The Water Sinks Down With Them at the Southbank Centre

Recent commission for Opera North Projects

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Awarded Culture & Climate Change Residency

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I’m delighted to have been selected for the Climate Change in Residence: Future Scenarios, along with artists Lena Dobrowolska & Teo Ormond-Skeaping and Zoë Svendson.

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Working with artists’ moving image, photography, installation, theatre and performance, the chosen artists will undertake a new kind of residency programme which embeds them within climate research and policy knowledge networks, rather than within one institution. They will engage with climate scenarios, and explore and extend the ways in which society engages with the range of possible future climates.

Announced at Jerwood Space on Monday night, Shonagh Manson, Director of Jerwood Charitable Foundation said “These networked residencies will put culture and artistic practice at the heart of conversations about our climate futures. The artists selected have demonstrated a keen hunger for dialogue and exchange around these issues, which passionately inform their work. These residencies will harness the imaginations of talented artistic individuals for the benefit of the scenario planning network whilst simultaneously providing a unique research environment in which each artist can further their own practice and projects.”

www.cultureandclimatechange.co.uk

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New film installation: ‘The Water Sinks Down with Them’ opens next week

TWSWT_4In conjunction with Opera North’s epic presentation of Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle, a new sound and film installation The Water Sinks Down with Them by artist Emma Critchley comes to Leeds Central Library from Monday 16 to Thursday 26 May.

The installation will accompany Opera North’s Ring cycle on tour to:

Admission at all venues is free, with no booking required

Emma Critchley takes her inspiration from the opening bars of Wagner’s 16-hour epic, beginning where the composer began with the primeval energy of the River Rhine: ‘The fact that the Ring starts and ends in water is central to my response with this work. It’s an exploration of this Wagnerian idea of a pre-existing cosmos in which human consciousness takes form. The water is primordial and evokes an expansive sense of time, before and after our own existence. Through the film a timeless, ever-changing space unfolds that seems at times colossal, at others microscopic.’

Sound designer Nicolas Becker, who has worked with filmmakers including Roman Polanski and David Cronenberg, and received his second Golden Reel award for his work on Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, has been collaborating with the artist. A recording of Opera North’s Rhinemaidens – the first and the last characters seen in the four-opera cycle – will form basis of the soundscape. “It’s inspired by the opening bars of Das Rheingold that evolve into the first sung word, which is Wagner’s metaphor for the evolution of consciousness” says Critchley.

The artist, a qualified commercial diver whose fascination with the submarine world can be seen throughout her work in photography and film, admits that she is a newcomer to the music of Wagner: ‘It’s been a steep learning curve – I spent Christmas getting to grips with recordings of the cycle and the libretto translations, and reading around the myths and the philosophy that fed into Wagner’s work.’

She cites Ludwig Feuerbach, the German philosopher and contemporary of Wagner, as an influence on the new installation. Feuerbach’s belief in the supremacy of nature, which ‘has no beginning and no end’ and ‘is at once effects and cause, acting and reacting on all sides’, was taken up passionately by Wagner as he wrote the Ring, and in an early draft the cycle concludes with the so-called ‘Feuerbach ending’.

The Water Sinks Down with Them is part of an extensive programme of special events and commissions, including talks, film screenings, live broadcasts and family workshops, in celebration of Opera North’s performance of six complete cycles of the Ring in cities across the country this summer.

Emma Critchley will give an informal artist’s talk in the exhibition space on Tuesday 17 May from 5.30pm to 6.30pm. Admission is free and no booking is necessary, but space is limited so early arrival is recommended.

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Installation Photos from UK/RAINE exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery

The Firtash Foundation and Saatchi Gallery present UK/RAINE, an exhibition of emerging artists from the UK and Ukraine as part of the Days of Ukraine in the UK festival. 24th November 2015 – 3rd January 2016

Minutes Passing Slowly: Artists in Conversation with Day&Gluckman Curators

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Emma Critchley, film still from Need for Touch, 2014 and Nadège Mériau, Day after Day, Installation, 2014

Events: Saturday, 11th October 2014

1pm-2pm:  Yeast as Catalyst: Bread making workshop led by Nadège Mériau at the Regency Town House basement. For more information please email: nadege@nadegemeriau.com

3pm-4pm : The artists will be in conversation with Day + Gluckman on  at the Regency Town House basement.  For more information please email: mail@dayandgluckman.co.uk

Both events are free but places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

http://www.nadegemeriau.com @NadegeMeriau
http://www.emmacritchley.com @EmmaJCritchley
http://www.dayandgluckman.co.uk @dayandgluckman

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Minutes Passing Slowly as part of the Brighton Photo Fringe

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Emma Critchley, film still from Need for Touch, 2014 and Nadège Mériau, Day after Day, Installation, 2014

Emma Critchley & Nadège Mériau inhabit the subterranean space of the Regency Town House

Exhibition dates: 3 – 19 October 2014
Opening times: Friday – Sunday 12 – 6pm

The Regency Town House basement, Brighton & Hove, BN3 1EH
Contact for exhibition: 07813 190912

‘The world is reflected in the body, and the body is projected onto the world’

This simple line comes from Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses , by Juhani Pallasmaa, a writer that artists Nadège Mériau and Emma Critchley have studied and discussed, first as photography students at the Royal College of Art and more recently in the galvanising of Minutes Passing Slowly.  Working here in starkly different media both artists investigate the relationship between space and body, and how the one is conditioned by the other.

The Regency Town House Basement is an extraordinarily evocative and pertinent place to site this exhibition. It offers the opportunity of both physical and psychological immersion and locates the timeless nature of the subject matter within its walls, adding another layer to its own particular history.

Emma Critchley’s underwater film work explores human experience, often in states of suspension and stillness. This stasis is unnerving, with its bare boned allusions to the eternal circle of life and death. In her video works a gentle ripple of the water or a bursting bubble relieves the tension, gentle breath echoing in the space.   For Minutes Passing Slowly Critchley has developed a new site-specific installation piece, made in collaboration with sound artist zitrone that deliberately plays against the existing interior of the former servants dining room. An alcove extends an empty yet domestic space into an underwater world. Weaving through the space are resonant frequencies of the room itself in the form of sine waves; the interior and body merging simultaneously above and below ground. A new video work also created for the exhibition, Need for Touch investigates the growing hegemony of vision and its relationship with the rest of the senses.

Moving through the passageway, light filters in from an inner courtyard and we arrive at the heart of the house, the kitchen, where Nadège Mériau’s installation, made specifically for this exhibition, confronts us. A wave of rolling, tumbling bread spews from the hearth, encroaching onto the once immaculate floor. Hard, solid loaves brick up an internal wall mirroring the bare brickwork of the walls and languid, pendulous forms, heavy with flour, hang flaccid from hooks and sills. This is bread-making in all its dirty, glorious reality. Heavy with yeast and fat, nurturing and enveloping it exudes its own creative histories. Mériau’s work has long been rooted in Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy that the body is the ‘primary site for knowing the world’. Her appropriation of bread making as a medium, both to an end and of an end itself, reflects the physicality of the process of creation and also her own place in the world.  She says “It is a weekly ritual through which we inhabit our body, our community, our home and our cultural environment”  – it becomes for Mériau the very rope by which she is attached to the world. From the slippery touch of wet dough to the architectural form of a baked loaf all senses are engaged.

Minutes Passing Slowly presents new installation and film works by the London and Brighton based artists, both fascinated by the phenomenological, the investigation of experience. Whilst the references are universal the practices of both artists convey specific personal relationships with their environment.

The exhibition is supported by A Woman’s Place, a project curated by Day + Gluckman, that aims to question and address the contemporary position of women in our creative, historical and cultural landscape. It is inspired by an urgent desire to relocate the simple message of female equality into the cultural fabric of today. Using historically significant venues, commissions and works explores the contemporary position of women in our creative, historical and cultural landscape.
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http://www.nadegemeriau.com @NadegeMeriau
http://www.emmacritchley.com @EmmaJCritchley
http://www.dayandgluckman.co.uk @dayandgluckman

The exhibition is part of the Brighton Photo Fringe 2014

With grateful thanks to our sponsors: Locate Productions, Richer Sounds, Brighton & Budgens, East Finchley without whose support this exhibition would not have been possible.

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