Bad Translation 2009-2010

Tether Interview Matthew de Pulford

Hither and Thither

Last year Nottingham based artist-led organisation Tether came to Margate as part of the making of Hither and Thither – a video survey of artist-led initiatives across the country. Their interview with Matthew de Pulford, recipient of Crate’s first curatorial bursary, can be found here.

Tom Duggan: LACUNA

Preview: Saturday 17 April 2010, 6-9pm | CRATE Project Space, Bilton Square, Margate CT9 1DX
Exhibition opening dates and times:
18, 23-25, 30 April 2010 and 1 May, 12-5pm |
CRATE
Project Space
19-23 April 2010, 9am-5pm | Herbert Read Gallery, UCA Canterbury, New Dover Road, Canterbury CT1 3AN

Wherever art appears, life disappears. " Francis Picabia

CRATE presents Lacuna, which documents the actions of a series of personas inhabited by the artist Tom Duggan.

The exhibition, which will take place at CRATE Project Space in Margate and at the Herbert Read Gallery at UCA in Canterbury, comprises performance, installation, found objects and text works.

Lacuna portrays ‘an artist who isolates himself for our spectacle’, regarding the tradition of disappearing artists like Bas Jan Ader and Lee Lozano, while considering, perhaps ironically, how such artists have entered into art history.

In some instances we see Duggan proposing fantasies; in others he seems to be preparing to disappear from the world. Seeming to exist both in fiction and in reality, these works reflect Duggan’s apparently simultaneous desires to be known and to be invisible.

Several of the works make attempts at declaring something. In one instance, Duggan claims to have put everything he owns into cardboard boxes. In another work, that the object exhibited is an item stolen from an undisclosed location somewhere in the UK. These claims are either supported with some kind of proof (if the action took place in the past), or presented as a promise (if it is yet to take place); with each, some aspect of the work is either unseen or unspecified.

In contrast to these declarations and promises are the suggestions of imagined exhibitions curated by the artist, for which he has created a series of press releases and floor plans.

Lacuna considers the presentation of the Tom Duggan artist-persona through this institutional framework and its capacity for revealing truths. It asks whether the viewer will accept the disparity between the Tom Duggan who speaks through the institution and the Tom Duggan who, we are told, carries out the series of secretive, isolated and contemplative acts documented in the work.

Lacuna is part of Bad Translation, CRATE’s programme for 2009/10.  It is supported by Arts Council England and Kent County Council.

About the artist:

Tom Duggan graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 2009.

He once arranged for a follower to follow viewers upon their departure from an exhibition space. Elsewhere, he arranged for actors to visit an exhibition only to pretend to be genuine viewers of the exhibition. Partially in an attempt to question the authority of the artist, these potentially invisible gestures play with the notions of consent inherent to gallery dynamics and etiquette.

Recent exhibitions have included Project Biennale (2009), Nottingham Trent University Fine Art Degree Show (2009) and Defunct (2008), which he co-curated at Backlit Studios in Nottingham.

tomduggan.org.uk

Lucy Harrison: THE ABSENT COLLECTOR

Preview: Friday 12 March 2010, 6-9pm
Open: 13 - 14 March 2010, 12-5pm & 19 - 21 March 2010, 12-5pm (Or by appointment)

For the fifth exhibition in CRATE's Bad Translation programme, Lucy Harrison explores interpretation and coincidence through the stories of two people – one from 20th Century Italy, the other from 19th Century Margate.

In the first part of the show, which takes place in CRATE’s Project Space 1, she attempts to piece together the biography of the owner of a collection of letters and postcards found on a roadside in Sicily.

The London-based artist was visiting Palermo last year when she discovered a carrier bag full of correspondence spanning 20 years. She returned home with the letters, intrigued by what they might reveal of their owner – and what they might withhold. With the help of an Italian speaking friend, she found parallels between the found collection and other ephemera belonging to absent family members which she herself owns. Following this, she asked various Italian speakers in Italy and the UK, including in Margate, to translate more of the letters into English, and also to interpret and speculate on what the letters might have meant and what they reveal about the correspondents’ lives and relationships. Her search for Italian connections in the area led her to a local story that casts a different light on what happens to somebody’s possessions when they die.

In Project Space 2, Harrison investigates a pamphlet found in the Margate Local History Archive. ‘A Plain Statement of a Late Base Conspiracy’ is the confusing story of a man in Margate in 1837 who felt persecuted by gossip in the town about why his uncle cut him out of his will. The gossip was literally spread around the streets by graffiti and ‘printed placards’.

The Absent Collector is Harrison’s investigation into the process by which the belongings of one who is no longer there have new value judgments placed on them and are often disseminated to various locations and read without the previous owner’s knowledge of why they were kept, or of the specific relationships between the objects that determined their meaning. By focusing on the idea of an unknown collector, the project considers how others may find or interpret items that were given away, and the way in which those that were kept now signify a void; the writer or receiver of letters no longer being present to clarify points or retell stories.

Harrison’s dissemination of the Sicilian collection is in part an attempt to explore how personal connections and family histories make objects meaningful: that when her collaborators’ input is gathered to form a new collection, it might create a portrait of the vacuum that is created when someone dies. The exhibition also examines the act of ‘reading’ a collection of objects – whether they be letters, objects, photographs - highlighting the role of guesswork in the absence of the original collector, and the extent to which one’s understanding of collections is guided by one’s own desires rather than curatorial or objective agendas. Furthermore, it considers the impact that this act of reinterpretation can have in the real world.

The Absent Collector is part of Bad Translation, CRATE’s programme for 2009/10. It is generously supported by Arts Council England and Kent County Council.

About the artist:

Lucy Harrison is based in London and graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1999. Her recent work investigates the subjective nature of the experience of place and connections between memory, location and architecture. It takes the form of photographs, book works, video and various forms of printed and published material. Her projects often engage with the public realm through collaboration, encounter and exchange, and involve residents of a place in the work, such as Canvey Guides, a project on Canvey Island in 2007, for which she formed the Rendezvous Walking Club and worked with people on the island to produce an alternative guidebook and audio guide. Recent projects include Fourteen Interventions (2010) at Swedenborg House, Poetry Machines (2009) at the Saison Poetry Library, London, The Stratford Grapevine (2008) for Art on the Underground at Stratford station and a residency at Lokaal 01, Antwerp in 2008. She was artist in residence at the Institute for Contemporary Interdisciplinary Arts at the University of Bath last year, and is developing a new project for SPACE working with residents of an estate in Hackney Wick, London.

Lucy Harrison is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury.

lucy-harrison.co.uk

S Mark Gubb + Roadkill Zine: HISTORY OF A TIME TO COME

Preview: Friday 12 February, 2010. 6 - 9pm
Open: 13 - 14 February 2010, 12 - 5pm & 19 - 21 February 2010, 12-5pm (Or by appointment)
Plus Zine Fair 20 February 2010, 12-5pm

For the fourth exhibition in CRATE’s Bad Translation programme, S Mark Gubb is teaming up with a hypnotist and East-Kent based fanzine Road Kill to rediscover his youth - specifically, his late teens, which he spent as a heavy metal and hardcore-loving musician and skateboarder in Margate.

For Gubb, as for anyone between the age of seventeen and twenty-one, these were seminal times, when cultural allegiances were formed and rock-star dreams pursued, while the pressures and realities of adulthood approached quietly. Towards the end of this period, Gubb realised that he had to choose between his beloved music and returning to study art. He chose the latter, but the local DIY music and skateboarding subcultures left a strong imprint on his work, which even now is as likely to refer to Napalm Death as it is to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In fact, Gubb’s work is an exploration of how different subcultures, with their attendant languages, can overlap in contemporary society, creating challenges to notions of independence and originality for those who regard themselves as outsiders (or, indeed, insiders). A single work might find the common ground between the inclusive rhetoric of both the American political right and the independent music scene, but, rather than producing work that critiques this process from rigid ideological standpoint, Gubb explores its potential for good and bad with equal emphasis.

In this new work, he positions himself explicitly as the subject of the actions, decisions and tastes of others – someone whose personal understanding of time and place are part of a larger system of tastes and interpretations. In December 2009, Gubb visited a hypnotist to be ‘regressed’ to his time in Margate. The series of diaristic impressions of the town and the landmarks and events that were important to his time there formed a manuscript, from which Road Kill Zine will be producing a zine and exhibition of drawings.

Road Kill Zine

Road Kill Zine was started in 2007 by Craig Scott and Dan Singer. The pair met skateboarding in Whitstable and Herne Bay, and soon discovered the rich DIY culture and hardcore punk music associated with the sport since the 1980s. Inspired by pioneering hardcore bands Minor Threat and Black Flag (whose singers, Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollins skateboarded together as teens), they adopted the ‘straight edge’ mantra (‘Don’t smoke, don’t drink...), and looked to the illustrators and fanzines associated with the bands for examples of how they might fill their evenings without dulling their minds. Their fanzines, which openly recall the subculture of the decade before they were born, take the classic obsessions of teenage misfits – zombies, sex, mistrust of grown-ups and authority figures - mix them with social commentary and weird humour, and render it all in a surreal anthropomorphic graphic style that reclaims each piece of source material, whether it be a slasher movie or a cheap pornographic image, as the subject of a very idiosyncratic imagination and worldview.

For History of a Time to Come Road Kill have produced a fanzine that takes the results of Gubb’s hypnotic regression and applies their skewed approach to his memories of day-to-day life in Margate, which include relatively quotidian events, such arbitrarily deciding to walk an unfamiliar route to his home. The results are tangential and phantasmagorical; a radical remaking of the past and an exploration of the relationship between Gubb, Scott and Singer; suggesting that illusive acts of the imagination and random thoughts are perhaps more substantive areas of commonality than any verifiable facts that might bind the three together.

In addition to the fanzine, which will be available for free from CRATE for the course of the exhibition, Gubb will work with Road Kill to produce a walk-in version of the ‘zine in CRATE’s project space. This could be seen as an attempt to make real those imaginary works the three have formed together. On the other hand, it could also be regarded as a shrine to the teenage bedroom or artists’ studio...

Zine fair CRATE will be holding an exhibition of fanzines and artists’ books to coincide with History of a Time to Come, featuring contributions from Road Kill – who will be bringing hand-printed hoodies and T-shirts as well as zines – and other self-publishers from Kent, including artist Lucy Harrison, who has a solo exhibition at CRATE in March. Other contributors include Duck and Cover Art Journal and Never Grow Up Zine. Entry is free, and all contributors will have work for sale. Non-contributors are welcome to bring their own fanzines to show and swap.

History of a Time to Come is part of Bad Translation, CRATE’s programme for 2009/10. It is generously supported by Arts Council England and Kent County Council.

Download the zine here

craigquestionsscott.tumblr.com
dansinger.co.uk
smarkgubb.com

Juan Cruz: TRANSLATING CHAPTER TWO

Preview: Friday 11 December 2009,6 - 9pm
Open: 12 - 13 & 18 - 20 December 2009, 12 - 5pm (Or by appointment)

Crate presents two new works by Juan Cruz: 
A Translation of El Arbol de la Ciencia (The Tree of Science) by Pío Baroja
A Translation of
La Sima (The Chasm) by Pío Baroja (with Naama Yuria)

For the third exhibition in Crate’s programme for 2009/10, two stories by Spanish writer Pío Baroja (1872-1956) are translated. These new works stem from artist Juan Cruz’s long-running interest in staging the interpretation of text from Spanish into English, treating it as a metaphor for visual representation and exploring the performative and physical aspects of the process.
 
For A Translation of El Arbol de la Ciencia (The Tree of Science) by Pío Baroja, Cruz has produced a typescript of the author’s best known work, which is about the growing disillusionment of a young medical student with his chosen profession and its inability to contribute in a meaningless and corrupted world. The pages of the typescript will form a stack at Crate – a dumb representation of the translation process - and photocopies of the translated text will be available to visitors.
 
For A Translation of La Sima (The Chasm) by Pío Baroja - A short story describing how the collective religious superstition of the inhabitants of a village prevents them from rescuing one of their own from a hole – Cruz translates the tale orally in a film produced in collaboration with Naama Yuria. This will be shown continuously throughout the exhibition’s duration.
 
These pieces are as much concerned with the process of translation as with its outcomes. Indeed, the work seems to question the distinction between process and product.  Neither artist had read Baroja’s stories before making the works, and the translations conspicuously contain a number of apparent errors and corrections – telling reminders of the way that a reader’s understanding of narratives (whether in literature or visual artwork) is constantly open to change as the reading progresses.  

Translation: Chapter Two is part of Bad Translation, CRATE's programme for 2009-10. The programme is generously supported by Arts Council England and Kent County Council.

About the artists

Juan Cruz was born in Palencia, Spain, in 1970. He is currently based in Liverpool, where he is Head of the Art Department at the Liverpool School of Art and Design, Liverpool John Moores University. Recent solo exhibitions include Mensch, The Enlightenments, curated by Julianna Engberg as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, 2009, and A Semblance of Activity, a solo Commission as part of ESTRATOS, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, Murcia, Spain. Juan Cruz is represented professionally by Matt’s Gallery, London and Galeria Elba Benitez, Madrid.

mattsgallery.org/artists/cruz

Born 1981, Naama Yuria began her intergalactic research in 2020, with a universal exhibition supported by the Supreme Federation of the Southern-east galaxy of Ashphurka. The exhibition included projecting a 20 hours, 16mm film onto the seventh Ashphurkian moon. In 2023, with the generous help of Ashphurkian telepathic transmission, Naama operated the first teleporting gallery, channelling viewers to the exhibition space on planet Antares. As a certified investigator of Irregular Linguistic Celestial Phenomena, Naama founded the ‘Rudimentary Particles’ association, granting substantial support for young artists to explore various methods of infra-linguistic possibilities of navigation. In 2025, Naama completed the construction of the ship, Pantalaucha, on board which she sailed to the North Pole of Planet Earth as part of the Nagwa ‘Gold Dust Quest project’. The festive highlight of this adventure was incarnated in a 90Km x 90Km image of a ‘synchronization contractor’ projected onto a broad ice field from a purple hot air balloon.

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