(above) "New Improvisation with Bart de Kroon", one of the five performances Jeremiah Day presented at Ellen de Bruijne Projects.

And of course Friday is the big day at the Rijksakademie OPEN 2016, where we found interesting presentations by Argentinian performance artist Mercedes Azpilicueta; the Argentinian-Dutch Aimée Zito Lema; the abstracted images of Claudia Martínez Garay (below); the sculptural and archival material of British artist Alex Farrar around his suit; the glass work of German artist Christine Moldrickx; the drawings, paintings and small sculptures of Dutch artist Eva Spierenburg; the sculptural works by the also Dutch artist Marije Gertenbach and the large video work "Band Rumorose" by French artist Pauline Curnier Jardin on the Sicilian festivity devoted to San Sebastiano.


Abstracted images by Claudia Martínez Garay

(Above and below) Installation on the ground floor by Eva Spierenburg.

Sculptural and archival material by British artist Alex Farrar around his suit.

More work by Eva Spierenburg was presented in a more intimate presentation on the second floor.

 Glass piece by German artist Christine Moldrickx (above and below). 

The beautiful retrospective "Machine Spectacle" by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely was cleverly paired with Jordan Wolfson's "Manic / Love" – part 1 of his first solo show in a Dutch institution. The show premieres his newest animatronic in Europe: "Colored sculpture" (2016) and is accompanied by three other works only: the video "Raspberry poser" (2012), a series of large inkjet prints and "The Crisis" (2004), one of his earliest video works. In February a second part (Truth / Love) will follow with his first animatronic (Female Figure, 2014) and a new videoinstallation.

(Above) Two of the rooms presenting works by Jean Tinguely at Stedelijk Museum.

Jordan Wolfson's "Colored Sculpture" (2016).

San Serriffe art book shop in the red light district.

kunstverein new location in Hazenstraat 28, presented "Staples", 20 years of work by typographic artist Will Holder.

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The story behind José Antonio Hernández-Díez's 'San Guinefort' (1991)

 Pages with the story behind Plaça dels Àngels.

When giving a presentation or tour of an exhibition or project we have worked on, we are often asked how the project emerged – if there was a particular trigger or point of origin. In the case of José Antonio Hernández-Díezs exhibition currently on view at MACBA (until June 26, 2016), our approach was a familiar one to us we started by both delving in-depth in researching the artists previous works while at the same time looking into the history of the venue where the exhibition was going to take place. 

We are very fond of a book that has been in our library for many years – 'Histories and legends of Barcelona' by Joan Amades (Edicions 62). This two-volume tome gathers some of the myths behind Barcelona place names and includes the tales behind both familiar and obscure buildings, streets and monuments in the city. The story that most captivated us concerned the chapel of the Convent dels Àngels, and it is recounted in the essay we wrote to accompany the exhibition (published as the Quaderns Portàtils #32 pdfs available in Spanish and English and epub in Spanish only). It goes as follows:

(...) "Outside the doorway of the deconsecrated sixteenth-century church that formed part of Barcelona’s Convent dels Àngels there once stood the stone figure of a dog, standing upright on its hind legs. Two separate legends account for its existence, as recorded by ethnologist and folklorist Joan Amades in the 1950s. A boorish man would routinely interrupt the services and torment the church congregation, it is said. He was punished by being turned into a dog. The other version states that the canine figure commemorates the thwarting of a robbery. The church once displayed an image of Saint Roch, the patron saint of dogs, accompanied by a hound. It is said that the prospective thieves were frightened away as the image miraculously began to bark. (The supernatural mythology of the chapel does not cease there – in 1627 an image of Christ began to sweat blood profusely.) 

Sculpture of a dog once stood in front of La Capella dels Àngels, church of the Convent dels Àngels.
 
Parallel to this, we started looking at Hernández-Díezs earliest works and investigating his pieces in MACBAs collection. We found that the museum had his 1991 work San Guinefort on long-term loan in their collection, but it had never been exhibited. As narrated in our essay: 

(...) "that José Antonio Hernández-Díez (Caracas, Venezuela, 1964) had already been dealing with Catholic belief and superstition in his art – and moreover, specifically addressing canine veneration – is much more than an uncanny coincidence for his exhibition at MACBA’s Convent dels Àngels in 2016."  

The legend behind Saint Guinefort is one of the more obscure intersections of Catholic history and folk tradition:

(...) "Writing around 1260, the Inquisitor and Dominican friar Étienne de Bourbon related his investigation into the veneration of Saint Guinefort in the Dombes region of France. He discovered that this supposed Saint was, in fact, a dog. The account he disclosed was that a knight and his wife had one day left their greyhound Guinefort to guard their baby. When they returned to the castle they found the cradle empty and Guinefort covered in blood. Assuming it had murdered the baby, the knight hastily killed the dog, only later realising his error. Guinefort had in fact fought off a snake in order to save the child, who was found unharmed. Guinefort was buried unceremoniously in the forest outside the castle walls. Hearing of the martyred dog, local people began to believe in its power to protect children and began to bring their sick infants to the grave. Étienne de Bourbon was horrified to discover the strength of the superstition that had taken root. Children were being left overnight by Guinefort’s grave in the belief that he would rid them of spirits, and several babies had died as a consequence. Defending the orthodoxy of the church, the friar had the heretical remains of the greyhound dug up and destroyed, razed the forest and outlawed the canine cult, yet there is evidence of its persistence into the nineteenth century. The episode is worth recounting in detail, as previous accounts of it in relation to Hernández-Díez’s work have been misleading."


Coinciding with our research period, in August 2014 we happened to be travelling near Lyon, France, and took the opportunity to visit to the Bois de Saint Guinefort in the Dombes region, where the story of Saint Guinefort emerged (and where the dog-saint may still be venerated every 22nd August, despite the regional tourism office assuring us the festival day was no longer celebrated). 

Somewhere on the road between Villars-les-Dombes and Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne one can, with the help of a tagged flickr photo and GPS, find a sign, as seen below, which briefly narrates these peculiar events from the 13th Century



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Recommended listening and reading material on the so-called "anthropological turn" in contemporary art


Installation view of Mariana Castillo Deball's work "It rises or falls depending on whether you're coming or going. If you are leaving, it's uphill; but as you arrive it's downhill" (2006) in the Latitudes-curated exhibition "Extraordinary Rendition" at NoguerasBlanchard in 2007. Photo: Roberto Justamante.

One of the many interesting events that took place during Frieze week, was a panel discussion titled "Adventures in the Field: The Anthropological Turn" (from there you can download the audio or mp3 file) moderated by Beirut-based writer Kaelen Wilson-Goldie with the participation of artists Iman Issa (Cairo & New York) and Naeem Mahaiemen (Dhaka & New York), and curator Dieter Roelstraete (Senior Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago).

As Frieze magazine's Associate Editor Christy Lange explained in her introduction, the discussion followed on Wilson-Goldie's recent feature "The Stories They Need" published in the October issue of Frieze magazine, where the writer digs into the notions previously raised in Roelstraete's well-read essay "The Way of the Shovel: On the Archeological Imaginary in Art" (2009, e-flux journal). Her text also brings in new artists names whose work have reflected an interest in the tools and methods of anthropology, including some of the participating artists in Roelstraete's recent show 'The Way of the Shovel: Art as Archaeology' (Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 9 Nov 2013–9 Mar 2014), an exhibition that continued to delve on the subject of artists involvement with anthropology that will seem to take curator to his grave, as he himself stated during the panel.

During the discussion, both Roelstraete and Wilson-Goldie refer to the so-called "anthropological turn" or "historiographical turn", as a sequel to the "archaeological turn", the "educational turn" and many other turns (from Hal Foster's "ethnographical" or "archival" impulses, to the narrative, the pedagogical, the documentary, the social, the relational, the curatorial...the many turns) that have succeeded one another in recent art production – and as he also points out they all get mentioned preceded by "so called...".

 

Detail of Mariana Castillo Deball's work "It rises or falls depending on whether you're coming or going. If you are leaving, it's uphill; but as you arrive it's downhill" (2006). Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Roberto Justamante.

But why this impulse of looking back? As Roelstraete suggested in his presentation, it might respond to the fact that our present has been so depressing (Ebola, Isis, Ukranian crisis) and oppressive (from Bush's regime onwards through the 2008 global economic crisis) so artists can almost be forgiven for wanting to look back. Artist Naeem Mohaiemen, clarified that artists don't look back to hide from the present but that the present is too brief, it's not over, and meanwhile looking back allows them to shed light on a particular long-time span hoping to have an impact on thinking about that particular moment. To conclude Roelstraete noted that the impulse artists might follow is because they want to "leave the studio to go to the museum (or the kunsthalle)".

  Installation view of Simon Fujiwara's "The Museum of Incest" at the 2009 "Provenances" at the Latitudes-curated exhibition at Umberto di Marino, Naples. Photo: Danilo Donzelli.


Wilson-Goldie's text concludes that the artists as anthropologist is most likely "a storyteller or fabulist using the techniques of anthropology to tell again or tell differently, a story of encounter." This has certainly been very much on our minds as well as in the conversations we have maintained with the artists we have worked with in projects such as "Provenances" (2009 at Galleria Umberto di Marino, Naples) or "Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes ..." (2011, Meessen de Clercq, Brussels), and of course with other artists we have met in recent months.
 

This resonates in with a notion that has been stuck in our heads for a while and that emerged during Sean Lynch's lecture last September at Halfhouse's workshop: that of the artist' work as a "meaning place". He explained that for him when an exhibition ends the work becomes a conversation, and that those residues and the way they circulate can often be far more interesting than its intrinsic parts.
  
View of Kasper Akhoj's "Abstracta" at the 2011 Latitudes-curated exhibition "Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes & des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne" at Meessen de Clercq, Brussels. Photo: Philippe de Gobert.

On an archaeological note, a project called "The Materiality of the Invisible" looks intriguing. It is a fellowship run by the Jan van Eyck instigated within the framework of NEARCH, a European network of archaeological institutes and university departments. The following artists and art collectives have been selected out of some 300 applicants: Leyla Cardenas, Joey Bryniarska, Martin Westwood, Matthew Wilson, Rossella Biscotti and Klaas van Gorkum & Iratxe Jaio, the latter with whom we have collaborated (in the exhibition series Amikejo in 2011 and a solo show at ADN Platform earlier this year). The fellowship "offers a hitherto unknown opportunity to research in practice the interaction between artists and archaeologists, to work together in close confines, to profoundly exchange information and to thoroughly questioning both professions in an age of change and fluctuating cultural attitudes".



Above: Iratxe Jaio & Klaas van Gorkum, "Work in Progress" (2013). Video (14’ 22”), 739 polyurethane sculptures, and 47 moulds. View of their exhibition "The Margins of the Factory" at ADN Platform, 25 January–30 April 2014. Photos: Roberto Ruiz.


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Founded in 2005 by Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna, Latitudes is a curatorial office based in Barcelona, Spain, that works internationally across contemporary art practices.

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