Tris Vonna-Mitchell, Performance for the ICA, London, 2008, Photo: benedictjohnson.com
Petra Bauer, Rana, Still from DVD, 57 min., 2007
Stuart Wipps, Ming Jue: Longbridge, Body in White, 2004–2007
- Residency Programme 2009/2010
Focal Point Gallery are pleased to announce the participants for the organisation’s 2009 / 2010 Artist Residency Programme. Tris Vonna-Michell, Petra Bauer and Stuart Whipps will each spend three months in Southend-on-Sea, on the South East coast of the UK, developing new work to be shown in the gallery between January and June 2010.
Residency: July to September 2009
Exhibition: 9 January to 6 March 2010
Tris Vonna-Michell makes complex multi-media installations that combine photography, film and spoken-word performance. These works ruminate on history, literature and memory. Certain characters appear repeatedly in the artist’s works, and for this project in Southend, Vonna-Michell will knit together references to figures such as the writer W.G. Sebald and the artist Henri Chopin with the town’s varied cultural, political and social narratives, as well as with his own personal history. Vonna-Michell was born in Rochford in Essex and grew up in Southend-on-Sea.
Residency: October to December 2009
Exhibition: 13 March to 1 May 2010
Petra Bauer is a filmmaker who explores the documentary form by examining the ways in which stories are constructed and presented by the media. By questioning the ethics of the witness statement, she also puts into doubt the efficacy of the first-hand document. For her project in Southend, the artist intends to conduct research into the documentary methods used by film collectives in the UK during the 1970s and 1980s. Historical groups such as Cinema Action and the Berwick Street Film Collective tackled issues relating to housing, urban development and community cohesion. Through active discussion and collaborative work with local communities, Bauer will critically test the political effectiveness and potential of such collaborative working practices today.
Residency: January to March 2010 Exhibition: 8 May to 26 June 2010
Stuart Whipps’ photographs track the legacy of our industrial past. His project Ming Jue presents photographs taken at the former British Leyland and MG Rover car plant in Longbridge – which closed its door in 2005 – and in Nangjing in China, where the company subsequently relocated. Whipps’ pictures offer a commentary on our globalised economy without becoming didactic or partisan. For his residency in Southend, the artist will follow a similar research-led approach and investigate the effect that the construction of the Thames Gateway is having on its communities. Whipps will examine how the development’s priorities translate in real terms and depict in photographs communities attempting to adapt to the dramatic changes in their environment. Whipps is the award winner of EASTinternational 2009, the prestigious international open-submission exhibition, which was selected this year by Art & Language and Raster Gallery, Warsaw.
The programme, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, presents a unique opportunity for artists to develop their practice in relation to the district in South East Essex termed ‘The Thames Gateway’ by central government. This area, which stretches from East London to Southend-on-Sea along the Thames Estuary, is the site of the most ambitious regeneration project in Europe, and is being delivered through a combination of local partnerships and regional development agencies. As a consequence of this planned redevelopment, the communities in these locations are experiencing profound economic and cultural changes. Each artist in the residency programme plans to respond to these transformations in a critically relevant manner, and have been chosen because of the significance of their practice to Southend’s specific social context.