Starts: Friday, 7th November, 2014 - 11:00

Ends: Saturday, 10th January, 2015 - 16:00

Helen Kirwan and Simon Pruciak  

James Hockey Gallery and Elaine Thomas Library - UCA Farnham  

7 November 2014 - 10 January 2015*  

This exhibition explores the phenomenology of a route known as the E40, which extends from Calais in France to Ridder in Kazakhstan. Conceived by the United Nations to facilitate communication of goods, cultures, people, ideas, beliefs and inventions, the E40 is a trans-continental, long-distance trade route uniting these ten nations and parts follow prehistoric ancient pathways and sections of the so-called silk routes. 

Image of the Road represents an ongoing research project by Kirwan and Pruciak which begun during the summer of 2013 when the artists embarked on a 17,000 kilometre return journey by motorcar with architect Jarek Karpik. 

Over 54 days they travelled through France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.  The resulting exhibition brings together several different elements including a four channel video installation, a single channel video, photographs, archival material and wall-based text work. 

By undertaking the performative act of making the journey, the artists explore the indeterminacy of space and the experience of movement along the route. For Kirwan and Pruciak, the E40 is both a concept and a complex physical and communal social space - a dynamic trans-national and multi-cultural web of connections and disconnections.

Kirwan and Pruciak’s methodology is analogous to Walter Benjamin’s ‘botanising the asphalt’ and Jean Baudrillard’s subsequent  ‘botanising’ American culture, while also identifying the deadpan in the ‘every day’ in the manner of Ed Ruscha. Explorations of the phenomenology of motorised transport in the  ‘modern’ age as examined by Proust, Benjamin and others suggest how the experience of travelling along a road ‘at speed’ can disorientate and unsettle perception and identity thereby inducing a liminal state of mind and being.

This exhibition attempts to accentuate the sensorimotor dimensions of the performative process by making various shifts from geographic and scenic elements to the emotional and psychic space of the locations and situations encountered.

The exhibition is presented across two sites at UCA’s Farnham campus:  James Hockey Gallery and the Elaine Thomas Library.

Helen Kirwan’s practice spans installation, assemblage, drawing, moving image, and photography.  Recurring themes include how mapping, memory and memorial, fragment and trace function and can be represented. Her interest in Schlegel’s concept of the fragment informs her exploration of the partial nature of the fragment as a shard of memory. Recent exhibitions and projects include Image of the Road, Contemporary Art Centre Delhi and Palais des Nations Geneva, Alternative Structures Venice Biennale. 

Simon Pruciak is a lens-based artist whose work includes photography, moving image and installation. He is interested in the interconnections between Buddhist and pre-Socratic philosophy and ways in which these continue to be reflected in contemporary western philosophy. In his work the concept of ‘emptiness’ is expressed in terms of the fragmentation of ‘reality’ and the relationship between the observed, the observer and the act of observation.

Recent exhibitions and projects include Image of the Road, Contemporary Art Centre Delhi and Palais des Nations Geneva.


Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am - 5pm, Saturday 11am - 4pm

*Gallery closed 20 December 2014-3 January 2015


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