The Geographical Self: from Here to Here


The Geographical Self: from Here to Here


an exhibition of work by David Johnson, Rebecca Thomas, Aude Herail Jaeger, Michael Wright, Kerry Andrews
at the Art Pavilion, London, June/July 2012


Catalogue introduction:

The phenomenon of our figural presence is a strange thing, it can sometimes be seen simply by catching our shadows or using a space as a reverberating chamber for our voice. We take up space beyond our body.

The 'geographical self' focuses on our physical sense of place and time. The term reflects our individual embeddedness in particular spaces and our openness within them. It suggests that we are larger than our bodies - we don't end at the skin but take up and animate larger areas. The mapping and exploration of this space includes interior worlds and how they relate to this arena of the self. The specific focus on the term 'place' is important in this context as it has an important reciprocating role in forming the self.

Explorations of this geographical placeframe attempt a kind of mapping or navigating - a kind of narrative, an active travelling, physically and/or psychologically, is depicted or enacted in the works.

The artists in this exhibition demonstrate variations on the geography of self. It has been an interesting learning process for me as curator to see how they each look at this subject.

David Johnson's practice is perhaps the most oblique in terms of relation to the geographical self. As he states in this catalogue, he has an ambiguous relationship with 'external' geography. But this reinforces a deeper understanding and reflects Henri Lefebvre's view of the various geographies that we inhabit. Which is external and which is in our own mind is often hard to determine.

Rebecca Thomas' relation to the geographical self is tested in landscapes sometimes foreign and hostile. This heightens her response and sensitivity to place and its importance to character, which informs the voice of her photographs and videos.

Aude Herail Jager's attention to details and marks shows her vision of particular places and the life/lives they reflect and create. Aude demonstrates a responsiveness and openness to the world in its moments and intimate touches.

Michael Wright brings together a response to the world around him with a strong sense of cultural history. His vision is made of fragments - past ideas, ideals and civilisations - but these are based on a concern with, and a sympathetic eye on, the everyday.

As for me, my work has dealt with some of the ideas covered by the other artists and has been primarily about the human figure from the start. I wondered what the 'figure' is beyond the body. Over the years sound has played an important influence on my visual work and how I understand our relationship to place. Hence the exhibition's closing afternoon and evening of sound works, by Contakt, related to the theme.

Kerry Andrews 2012


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