http://arbart.crassh.cam.ac.uk/permeable-spaces/Exhibition: 8 August – 13 September 2019
Live art event, and panel discussion, Thursday 12 September, 6-7:30pm
at Alison Richard Building, Cambridge CB3 9DTdraftrearPS
The ARB’s public atrium is a space of constant flux and flow. Seating areas are perches:
light, airy, temporary landings. Nicholas Hare’s architecture, like so many contemporary
workspaces across the globe, has chosen an open plan format, largely transparent, and
Changes in spatial experience ignite changes in thinking patterns. Unlike the furry
vernacular buildings historically typical to this region – whose thatched or reeded roofs and
thick walled construction suggest a womb-like quality – these newer buildings are built off
a skeletal steel frame with a meagre cladding of glass, brick or timber. Architectural forms
are stripped of ornament and more rigidly defined, echoing the unit structure evident in the
materials. This creates a sense of the potential for infinite mechanical reproduction,
making even populated spaces feel manufactured, homogenous, and impermanent.
The link between dwelling and human body has long been articulated: Louise Bourgeois
drew women as houses in the 1940s, explicitly linking the experience of architecture to
being within a containing, though permeable, body. Yet, buildings are increasingly
designed at a distance: procured through a scattered constellation of (still predominantly
male) project managers, cost consultants and proprietary specialists.
This exhibition of work by eight contemporary artists, and a collaborative duo, opens up
questions around how we experience space now, through use of print, painting, drawing
To what extent do we internalise objects and walls as boundaries? How do they structure
the narratives of our thought? What new worlds become apparent if we free ourselves
from a numerical sense of scale? How does the prevalence of large, reflective, glass and
metal surfaces in contemporary buildings affect our perception of space and ourselves?
What, in our surroundings, reflects our influence, and how do we cope when there seems
to be nothing?
Works in this exhibition reflect on, or highlight through contrast, this experience of
unsettled space, where multiple stimuli vie for attention or coexist in precarious balance.
Creatively and imaginatively inhabiting these artworks, the viewer is encouraged to construct their own narratives, and reclaim this territory of habitation as a place of reverie and
Melissa Pierce Murray
Louise Butler Adams
Andrew James and Clio Lloyd-Jacob, as Coop, will present a piece of live art on 12 September.
20 minute work about the process of collaboration, in which the two artists negotiate in real time the composition of a projected digital and live shadow work on a wall for audience. A recorded soundtrack is interpreted also through amplified live interjections, playing with perceptions of live and pre-formed commentary.