House 2012 takes rising and international artists on a trip across Brighton

By Duncan Andrews | 24 May 2012
A photo of an illuminated angular sculpture of lights propped up between a hallway entrance
© Duncan Andrews
Festival: House 2012, various venues, Brighton and Hove, until May 27 2012

In its fourth year, House - Brighton and Hove’s contemporary visual arts festival – returns with more domestic displacement.

With significant funding from Arts Council England, this year’s festival brings a new co-commission and related works from renowned British artist David Batchelor to the Regency Town House, as well as a traditional map of local “open house” artists, including five newly-produced responses from Robin Blackledge, Deborah Bowness, Caroline Le Breton, Helene Kazan and Tim Brown with Anna Deamer.

A photo of bits of carpet in yellow and red cut out to spell out the words help me
The Phoenix Gallery© Duncan Andrews
Operating within both traditional gallery and unconventional urban spaces, these artists explore themes of domesticity, different environments and everyday objects, displayed in the Phoenix Gallery, domestic spaces, studios, the city streets and unexpected locations.

Batchelor’s residency introduces a major new commission in conjunction with the Brighton Festival. The Palermo Remix is a site-specific installation awash with vibrant colours and re-used materials, creating an iconic display.

Batchelor has drawn heavily upon traditional external festive decorations from the city of Palermo, situating them in a Regency period building. The Grade I-listed architecture helps form an interplay between the normally-public celebratory objects and the private, hedonistic space of the Regency domestic.
Batchelor’s work continues a few doors down, at the Regency Basement, and in a combination of both 3D and 2D “related works”, including his complete Found Momochromes series.

A photo of a pair of small white sculptures against a black background
Work by Robin Blackledge© Duncan Andrews
Urban displacement and the revealing of private interiors are central to a diverse line-up.

At the University of Brighton Gallery, artists Bown and Deamer worked with students from the University of Brighton and City College, creating two imaginary film sets from the novel Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton.

A smart Brighton hotel room and a murder scene complete with narrated extracts from the novel transport visitors to rain-swept Brighton on the cusp of World War Two.

At the Phoenix Gallery, visitors are able to view four diverse installations: Shelf Life, by Blackledge, echoes Batchelor in suggesting new aesthetic meanings and associations, reusing casts from functional consumer supermarket packaging.

They are displayed as either singular totems or grouped together centrally, creating imagined buildings or cities.

Masking Tape Intervention: Lebanon 1989, by Kazan, is a mixed media installation comprising film, photography, scale models and drawings.

The installation employs narrated testimonies from family members, explaining why her family eventually emigrated from Lebanon and the assumed security the home represents.

Paper Trail, by Bowness, explores domestic displacement and urbanity by juxtaposing interior wallpaper on harsh urban settings.

Starting at the Phoenix and ending at the Townhouse, she has placed wallpaper trails throughout the city.

Outside the Phoenix, in St Peter’s Church Gardens, Le Breton’s Help me get my Feet Back on Ground places a circular floral carpet with cut-out letters on the lawn. Once removed, the message will remain ingrained on the grass: an inside space outside on the lawn.

These installations encourage visitors to engage with the city in a new way and consider the definitions of public and private spaces, linked by their use of everyday and discarded objects to create new associations.

An enjoyable festival, House succeeds in offering exposure to regional artists alongside internationally renowned ones in some of the city’s lesser-known cultural venues, including the cityscape itself.

More pictures:

A photo of an angular light installation illuminating a room in dark red and yellow light
David Batchelor takes over part of the historic Regency Town House© Duncan Andrews
A photo of a man in a suit lying on a circular red and yellow carpet with his arms spread
Writer Duncan Andrews relaxes in dapper fashion© Duncan Andrews
A photo of the inside of a lounge with cobwebs across it, set up as an art installation
Hangover Square at the University of Brighton Gallery© Duncan Andrews
Follow Duncan Andrews on Twitter and visit his Flickr.
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