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EDITORIAL

EPIFANIO RECOMMENDS

PERFORMATIVE SPACE: THE LOOSE BOUNDARY OF ARCHITECTURE
Rebecca Jones and Nathalie Pozzi

ARCHITECT STEINER LOOKS INTO FUTURE
Vilen Künnapu

HARRY PYE'S POSTCARD FROM LONDON
Harry Pye

POEMS
Lauri Sommer

FOLKLORE TALES FROM TALLINN
Nato Lumi

TEAM

Harry Pye’s Postcard from London

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross once wrote: “Every individual human being born on this earth has the capacity to become a unique and special person, unlike any who has ever existed before or will exist again. But to the extent that we become captives of culturally defined role expectations and behaviors - stereotypes, not ourselves - we block our capacity for self actualization.”

I think Russell Herron was a one off. I don’t think there will ever be another person like him.
When his death was announced a hush fell upon the London art scene. Russell’s personal art collection of painting, sculpture and photography featured more than 300 works. The majority of them were purchased from emerging artists over the last 12 years.

I was asked by The Sartorial gallery to make a personal selection from the collection and turn it into an exhibition. My selection was curated around the themes of history, location and identity. Because these three themes reflected the concerns which informed much of Russell’s own works over the last few years.

Russell Herron

   

Harry Pye, Lee Edwards, Russell Herron.
ICA bar, late 1990ies.

I knew Herron for exactly a decade. When we first met back in the late 90s I was the editor of a fanzine called Harry Pye’s Frank magazine whilst he was working at the Institute of Contemporary Art. I was always on the look out for fresh young talent to write about in my publication. Herron and I would talk a lot about ideas and changing trends. We were never close friends but there was always a mutual respect. He was to new art what John Peel was to new music. He supported hundreds of young artists and is something of an unsung hero. He bought work from many students who (in some cases) blossomed into art stars. He never bought any of my paintings however he did attend pretty much all of the exhibitions I curated and was always supportive and positive. I felt honoured when I was asked to organise his collection for this exhibition. I hope he would have enjoyed the show had he seen it. I also hope that further selections from Herron’s collection will be presented in the future, possibly curated by someone else.

Russell Herron’s own work was characterized by works consisting of his own name, mostly produced as wallpaintings, adverts and prints; a series of free Russell Herron collectables, and his cult (un)performance group, The Russellettes, who appeared at private views wearing Russell Herron branded T shirts.  In addition to these works he also produced pieces which highlighted other artists. He wrote from January 2006 to March 2007 an eponymous online blog (see russellherron.blogspot.com) which recorded a picaresque journey around London private views – ‘history without hindsight’ as he referred to it – and ran a weekly word-of-mouth listing email which detailed the art openings and launches in London and beyond. His final work, shown at the Rhythm Factory, London, in June 2009, was simply a list of the names of 500 artists. 
Artists in the Russell Herron Collection show “This Was Now” were:

Sarah Baker, Charlotte Bracegirdle, John Clayman, Susan Collis, Katie Cuddon, Oona Culley, Stuart Cumberland, Beverley Daniels, Jeremy Deller, Steve Double, Lee Edwards, Karin Eklund, Stewart Gough, Lucy Harrison, Graham Hudson, Tim Knowles, Marisol Malatesta, Hugh Mendes, Mie Mørkeberg, Chloe Mortimer, Humphrey Ocean, Cian Quayle, Brian Reed, Giorgio Sadotti, Dallas Seitz, David Shrigley, Melanie Stidolph, Barry Thompson, John Tiney.
 
I’ve managed to get a handful of the artists in the show to give me a personal statement about their work.

Charlotte Bracegirdle:

“My work is based around the subtle traces that we leave behind. When a person no longer occupies a space everything appears different, but visually nothing is altered. Everything looks, smells and feels as it was when that person was there. But the images is not the same despite evidence telling you that it is. The pictures become empty stages, deserted and uncanny - left only with hints of past activity.

When talking about the story behind the movie ‘Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind’, where people can have their memories erased, Pierre Bismuth comments: “What situations would arise a result and how would you deal with those possibilities?

For me, all activity - art, film etc are traces that occupy space, even if you are only trying to do something simple. By erasing you are simply adding.”

Beverley Daniels:

“This work begins to tell the story of my family beginning with my Nan, the matriarch, and her siblings. The paintings are born of anecdotes and family photographs. The style of the work is based on Spanish Gothic Panel Paintings providing the perfect mix of hope and horror.”

Lee Edwards:

“The intimate spaces of Edwards’ work bear a lot of personal weight, recalling family life and personal relationships. There is a duality of presence and absence that occurs within the work and the surface of the photograph is scratched away in thin layers; creating new and displaced spaces beyond the walls and carpets.”

Mie Mørkeberg:

“The landscapes and cities presented in these works are basically pictures of the miniature worlds which we often encounter at the locations they actually represent. It is about the detailed and very controlled scaled down worlds of, for example, the doll house (installed at the main railway station in most European cities). Toys or representations made to confirm a certain history of civilization: the ideal family and the ideal changes of industrialization.”

Chloe Mortimer:

“A good story is a good story and a good painting is a good painting. If something is really strong it can survive anything and it can forgive anything. My artwork is about testing and pushing. I want people to think about what is good art and what is bad art. I want to be honest. I don’t care if I’m the only girl in class who puts her hand up to ask. All I want is the truth. I know it’s out there. I want to know: What is art? What is good art? And what good is art?”

Mie Mørkeberg

Beverley Daniels. Hetti & Ada. Mixed media, 2009.

 

Graham Hudson. Heraldic XI. Mixed media, 2004.

   

John Tiney. The Arrival. Acrylic on board, 2008.

Hadrian Pigott:

“The work is both a celebration and a critique of personal choice and the quest for individuality, quilted, scented and embossed white is the choice in Manhattan, standard white and five pastels for the most part in London, a preponderance of pinks, floral prints and crazy purples in Paris.”

Brian Reed:

“I still get a wave of excitement when I discover an abandoned photograph, torn and lying in the street, even after all these years of finding and collecting them. Combing the surrounding area in an attempt to locate all the pieces, scatted by wind or human hand and then piecing them back together gives me the sensation of being a modern day archaeologist, reassembling somebody’s discarded life.”

   

John Tiney:

“The Arrival appeared in a series of work which originated from a photograph. The photo was of a sunrise taken while flying to California from London on a trip fuelled by love and excitement.

Back in London after the trip I tried to mimic the colour graduation in the photograph and it became the background for a series of small painted sketches. When pushing the paintings larger the colours from the photo were used much like the roadside advertising seen in the U.S and in particular Las Vegas. I wanted to use the colours in forms that attempted to promote the feeling of wonder I had at the start of this particular journey.”

Karin Eklund:

“My work is a fictional reality of arrested narratives with menacing undertones, created as a collage of found and imagined images.”

David Shrigley. Quack. Acrylic on canvas.

   

Karin Eklund. Even in the Midst of Chaos.
Oil on baking paper, 2009.

Karin Eklund. But This Was a Place She Didn’t Know About.
Oli on baking paper, 2009.

Harry Pye
is a writer, curator and painter who lives and works in London. See also his postcards from London, Sao Paulo and Leeds in previous issues of Epifanio.