At Dorich House Museum, the former home and studio of the sculptor Dora Gordine and her husband Richard Hare, attendees gathered on 5 December to hear about the research of six Fellows who took part in the British Council’s Venice Fellowship programme.
Present at the event were David Falkner, Director of Dorich House Museum and Stanley Picker Gallery, and Dr Elizabeth Price, Researcher at the Kingston School of Art’s Contemporary Art Research Centre. Both gave short talks before the Fellows started their presentations – Falkner examining the similarities in practice between Dora Gordine and 2017 British Pavilion artist, Phyllida Barlow; Price on her work as a Fellow at the Stanley Picker Gallery looking into the history of cosmetics and changing attitudes towards gender. Falkner and Price then helped to ask questions and give feedback on the Fellows’ individual research projects.
A recent graduate from the Masters of Contemporary Fine Art at University of Salford, Sarah Boulter was the first Fellow to speak. She gave a rundown of the photographs, etchings and performative works she created after being inspired by Venetian interiors and talked about the success of the two exhibitions in Manchester within which the work was presented. Sarah stated that Venice, “affected her work quite profoundly.”
Manuela Zammit, currently doing an MFA in Contemporary Curating at Manchester School of Art, spoke on her research tackling what it means to be called a curator in the twentieth-first century and the British Pavilion exhibition’s digital legacy.
David Spence, a student at the Slade School of Fine Art, was inspired by Carlo Scarpa, the reactions of visitors to Barlow’s artworks, the water that makes up so much of the city and Venice’s bar culture to create drawings and a dining table assemblage. David said, “it was moving working there (the British Pavilion)”
Adele Lazzeri from The Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture & Design (CASS) spoke about the small sculptures she created from quick sketches made while invigilating the pavilion. These she then left around Venice for visitors to find and keep. Her photographs are a lasting legacy of the project, ‘The pavilion as studio, Venice as gallery’.
Lauren Walden, a History of Art PhD researcher at Coventry University, presented on an essay she wrote delving into the differing nature of Guan Xiao’s video work ‘David’, included in the International Exhibition, and the work of artists’ exhibited in the Chinese Pavilion. Lauren’s research has also been accepted for a Chinese studies conference at Oxford University.
Joining the event from New York via Skype, Naomi Mishkin, an artist who recently finished a Masters at the Ruskin School of Fine Art, described her research into the aesthetics of wandering. She was interested in the tactile nature of Phyllida’s work and has started to create a coat which encapsulates the way visitors handle their own clothing whilst being unable to touch the sculptures themselves. Naomi said that Venice, “opened up 500 more projects.”
It was fascinating to learn more about the research and discover how the Fellows approached the study aspect of this steward-research opportunity. With only 12 days of research time in Venice some, like Adele, chose to make and produce during the month; others, like Naomi, embraced the time to explore Venice and will be completing projects in the near future. We are hoping many more of our Fellows will submit work for a Fellowship show at Bow Arts’ RAW Lab project space in February 2018.
After the presentations, David Falkner gave all attendees a tour of the impressive Dorich House Museum − giving context to Dora Gordine’s studio house, sculptures, paintings, drawings and the collection of Russian art and artefacts she collected with her husband. It was great to gather with Fellows, their tutors and colleagues to celebrate the Fellowship research in this unique international context.