Huddersfield Art Gallery showcases artists' responses to archives

Have you heard about the current exhibition Thought Positions in Sculpture at Huddersfield Art Gallery? Ten contemporary artists have created work in response to archival collections, including those held by the Tate, the Henry Moore Institute and the British Library

Those who have chosen to seek inspiration from the Leeds sculpture collections include Desmond Brett, who explores the notion of ‘assemblage’ through the photographic archives of Eileen Agar and Paul Nash; Liadin Cooke, who considers the parallels between her own sculptural thinking and that of Geoffrey Clarke; Nicola Redmore, who explores some of the plaster works of Kenneth Armitage; and Juliet MacDonald, who focuses on Henry Fehr’s memorial Head of Victory as a means of communicating her thoughts about issues of war and triumph, grief and loss.

(From left to right)
Henry Charles Fehr, Head of Victory, 1922, Photograph © Leeds Art Gallery
Installation view of Head of Victory at Huddersfield Art Gallery, Photograph © Jamie Collier, University of Huddersfield, 2015
Henry Charles Fehr, Leeds War Memorial (in City Square), 1922 © Leeds Library and Information Service
Juliet MacDonald, Standing for the Fallen (detail), 2015 [Drawing/collage]

Brass Art, Freud's House, still image from The Double, 2015

Brass Art, Freud's House, still image from The Double, 2015

Among the others featured are Brass Art, an artist collective who explored the Freud Museum House in London during their residency there earlier this year.  Using laser-scanning techniques, they have captured uncanny images of fleeting sculptural forms accompanied by a haunting soundtrack that records involuntary parts of their performances and coaxes sounds out of long-dormant objects. The final piece alludes to Freud's ideas about the unconscious, and forms part of a larger project on Shadow Worlds: Writers' Rooms, where they occupy the domestic interiors of well-known literary figures. 

Lisa Stansbie, Swimming Machine (2015) Sculpture & Performance Huddersfield Art Gallery, 15th October 2015.

Lisa Stansbie, Swimming Machine (2015) Sculpture & Performance Huddersfield Art Gallery, 15th October 2015.

Unlike the other artists, Lisa Stansbie chooses to explore a digital archive of a series of 19th-century patents for machines designed to help people learn to swim that were never constructed, producing her own sculptures in response to them. Jill Townsley is a sculptor with a particular interest in repetition, appropriation and authorship. She chooses to engage with the processes of making an archive through the retrieval of stones from the West Yorkshire landscape.

Over the next two months, all ten artists will be making a personal contribution to the exhibition website. They will be revealing not only their unique back stories to the making of art, but also the archives they looked at, the thoughts they had about them and the practice-led strategies they employed. 

If you'd like to visit the exhibition, it's on in Huddersfield until 9 January 2016.