Remarkable and Curious Conversations

Curated by Cally Trench

Duncan Sellar

R&CC: The ArtistsR&CC: The Interactions

Duncan Sellar wrote: I'm interested in collecting Remarkable and Curious Conversations participants' ideas for artistic projects that haven't been realised; these might be projects that haven't worked out, projects that time and resources haven't allowed the artist to complete, projects that are the artistic equivalent of 'unfilmable', or just total fantasies. The intention is to organise these ideas into an installation entitled Neverospective, which will take the form of a museum with models, drawings and commentary representing each project.

Five artists, Tineke Bruijnzeels, Joan Skelton Smith, Patrick Jeffs, Alison Carter Tai, and Cally Trench, responded with proposals.

Hop Scotch

Patrick Jeffs, Hop Scotch (2011)

Hop Scotch (2011) by Patrick Jeffs: At various times I have made large paintings, up to 10 metres long, which have been designed to be presented in a horizontal position on the ground. Most have been displayed outside in relation their environment but also one was used in a contemporary dance which toured several theatres and I really enjoyed the experience of seeing professional dancers on the image that I had created.

When making these pieces I was always thrilled by the sensation of moving across these painted surfaces; to walk on a painting is a different way to experience it.

I decided to make a highly coloured hopscotch grid, one designed to maximise the affect of successive waves of contrasting hues. I decided that I would modify the rules of the game to include two, rather than one stone and each one would be painted the same shade of grey. Due to the effects of simultaneous contrast, the stones would no longer appear to be the same colour as each other when placed on differing backgrounds.

The project was abandoned, I had not made a final decision on the support for the painted grid, perhaps carpet or vinyl; I am not sure what health and safety implications there would have been for the work.

The aim of the piece would be to create an exciting visual experience for the children as they hopped over a succession of contrasting colours and also giving them some awareness that colours are modified by their surroundings.

Through a Glass

Through a Glass (2011) by Joan Skelton Smith: In the spring of 2007 I prepared a proposal for a sculptural installation for the Chiltern Sculpture Trail. On my initial visit to the site I noticed that most of the visitors to the trail were there to walk their dogs or to exercise and seemed to take little notice of the artworks installed. I decided to try to create work that would catch visitors' attention, slow them down and entice them to spend more time contemplating the environment and their place in it.

Taking photographs of the site, I was initially struck by the reflection of the trees and sky on the rooftop of my metallic blue Volvo and later by the treetops reflected in the puddles of water on the ground.

I took my grandmother's mirror off my studio wall and out to the trail to research locations. After consulting a topographical map, I decided that I would like to install mirrors on the ground along the south facing slope of the trail which would bring the reflection of the sunlight, sky and treetops down to the forest floor creating something akin to the rabbit hole that Alice disappears down in Through the Looking Glass. The title 'Through the Glass' would refer to both Alice and "For now we see through a glass, darkly." (1 Corinthians 13:12)

I decided that I wanted to use slightly convex mirrors to make the viewer smaller and bring the treetops and sky down to the ground. My hope was that the visitor would feel engulfed by an image that would be constantly changing with the conditions of the environment, dawn to dusk, spring to winter.

Merry Widow corset

A Merry Widow corset of the 1950s,
The Spring Arts Centre, Havant, autumn 2011
Photograph: Alison Carter Tai (2011)

Florence Nightingale Bra (2011) by Alison Carter Tai: My offering is a piece of art work that I was going to make for a Breast Cancer campaign exhibition last year, 2010 - the exhibition took place but my contribution never came to fruition - I ran out of time and actually I doubt I had the skills to hand then to make other than a complete hash of it, but I enjoyed the thought processes that accompanied the research.

It was to be an artwork in the form of a decorated bra on the theme of 'a woman you admire' - and I thought of Florence Nightingale, and her contribution to nursing - here was a woman who was born in Florence, and lived in great comfort, in Hampshire where I live - at Embley Park- before deciding that she had a mission in life to comfort the sick and wounded, and whose cousins were the Bonham-Carters in Oxfordshire for whom my grandma Frances Doreen Sharp née Hicks worked at one point, and thereby came by some curtains that were reputedly from Florence Nightingale's house, hence my very personal interest in her.

I thought I would take a black bra, use some salmon pink velvet akin to the colour of the curtains that I recall in my parents' house at Tidmarsh, during my early childhood, and I would stitch over each bra cup the form of the cupola of Florence cathedral, and embellish with a spidery over- or under-layer, depicting a silhouetted nightingale bird, against a moonlit sky.

In the event I did mount an exhibition of bras and other corsetry, although not any that I had embellished myself, simply collections I had accumulated personally, to accompany a celebration of women and with reference to the breast cancer campaign. Here's a snapshot of my display at The Spring Arts Centre, Havant, autumn 2011, of a Merry Widow corset of the 1950s, black lace over salmon pink along the lines of my idea for the 'Florence Nightingale'- inspired bra - though of course the Victorian lady herself would not have worn a bra, and her corset would have been much more substantial than this one!

A Total Fantasy

Tineke Bruijnzeels
Silence, Annecy

A Total Fantasy

Tineke Bruijnzeels
Silence, La Roche sur Foron

A Total Fantasy (2011) by Tineke Bruijnzeels: About two years ago I was at a party talking to someone who has attended several private views of the installations in the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern. We talked about my work, he had a look at my website and came back to me later with his comment. "You are thinking too small, just ask yourself: What would I do in the Turbine Hall?" I knew the answer immediately. At the time I was working on a proposal for At Play 1: an installation of seemingly floating ping pong balls. How I would love to expand this piece for the Turbine Hall, and have my ping pong balls floating down the ramp! So there's my project for Neverospective: a total fantasy.

Here are three images of my installation in three different exhibitions. The number of ping pong balls is still growing. I had about 200 in Cornier in 2010, 400 in Annecy in 2010, and in September 2011, I installed 1000 ping pong balls in an exhibition in La Roche sur Foron, where for the first time I had an entire room at my disposal.

Shopping Spree

Cally Trench, Shopping Spree (2011)

Lifesize Shopping Spree (2011) by Cally Trench: Each square on the board would be a paving stone 80 x 80 cm, making the 'board' 104m x 104m. The playing pieces would be replaced by human beings. The items for sale would be replaced by painted wooden sculptures, which, like the pieces in the tabletop game, are all more or less the same size (that is cars, computers and teapots are much the same size). The dice, money and cards would be in proportion, and therefore very large relative to the human players. The game would be played to the same rules.

Mladic by Joan Skelton Smith

Joan Skelton Smith, Mladic (2011)
Cut paper template, 35 x 53.5 cm
based on photo suggested by Cally Trench

Papel Picado (2011) by Joan Skelton Smith: In 2009 I began a series of tissue paper cut outs inspired by Mexican Day of the Dead papel picado banners with subject matter drawn from news sources. I view these banners as something like history painting and social/political commentary. I envision the banners as an ongoing series; I would like to see them displayed in a large group, strung across the room or in a hallway as the Mexican banners are during Day of the Dead events. Each banner begins with images taken from current news. The template for the tissue paper is created from a collage of images downloaded from the internet. The template is then used to create multiples in two colours, black and a second colour having some significance for the subject matter. The tissue paper cut-outs are then glued to string to create a series of banners.

Someday I would like to investigate the possibility of having the tissue paper laser cut so that it would be possible to create a large number which could be given to gallery visitors in the same way that Felix Gonzales-Torres posters are given away.

Duncan Sellar
Tineke Bruijnzeels
Joan Skelton Smith
Cally Trench
Patrick Jeffs
Alison Carter Tai

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