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Art February, 1 2010

The City Arts and Music Project Presents “Botanists of the Asphalt” (Part II)

Opening on February 5, 2010, The City Arts and Music Project presents “Botanists of the Asphalt” (part II). The exhibition will be located at 70-74 City Road, London, and challenges viewers to rethink their notions of the city through the eyes of various artists. Each artist presenting has taken the flaneur as initial inspiration – the seemingly wondering 19th-century artist providing astute social commentary.

Curated by Stephanie Pochet “Botanists of Asphalt” runs through the 26th of February. Seven artists are included, and each tackles urban space with distinct medium.

Selected preview and brief introduction to the artists after the jump.

MARY YACOOB
The two central threads in Mary Yacoob’s practice are drawing and visual languages. What follows is the filtering of close observation of life through systemic drawing techniques such as repetition, geometry, symbolic visual grammar and extrapolation.
Some of her work involves documenting the minutia of daily life in diagrammatic form.  In other work, she creates systemic drawings about architectural spaces that question ideas of urban planning and public art through proposals for often unrealisable interventions.
She has studied at Central Saint Martins and London Metropolitan and has exhibited in London, Hamburg and Milan.
JULIA KOLLEWE
Spanning drawing, installation, video and performance, Julia Kollewe’s work is concerned with light and space, sound and story-telling. Her outdoor maps, based on cut-out city streets, draw on JorgeLuis Borges’ legend of an empire whose cartographers ‘struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it’. Julia is producing a site-specific installation for CAMP based on the web of streets that make up London, portrayed in spectral form.  Julia studied drawing at Camberwell College of Arts and works as a freelance journalist. Hailing from Germany, she has lived in London since 1997.
EMMA DAVIS
Trained at Chelsea College of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art, she works as a set designer in theatre and film.  In 2008 she was an invited Artist in Residence in the South of France; and her work has been exhibited extensively in London and is held in private collections in the UK and abroad. Her recent works evolve into etchings from original sketches made out and about in the city: on transport, commuting… on buses or at airports; or sitting around in cafes, galleries, and cinemas.   These portraits express the fleeting nature of passers-by: on the go or just waiting – in the transitional public spaces between “here and there. Emma Davis lives and works in London.
LEANDRO QUINTERO
In Leandro Quintero’s photos, there is always an impregnable and evident tension which one almost cannot put its finger on; a lot of his images don’t necessarily ‘speak’ and are more likely to hint at things. Many of the photos are focused on the “dramatization and disguise” of the image, in other words they represent to the city dweller and the diverse chameleon versions of the world that we inhabit. It is the work of the eye that approaches to steal, interfere and related to that which cuts, opens and ramifies.
His photos interlink, interconnect or intercommunicate within each other often by following one another in a discontinuous line, alliterated by colour; without merging a concept. Quintero works a lot with text as well where he tends to complement many of his photos with catchphrases, lines and poetic text. Through the disorganized colour frequency between the photos, the text and poetry many times clash against the sweetness of the superficially candy-likeness of pop and take the pictures to new definitions. Leandro Quintero will be presenting a new set of colour photographs for the show. He was born in Buenos Aires in 1978. He graduated from the National School of Photography in Buenos Aires 2000. He currently lives in London.
DASHA REDKINA
Dasha Redkina is a Russian photographer who currently lives and works in London. She will present a new set of black and white photographs for the show.
And finally…
THE VIDEO POD: Two video artists will be showing their films on a TV set/installation.
‘Subplot’ by Jon Sack
2006 – 2008
Land speculation and development are as intrinsic to capitalist growth as notions of progress and human potential are wedded with the spectacle of the Olympics.  Using footage shot on super 8 film from on site of the 2012 Olympics in Stratford in 2006 and later in 2008, ‘Subplot’ merges several narratives into one: an actor ruminates on a haunting he experienced in a small town in New Mexico and on watching migrant day labourers congregate in front of a B&Q in London.  In the course of this narrative he begins to doubt the authenticity of his own cockney heritage.
Narrated by Andrew Hawkins
‘Lie of the Land’ by Estelle Rogers
2009
We see glimpses of what we know in strange places. We recognise the unfamiliar, always looking for reassurance. Move, change, never stand still. Adapt and revise. The recurring theme of movement in Estelle Rogers’work echoes the idea of London as a transient place, always shifting and resettling, shedding old views and ways.
Snatches of the real world emerge from the abstract movement on screen, but never enough to fully recognise what we are seeing. There is no time to stop. You cant help but look through windows as we pass. Involuntarily voyeuristic, the warmth that spills out sucks you in. Questions pass, fleetingly who lives there? What are they doing? Are they happy, inside, living a fairytale existence? Beyond the windows we are outsiders peering in, hoping that some of this imagined happiness is true, that some of it will spread to us.
London defies definition. It squirms out of pigeonholes and refuses to co-operate. There is no consensus on London, no one verdict, no agreed words of recognition for this place.
This film is about the texture of the city and its transience. Exploring the myth that we can see the lie of the land and playing with the idea that what is shown on screen is seen as a truth.
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