Private View: 22 November 2019, 6pm-9pm
Exhibition Runs: 23 November – 14 December 2019
Exhibition Open: Monday – Friday, 10am-6pm
Camberwell Space presents Adlais Hynafol, Ancient Echoes, an exhibition of new work by Gwenllian Spink, recipient of The Vanguard Prize 2018-19.
Metamorphic rocks are a transformation of ancient sediment. Heat and pressure cause new atomic structures to emerge, a new material that echoes its former self. Gwenllian Spink’s work is a cultural and historical metamorphism, the crushing and reforming of the world around her.
In this exhibition at Camberwell Space, the artist mimics Neolithic remains scattered across the landscape of her home in Wales using the visual language she has acquired from living in London. Structures that echo Neolithic burial chambers loom large, cloaked by webs of woven hairbands in an effort to encapsulate a new cultural identity. Reconstituted infant trainers imitating prehistoric axes decorate the gallery walls, status symbols reformed as tools of war, each brand a clan competing for our attention.
Spink makes instinctively. Materials are gathered from her immediate surroundings, chosen not just for their aesthetic qualities but often because they are commonplace and overlooked. Intense labour goes into the production of her work; traditional craft methods meet mass-produced materials and near-infinite repetition. For this exhibition, materials have been scrutinised for their social significance and unconscious symbolism. Weaving and stitching are the crafts of choice, appropriately used to combine and encapsulate.
The sculptures are adrift - cultural and historical hybrids that embody dislocation. The legacy of globalisation underpins the exhibition; identity, no longer geographically tethered, floats freely in search of belonging. Disparate histories are reformulated under the intense pressure and heat of the artist’s imagination. Once they cool, the resultant matter is something new - yet an echo of something ancient.
Gwenllian Spink (b. 1996) graduated from BA Fine Art Drawing at Camberwell College of Arts in 2018. Recent exhibitions include: The Westmorland Landscape Prize, Rheged Centre, Penrith (2019); Gwrthsefyll, Off-site Installation, Syfydrin (2019); UK Young Artist City Takeover, Surface Gallery, Nottingham (2019); Elephant x Griffin Art Prize (shortlisted), Elephant Gallery, London (2018); Raiders of the Lost Art, Lewisham Arthouse, London (2018); Marginalia, Leiepark, Ghent (2018). She is the recipient of the Vanguard Court Studio Award (2018-2019), and is a past recipient of the Young Artist Scholarship awarded by the National Eisteddfod of Wales (2015) which she used to fund the Summer Workshop Programme with MI-LAB Artist-in-Residence in Tokyo (2016).
The Vanguard Prize allows Vanguard Court to help new artists grow and develop and reinforces Vanguard's strong links with Camberwell College of Arts. The prize, launched in 2010, is for graduating students of the College. The winner is offered a year's free studio residence at Vanguard Court along with ongoing mentoring and support from Camberwell College of Arts to help with the development of their personal and professional practice. Previous winners include: Murray O'Grady, Philip Li a.k.a Le Fil, Philip Booth, Lauren Allen, Alexander Devereux, Queenie Clark, Billy Crosby and Rosie Grace Ward.
The 2019-20 Vanguard Prize has been awarded to Isobel Finlay.
Image: Gwenllian Spink, Gwrthsefyll, 2019, steel, elastic hairbands and cable ties. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.