Meteor: a group show


20 February – 2 April 2010

Crossing the boundaries of media freely, Meteor is the result of a challenge to seven internationally exhibited artists: create a work that reacts, rejects, references, lauds, focuses, dismisses or creates a tangent from a given notable biographical figure taken from the Derbyshire village of Repton’s history. For this exhibition Dan Coopey, Maria Georgoula, Paul Housley, Justin Jaeckle, George Henry Longly, Iori Wallace and Ian Whitfield’s work will acknowledge how we know a person: how we construct a biography or a persona of a person; yet will never be able to fully realize any absolute truth statement about that person.

Curated by Oliver Basciano, the theme of identity construction nods to the location’s history, subsumed largely by the presence of a public school campus, discerning how a sense of biographical history – be it illustrious alumni, headmaster portraiture or the names on a war memorial– are central to the forming of some kind of institutional identity. This sense of narrative is also referenced twofold in the exhibition title. Firstly the manner in which a field of knowledge and epoch of life descended into the lives of the artists through the briefest of curatorial invites: their memory, albeit the recesses of memory, are to be permanently enshrined with that of their biographical subjects. The title is derived from Czech writer Karel Capek’s eponymous second of a trilogy of novels, published 1933 – 1934, in which a poet, a clairvoyant and a nun ruminate on the life narrative of an unknown, unconscious and unidentified victim of a plane crash, Patient X. Capek’s characters demonstrate a turn to perspecivism, in which truth is only evolved from a multifarious series of fictive ideas. Like our seven artists; the poet, clairvoyant and nun each present faint sketches to the patient’s life, through which we must perceive some ‘sense’ of the patient’s past and present. This demonstration of perspectivism by Capek marked a reaction against his earlier adherence to relativity.

The curator has purposely eschewed approaching artists with a history of biographical working methods; the exception being Iori Wallace, who will present a short written script bringing the biographical protagonists together. The remaining six, two painters and four object-based practitioners, instead have a studious sense of material within their work. This muddies the water further, arguing how such formal sensibilities build a subjectivity – be it Housley or Whitfield’s painterly use of colour and its play on the fundamental senses in the obscurification of subject, Coopey’s ongoing investigation into technological framing, Longly’s analysis of the particalisation of material and the analogies this can catalyse, Georgoula’s fascination of how found objects can project a networked source history and Jaeckle’s inceptions into architecture and pop culture, both dominant forces in our the constitution of variable self. These collective tropes are here displayed at the service of narrative; both destroying and cultivating an ever-intertwining subjectivity of the historical figure, artist, viewer, place and material; into the biography of a nuclei existence where the boundaries of fiction and fact are passé and only sense and perspective prevail.

Address: Gallery No 1 and New Court Gallery, Repton, Derby, DE65 6FH

Opening times 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, call this number for entry 01283559301 
Nearest train station: Derby, 1 ½ hours direct from London St Pancras. 15 minute taxi ride from station.

For further information please contact Oliver Basciano