BLOCassembly#9: My Dog’s Got No Nose…
Friday 25 April, 7 – 9.30pm, Hosted by Sylvester Space
Bloc invited artist group utk to curate this event, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their first public show.
Taking the theme of smell as a starting point, utk (Liz Hall, Bev Stout, Tony Kemplen and Jane Mellor) brought together work by artists who responded to the theme in a variety of media. Some engaged our olfactory sense directly and immediately, whilst others invited us to consider our relationship to smell in other ways, evoking smell through visual, aural or narrative representation.
Assorted orange coloured and fragranced cosmetic cleansers arranged on a kitchen surface are occasionally excited by low frequency vibrations.
The next instalment of Lombutroup. MattButt is an artist based in Sheffield, his current research includes attempts the visualisation of the multifaceted potentiality of creative thought to the singularity of an idea.
“If you stare at a pile of shit for long enough it will eventually disappear”.
Keeping up foreign relations
Two-minute video loop with audio
It takes a lot more than just fancy flying.
Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx)
Graphite and Lynx ‘Sharp Focus’ deodorant on paper
What do we think of when we think of a Lynx? Animal magnetism perhaps? In mythology the Lynx is characterised as an elusive, ghost like animal that sees without being seen. The Lynx was chosen as the emblem of the Accademia dei Lincei (”Academy of the Lynxes”), one of the world’s oldest scientific societies, its piercing vision invoked symbolically as characteristic of those dedicated to science. Assuming the brand name Lynx for a range of deodorants might, by contrast, be seen as a rather strange manifestation of our identification with certain aspects of the natural world. Are we making romantic associations with the pheromone trails left in silent forests by a creature of the night? The Lynx is undeniably charismatic - perhaps some of us wish to share that feline charisma. It’s also worthy of consideration that a lot of successful predators disguise their scent by rolling in dung.
Extractions From the Body of a Text Leaving Behind Only the Smells
My work combines photography, performance, text, drawing and video. I often construct scenarios or actions that manipulate the ‘real’ or recognisable. I often draw inspiration from literature, myth and legend and have made works based on Frankenstein and Dracula. I am currently exploring the act of creative reading as a means of formulating art and ideas.
For ‘Extractions..’ I read the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. Each time the writer made any reference to smell I made a note. I then manipulated the text by painting out everything but these smell references. These pages were then used in the dark room to create contact prints. The results are an amalgamation of the most dramatic and haunting smells from the novel. The story itself is extremely sensual and makes constant reference to physical sensation and psychological states. When we read we don’t actually experience the sensations described, like Count Dracula himself, they exist solely as phantoms in our imagination.
“Early morning, and the pack gathers to interact in order to reinforce the social hierarchy within the group…”
Smell is the most primal of the senses and it underpins our behaviour in a highly subliminal way. For example, we may use odour cues associated with the immune system to select partners who are not closely related to us, or to ascertain our status in relation to others. Our sophisticated posturing is not that dissimilar to the activity of the pack.
the sweet smell of success: the foul stench of corruption
CCTV cameras, cotton wool, lights, TV monitors
The visitor is invited to sniff cotton wool that has been impregnated with emotionally charged smells. Do they live up to our expectations? Do our noses give away our feelings?
Via the nose, we unconsciously gather information about each other from the smells we receive. It is a conduit of invisible information. In this piece, an image of the nose of each artist participating in the exhibition will be sealed in a see-through plastic bag. The ability to identify using the sense of smell has been removed. Can we recognise each other simply by the look of the nose alone? And if so what assumptions do we make about the personality of the individual? There will be a helpful list of contemporary, pseudoscientific nose characteristics (based on the ancient Chinese art of interpreting human character through the proboscis) to help you decide.
Some Paintings and Drawings Relating to the Theme ‘My Dog’s Got No Nose’ (2008)
Mixed Media on Canvas and Paper
My work is an intuitive exploration of a universe where all the real ‘answers’ appear to lie just beyond reach.
A collection of rose scented noses will smell nothing but themselves. They provide their own antidote to odours that may pass through the space.
Electrical air-fresheners, plug in timers, electric cables, wire mesh, table, vase and flowers.
The delicate scent of vase of fresh flowers is cruelly mocked by the massed emissions from a hanging wall of plug-in air fresheners, each mounted on the end of a long electrical lead, plugged into one of a set of organically linked multiple adaptors. In this olfactory fiction, the patently artificial smell of the sanitising devices, tightly controlled by electrical timers, completely swamps any natural scent that might be coming from the flowers.
Jon Wakeman & Karen Watson
Whiff of Culture
From the Himalaya to the Blue Mountain Caribbean, to the Bengal is a cornucopia of good sniffing to be had in Sheffield.
Barely have we meandered Four Lanes past the Everest and we’re filling our nostrils and New Hing Lung with fresh Blue Orchid and the near by Codrophenia, but this is just the beginning, so Wok This Way.
We Wonder (Wok and Kitchen) at the Red Ruby, the Blue Diamond, Crystal, Diamond, Jade Garden (and House) and The Jewel City, it’s a Golden City when you lift your head from the Goldfish Bowl of our every day lives. One might say we have a Galaxy, if we take a Universal view, around us in this New Happy Garden, this Oasis, our Island Pot.
Aphrodite embraces us in Marilyn’s, Wendy’s, Marcia’s, Wendy’s, Patricia’s, Tracey’s, Rita’s, Nellie’s, Rosi’s and not forgetting Imran’s, Lee’s, Hammid’s, Tony’s, Chan’s, Harry’s, Rasheed’s, Kenny’s and Pepe’s embrace as we enter the Summer Palace and the new Millennium. As we walk the Highway under the Rising Sun (like a Phoenix rising towards a Rainbow) we thank our Lucky Star, oh How Wing Loy!
Sun Yee beaming down on us we wander between New Jasmine House, the New Taj Mahal (in Sheffield, Zaika! I hear you cry) and the Oriental Palace, Yummy House, Golden House and the Lotus House, aghast at such a diversity around us. On into Dong Fang Garden and the Dragon Valley, what a Happy Family we are when we spot it there, the Chinese Dragon. Oh China Delight!.
This is but a Taste (Of Kashmir) of what Sheffield has to offer, and we have yet to hunt the Swallownest or laze in the Olive Grove and Bamboo Garden or visit Peking, the Great Wall or Chicago. Hoo Wah!
Is this Dynasty to last as long as those of the Red Star of the Eastern (Eye) or of those who took The Mayflower?
Let us be pilgrims too, anyone for Curry Tonight!
Scratch and Sniff
Live audio performance.
This piece has been developed for live audio presentation. Its uses several recordings of breath and sniff and numerous nasal functions. These recordings have been re-edited and processed to create an audio sniff experience moving from the relaxed to the agitated sniffer. Allergies, deep breathing and noxious odors stimulate the nostrils to provide the basis for this audio smell experience.
The fish head is symbolic in this context of painting’s ultimate failure – that it can never truly be the thing it represents. For all its ability to charm, painting will always fall short. It can briefly deceive, and it is this that encourages me to persist with this ludicrous act of faith.
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