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‘INSIDE’ AT BLANCKSPACE IN MANCHESTER

I’ve just returned from Manchester were I installed my ‘Bed of Breasts’, an installation part of the very exciting group show: ‘Inside’ at Blankspace, another really interesting event organized and curated by Blank Media Collective. I have really enjoyed the whole experience. Working with Blanckspace has been a delight and the opening was packed with lovely people! Do check the space out: BLANKSPACE | 43 Hulme Street | Manchester | M15 6AW | 0161 222 6164.


I would like to warmly thank Mark, Kate, Liz and Jonathan for all they wonderful help and support. 

Friday 30 March – Sunday 29 April 2012, BLANKSPACE, Manchester

INSIDE: 30 March – 29 April 2012

EXHIBITION LAUNCH: Thursday 29 March (6-9pm)

Creative Writing & Visual Arts workshop: Thursday 26 April (2-5pm)

BLANKSPACE, Manchester Free Entry

Participating artists: Claudia Borgna, Philip Cheater, Drop Collective, Gill Greenhough, Rosie Leventon, David Ogle, Emily Rubner, Liz West and Chris Wrigh

Within the insular and atmospheric setting of BLANKSPACE gallery, Inside explores the psychological connections we form with our environment, placing the participant within a collection of works that disturb, envelop, and engage. All the works featured in this exhibition are united by themes of absence, loss, memory, fantasy and nostalgia, sparking the imagination and placing the participant both physically and mentally within the viewing space.

Kate Charlton, Blank Media Collective’s Lead Curator states; “Inside gives us the opportunity to bring together a collection of artworks which are going to encourage the audience to interact with pieces in a new and different way. This is an ambitious exhibition, bringing together an eclectic range of artists helping them to showcase works that may not have otherwise have been realised. Inside will set a precedent to what will be another exciting year for the organisation.”

To accompany the exhibition, there will be a hand-made publication featuring short prose and poetry inspired by the exhibition themes. Collating the work of twelve emerging writers, each of the pieces creates a perfect accompaniment to the exhibition experience.

The work for this show is a further exploration and development of the first ‘Bed of breast’ made at the Los Gatos Art Museum last Autumn.

 Bed of breasts
A found object: a cot
Inside the cot recycled plastic bags.
Everything white.
Like in a dream or a moment frozen in time.
All around rising tall flowers as if guarding the cot.
They are scentless and colourless, waiting for life to touch them.
They are made out of plastic bags.
I move closer and look inside the cot: I see many little airy balls: hollow.
They’re shaped like apples or maybe pears, but also reminding me of pumpkins, but actually no they have nipples: they might be breasts!
I can see them clearly now, through the dim light, their translucent wrinkled skin, gently revealed by a white veil: a patchwork of white plastic bags nestling in a protective blanket manner around them. One, two, hundred of breasts, they are everywhere, around the cot, under it.
In between them I discover a small hand written note and I read: ‘sleepless comforting nights, dreaming of art, of a better world, missing my mum, thinking of Veronica and counting bags’
Lured into this child bedroom by a chorus of twittering birds, I zoom back into the sound and focus on the light that bounces from a video projection into my eyes. I see bucolic rolling hills, hosting a field of white flowers gently rocking in the wind: plastic bags in the landscape.
I cannot see any birds though, I can only hear them.
For an instant I feel cosy and comforted by that environment that reconnects me with my childhood and the child in me.
Then suddenly my hearing picks up again, sensing all the other sounds around. I look to the side: there are empty boxes; someone is in the process of moving in, maybe moving out.
Inside one of the boxes, a feeble light beats: it’s a screen: another dream, another film.
I watch it unfold, and I realized is turning into something grotesque. Fearing for the nightmare to come I read the title: ‘Co-evolutionary extinction: sketch for a fairy tale’
I am about to leave the room and stumble on another box on the floor. It’s not empty either. It contains more images shining away. They spring out at me. This time what I see is uplifting: A playful white plastic bag swirls in the wind framed by a stunning blue landscape, but wait, there are more than just one bag, it’s two now, three, no, oh mine, it’s swarm of birds!
This story links my personal life to my artwork and how they influence one another.
This is the starting point for the viewers to add their own input, informed by their very own experience, in the Duchampian manner when only the viewers can complete the work, which by the way is always in process for me, just as this one.
The aim is to create an intimate space that might be deceivingly comforting and beautiful in order to lure the audience into a scenery that might turn into something else.
A part from all the well known Freudian connotations, of the dream/hope/desire, sexuality/love childhood/adulthood memory/future, illness, birth/death implied by the presence of the bed/cot and of the breasts, I also want to reflect on the relationship between our primordial place of safety with the competitive consumer world we have created for ourselves and for our future generations.
The breasts are organic nurturing symbols for, of course, the female, for motherhood and our connection to nature and mother earth. All these seem to have been objectified and commodified, contaminated by the incessant process, violated and even raped, just like anything else, I say, for the sake of consumption. The latter ruthlessly sucking us in, the very moment we leave that nursing alcove, distorting our values of natural humans beings, leading us to what I believe is a crisis of culture, therefore society and ultimately an existential crisis and angst of the individual.
The 3 videos are the dreams and the fears.
Dreaming is like travelling. Only the imagination can be completely free.
Human beings are not, despite our continuous struggle, I feel constantly suffocated by thousand restrictions that we’ve build for ourselves and for others!
Sometime I think that discarded objects and rubbish seem to have easier access to freely move around the world, than human beings, even despite their negative and criminal effect on the environment they can cross all boundaries and borders and not just the geopolitical ones of our globalized world.
Discarded and found objects also come with their own history DNA, which adds depth to the story and layers of deeper strata.
The boxes represent my life that as much as my art keeps coming out of a box! A packaged nomadic life style!

 The titles of the videos that are part of this installation are:
– ‘Blow me away if you can’
– ‘Co-evolutionary extinction: sketch for a fairy tale’
– ‘Unseasonal migration: travelling plastic bags’

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About Claudia Borgna

Claudia Borgna artist

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