Photo above, work in progress 27/09/11
and on ARTRabbit
PRESS RELEASE Hackney Utopians at Abney Park Exhibition
Stoke Newington Library Gallery, 184 Stoke Newington Church St. London. N16 0JS
Private View 6-9pm Thurs 29th September. Exhibition continues 30th September-2nd October
Maria Alvarez-Echenique – Ceramic Sculptures. Eva Bachmann – Photographs.
Frank Creber – Paintings. Mina – Installation
Plus Ceramic Angel, Community Map and Canvas Drawings made at the Summer Workshops
Who are the Hackney Utopians?
Maria Alvarez-Echenique, Eva Bachmann and Frank Creber formed this collective in order to explore the dreams, expectations and regeneration initiatives of various European communities. The relationship between arts and community is something that brings the three artists together. Over the years, alongside their own artistic careers, they have been working with diverse communities in various public and community art projects, gaining a deeper understanding about the relationship “community-dreams-art”.
In this project we have invited Mina Nelson to join the exhibition, Mina helped us run the Summer workshops in Abney Park.
As part of ‘Abney Park’s Art Week’, we held art workshops for the community in August. We explored the space, history and local attitudes to the park, using drawing, painting, ceramic, and art & craft. We created a Ceramic Angel, Community Map and Canvas Drawings.
Maria Alvarez-Echenique’s new body of work has been inspired by the surroundings of Abney Park Cemetery and centre around the themes of Life and Death. The artists shows Abney Park with its marked interaction of nature and memorials to the dead, to be as much a celebration of life as a place of sadness and loss. Her porcelain sculptures become a memorial of life, death and the natural world. In her work the abundant growth of nature can seem as spiritual as the representation of Angels. In this particular project Alvarez Echenique view of angels was also inspired by Wim Wender’s 1987 film Wings of Desire with its representation of angels as being invisible heavenly spirits watching over us. However the primary influence of Abney Park leads to Alvarez Echenique blurring the borders between nature and a heavenly world. Her use of casting and hand-building techniques using porcelain are characteristic of her sculptural work. Exploring the potential of different materials and techniques her pieces become vivid canvases, inspired by the colours and textures found in nature.
Eva Bachmann “Every time I walk through the gates of Abney Park, one of London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ Victorian cemeteries, I am entering a timeless scenery of wild nature reclaiming its territory. It is inviting me on a magical tour, where reality blends with the obscure and the bats can be mistaken by a mysterious dance of lost souls. “Bachmann’s photographs play with the notion of the subtle boundaries between the real and imaginary; by manipulating the colours, she distorts the perception of time and reality. She attempts to recreate her experience when walking through the park.
Most of Bachmann’s work is based on photographs. She is using her original photographic images as a foundation from which she creates paintings, ceramic reliefs, prints and mixed media to express the essence of her experiences when capturing the image. Trained as a fine-art painter, to me, photography is an
Frank Creber is Visual Arts Director of Water City Festival, Creative Director at Bromley By Bow Centre, he has exhibited widely in London, in the UK and abroad. Creber says: “I began with some observational drawings of the entrances, and at various view-points on a walk through the park. In the Studio I found my curiosity had created a cloud of conflicting ideas about; the Abolition of Slavery, the lively Goth Scene, the War Memorial, the evocative Chapel and the use of the park by groups on the fringes of society. As the paintings progressed some of these separate worlds inhabited the same pictorial space while in other canvases; a new bell is being installed in the chapel tower, or two actors performing of ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’, walk through the park at night at full moon.”
Mina Nelson is a visual artist from Bulgaria. Her work varies largely in media and can broadly be described as Conceptual.
For the Hackney Utopians at Abney Park Exhibition, she is laying out an installation of eight, green, yarn-made screens to represent nature taking over the cemetery. The screens are tied in with a typographic epitaph from the book Fathers and Sons by 19th century Russian writer – Ivan Turgenev as a testimony to all rebellious and progressive minds buried there. This is her first exhibition in London.
More info: Hackney Utopians Blog http://hackneyutopians.blogspot.com/