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I had the opportunity to make a short presentation recently at the Cornmill Arts space in Ilkley as part of one of their regular Polikana evenings. Based on the popular Pecha Kucha format, each artist shows twenty slides and talks for six minutes and forty seconds (exactly) on any subject but predominantly their own practice. It gave me a chance to reflect on the de-,dis-,ex-. exhibition last October in Sheffield and the six months spent working with the School of Architecture there. I have also spent a significant amount of time working on a written critique of the whole project that will form a chapter of my PhD research that is due for completion later this year – all being well. Thanks to Gary, Simon and Joe for putting the event on.

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On a hectic day-trip to London recently I managed to squeeze in a visit to the Ulm School show at Raven Row. It was fascinating to see the objects that emerged from the collaborative efforts of students and staff within the context of this art space, as the supporting text states:

‘During its short life from 1953 to 1968, the Ulm School of Design (HfG Ulm) in Southern Germany pioneered an interdisciplinary and systematic approach to design education – known as the Ulm Model – that was to become universal. On the face of it, the HfG Ulm had little to do with art. Design work was mostly collectivised and rationalised, the idea of the designer as intuitive ‘artist’ emphatically rejected, and the designer’s role understood as only one amongst the many specialisms of industrial production. But this exhibition suggests that the school continued the projects of the artistic avant-gardes, especially Constructivism, in that objects were systematically designed to project ideal social relations’.

It took me back to my own design education, some thirty five years ago, when the ripples of influence from the Ulm School and the Bauhaus (one of my tutors was Wilf Franks who had studied there under Gropius and El Lissitzky – well he was 84!) clashed with the emerging ideas from Sottsass Jr’s Memphis and architectural postmodernism. There was just enough time left to see the William Kentridge exhibition at the Whitechapel and Infinity Mix at The Store, organised by the Hayward – both great shows.

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I was invited to take part in the first group show at the new Cornmill art space in Ilkley and decided to re-install Escape from the Sheffield show. Mounting it partly on the wall and allowing the assembly to form a more architectonic shape on the floor.

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Too orangey for crows. Photo courtesy of Gary Winters

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Escape
2016
Mixed media; polystyrene and plastic.

Beneath the Street, the Fertile Soil
2016
Video animation rendered from a 3D digital scan.

Future Primitive
2016
Mixed media; steel, plywood and ceramic.