[Details on Request]

info@detailsonrequest.com www.detailsonrequest.com

Thursday, 25 March 2010

[Deets on the Streets]

Whilst handing out posters and leaflets left, right and somewhere central we went to The Hackney City Farm.  

I liked the sheep the best.

Eloise preferred the guinea pigs.

[Amber S. V. Ablett]


[Details on Request] went to Bristol to see some very good friends, some art and lots of rain.

At the Arnolfini:

Firstly, Janek Simon, a Polish artist who had been artist in residence at the Arnolfini in 2008/9.  The exhibition attempts to understand globalization and the shrinking of our world. Taking Paul Virilio’s idea of the end of Geography as a starting point Simon looks at key locations in the history of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Triangle of West Coast Africa, the Caribbean and Bristol.  The end of Geography looks at the problems that face us due to the increase in communication across the world resulting in the loss of cultural differences.


This exhibition was of particular interest to me as my family comes from Trinidad, a Caribbean island where the majority of the population can be traced by to West Africa via the slave trade. Simon used a map of Trinidad in his piece 'Time-space compression of Trinidad' 2010, in which he uses a wooden sculpture to show the actual time distances between places on the map.  I felt that it was very honest for a Bristol gallery to acknowledge the cities involvement with the shipping of slaves and their produce.


Simon analyses these emotional and provocative issues in a clinical scientific way, which is successful in highlighting the difficulty of making sense of these topics, and more broadly the problems with understanding the emotional and abstract.  Conveying his personal experience is an important part of his work.  Simon’s work looks at himself in relation to the natives and to other consumer tourists and his attempts to get outside of the average tourist experience.

In the last gallery was the interactive installation ‘Carpet Invader’ 2002.  The work emphasizes the idea of world becoming one; a prayer mat turned computer game.  Of course, we played on it and were easily distracted by the lights, explosions and desire to win the game and it was only when we came away that we looked back on the concept of the piece of work and what we had been doing.


Also on show was work by Imogen Stidworthy.  Her video, sound works and installations look at speech, language and translation.


‘Get here’ 2006, a commonly heard Liverpudlian phrase, was played from multiple speakers voiced by multiply voices into a central space.  Hearing one phrase highlighted the differences in all our voices.  Our accents give us a geographically identity but our individual tones and pitch give us our personal identity.


‘Topography of a Voice’ 2008/9 turned this personal identity into some thing tangible.  What makes our voice recognizable as us can be analysed, dissected and broken down.  I was interested in the way the work turned sound into something visual.


In ‘I Hate’ 2007, I noted how speech and communication is not just limited to our voice.  After the art photographer Edward Woodman lost his ability to speak because of a cycling accident he began to photograph the building of the Eurostar terminal at King’s Cross.  In video works I was drawn to the way in which he had to rely on the use of his hands and gestures to aid his spoken communication.


This reminded me of something I had read in Milan Kundera’s ‘Immortality’ on the importance of the gesture:


‘Without the slightest doubt, there are far fewer gestures in the world than there are individuals.  That finding leads us to a shocking conclusion: a gesture is more individual than an individual.  We could put it in the form of an aphorism: many people, few gestures.’


In ‘Barrabackslarrabang’ 2009/10, a video piece, again our attention is drawn to the gestures of the subjects.  Stidworthy’s video work looks at Liverpool backslang, a type of code used primarily by the criminal classes to protect themselves from being understood by others- namely the law.


[Amber S. V. Ablett]

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


Nick Laessing: LIGHT | READING

19th March - 17th April 2010

LIGHT | READING is the product of Nick Laessing’s PERMACULTURES residency at [space] Studios, exploring and researching the free-energy movement.

PERMACULTURES residency offers an environment to discuss and explore the relationship of sustainability in regard to the creative and the ecology of art and culture.

A number of scientists, including the inventor Nikola Tesla, thought it to be possible to source free-energy from our atmosphere. During Laessing’s residency radio interviews were sourced along with primary reasearch to explore the development and progress of this philosophy.

The exhibition presents Nick Laessing’s reconstruction of a radiant engeriser to power the lighting and sound equipment that is used in the exhibition. The physical experiments are presented along with the research to highlight our environmental situation and to gain a better understanding of the ethos surrounding alternative energy.

Adam Thomas: Colourless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously

19th March - 17th April 2010

The practice of Adam Thomas explores the innovative generation of language, from speech/sound to physical form, Colourless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously presents us with this transition.

Thomas' practice attempts to depict language as visual object, exploring the discourse that binds art and linguistics. The attempt is to present language for consideration and analysis.

Language exists as translator of emotion and feeling into a universally understood dialogue, undergoing this rendering the primary emotion is diluted. By conveying speech through object the aesthetic is still present and more easily read, along with its history and original context.

Guestroom: The Librarians

19th March - 17th April 2010

Guestroom is a collaborative project between artists Maria Benjamin and Ruth Höflich, based in East London. Guestroom seeks to emphasize and develop relationships, community and communication through one off events and on going projects, encouraging group practice, performance and correspondence.

The Librarians is an interactive piece, consisting of eight video portraits, documenting personal collections or libraries. Each video portrays the individuals intentional or unintentional collection/library, which aims to highlight their personal selection process, suggesting a view of their personal practice.

Watching the videos sporadically allows a relationship to develop between the featured collectors and their ideas.

Ben Woodeson: Foyer Space

19th March - 17th April 2010

Ben Woodeson's innovative and amusing installations aim to create an uneasy relationship between the viewer and the institution.

Since the start of 2009 Woodeson has been creating and installing the Health & Safety Violation Series of deliberately dangerous sculptures which have included trip wires, electric fences and suffocation devices. These sculptures are installed in their environment to cause change and affect and allow the viewer to feel unsettled.

Foyer Space consisted of a public sign stating that a chemical spillage had occurred, and to be aware that you/the viewer may suffer serious symptoms.


[Eloise P. Jones]

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Amber S.V.Ablett & Eloise P. Jones Invite You To The Launch Of [DoR]

Amber S. V. Ablett and Eloise P. Jones would like to invite you to the launch exhibition of [Details on Request] on Thursday the 1st April 2010 from 6-9pm.

Featuring work by:

Airimages: www.airimages.org

David Butler:

Laurie Lax:

Liberty Rowley & Mark James: www.libertyrowley.blogspot.com

Matthew Kay: www.matthewjameskay.com

Matthew Mackisack:

Rie Hale: www.riehale.com

Victoria Karlsson 

and an introductory installation by [DoR].  Using a variety of different art forms, including performance, sculpture, video and drawing, these artists all create work that places emphasis on their own production.

Following the exhibition please join us for the [DoR] Afterparty for music and drinks, from 9-12pm.

Please RSVP to:



Amber & Eloise xx

Saturday, 13 March 2010


Lastly, we returned to Room Gallery and the solo show of Carolyn Bunt.  Although Carolyn had been with us during the rest of the tour, she was not present when we went to see her work. The unease that comes with discussing your own work is something that I can understand; it can be hard to articulate what you innately know or feel about your work.  Carolyn’s exhibition featured a number of manipulated photographs, showing empty, desolate, Hopper-esque scenes and a neon text work.  ‘THIS IS NOT AN EXIT’ written in white neon is the first work seen through the gallery window and seemed to me to be a passive statement referring to nothing definable, rather than a command; something said resignedly rather than an aggressive shout. Her photographs were very beautiful though full of a sadness and an almost stifling  a sense of peace.


[Amber. S. V. Ablett]


Andrea Medjesi-Jones concluded our studio visits.  Her paintings and drawings, like Green’s look at process and mark making.  It was interesting to see the way in which she had learnt so much about the qualities of the paint and ink that she was using that she was able to control them whilst still leaving a certain amount of chance and accident to be evident in her work. The idea of controlled randomness was something that we discussed during the visit, the decision making that Medjesi goes through to create her work is often made with out too much thought (an oxymoronic statement?).  Medjesi’s work seems to have changed a great detail over the last couple of years, leaving behind the more organic, cartoon motifs in favour of more emphasis on the characteristics of her materials and the performance of making work.



At Seventeen Gallery we were given a short talk by Cassis from the Gallery about Graham Dolphin’s work, giving me a chance to re-visit the work and learn more about it.  See the previous post for more information on ‘Burn Away Fade Out’.

[Amber. S. V. Ablett]


In the same building was Amy Green’s studio and as she was not there to talk with us we had free range to look at and discuss her work.  Her studio as a whole seemed to be an extension of her work.  The wall facing the door was hung with squares of paper clipped to lengths of string, each one with a drawing on it.  In front of, and facing this wall was a working table with Green’s pencils and rubbers left out and to the side, a drawing chest with two piles of drawings.  Each of these drawings form one whole body of work, making the process of the mark making the work.  Like artists such as Hanne Darboven each sheet of paper seems to be a record of the time it took to be created.  In this case it was interesting to see the space in which Green created her drawings, as the studio seemed to reflect the taciturn, obsessive and distant quality of her work.


[Amber. S. V. Ablett]


Yesterday, I was very lucky to be given the chance to join Sandi Macrae on Roaming Rooms tour of artist’s studios and galleries in East London.  It was great to be given the opportunity to hear artists talk so openly about their work and be part of a group with a wide range of viewpoints and opinions. 


We began the morning by visiting the studio of John Stark who is showing work at the moment at Charlie Smith as part of the Demonology exhibition.  His small works of landscapes and figures are painted with fragile detail and have a uniform, almost jewel like flatness to their surface.  Stark’s work is heavily influenced by his abundant knowledge and interest in the history of painting which is evident in the immense skies and disappearing terrains he paints. These landscapes seem to be from another time and place (or just as possibly from no-time and no-place).  We talked in detail about one image of a monk beekeeping; of sinister presence of another outside the limits of the painting; of the Flemish scenery; of the light and a brightness coming through the many layers of paint and glazes; of how the monk’s costume would not have seemed out of place on a road worker figure from our society and, most interestingly, of the way in which monks would devoted their days to prayer and activities such as bee keeping or ale making, as a sign of their devoutness to God and their religion.  There is something of this echoed in Stark’s own practise, the time and concentration to make these paintings must have a meditative quality to it, as the monk’s activities do.


[Amber. S. V. Ablett]

Wednesday, 10 March 2010


Already another week has gone by….but we’ve been up to plenty.

Last Thursday, [DoR] attended the opening of the Salon Video exhibition at Matt Roberts Arts.  Matt’s compact exhibition space was transformed into a technological hive and packed with people but [DoR] was very impressed with the work that we saw behind people’s heads and over their shoulders.  In particular, Sai Hua Juan’s Line Drawing.


We look forward to Part Two of the exhibition.

[Amber. S. V. Ablett]


In the Gooden Gallery next door, we were again presented with a room of mechanical objects but Simon Morse’s ‘prototypes’ were without function.  Morse’s work mixes ‘languages and forms, absurdities and profanities [and] the works reveal a vision of ideation and production pushed to the boundaries of un-meaning by some overwhelming runaway imperative’ (????)


Anyway, [DoR] cannot help but feel that the works might have been more successfully shown as an installation, hidden away to be found and questioned unexpectedly rather than being displayed in an uninventive traditional way, as we would view a painting exhibition in a national institution.  Once [DoR] had seen the first five of these interesting and provocative items….we had seen them all.  Shame.

25A Vyner Street, London, E2 9DG


[Amber. S. V. Ablett]


At Vegas, [Details on Request] were pleased to see some work by the artist partnership Coleman & Hogarth.  Whilst at University Coleman & Hogarth gave a talk on their work (as part of the dreaded ACAPS module of our degree).  [DoR] became very interested in their work that crosses performance, events and film.  Their work was being shown as part of a group show curated by Keith Coventy alongside work by Tracy Emin, Jeremy Deller and (the fantastic) Fionna Banner.  ‘Peeping Tom’ looks at the artist’s role in seeing the overseen and brought together a vast selection of provocative and confrontational work.

Vegas Gallery
45 Vyner Street
E2 9DQ


[Amber. S. V. Ablett]


Another inspiring exhibition at Nettie Horn.  In ‘Sensescapes’ work by Benoit Broisat, Laura Buckly, Ian Burns and Sinta Werner looks at the visual and mental relationship we have with the world around us.  The exhibition ‘will focus on the status of the image through the use of technological mediums such as video, photography and works based on mechanised elements’.   Ian Burn’s sculptures functioned to distort the way in which we see.  A man made plastic bag is viewed through a monitor as a beautiful glacial landscape and in Broisat’s video piece ‘1950dd’ we see the surface of a painting as a bird’s eye view of a landscape coupling what we see as traditional art with new media.  Although the use of new media, video works, performance etc. are often seen as cold or haughty Sensescapes shows the warmth and beauty that are being created with these mediums.

25B Vyner Street, London, E2 9GD


[Amber. S. V. Ablett]


At Fred, we were welcomed with a photograph of naked black man with a distorted Elvis mask on.  This was a piece of work from the solo show by South African artist Athi-Patra Ruga.  His photographs, as well as being challenging and confronting questions of politics, xenophobia and racism also have the stylised perfection of fashion photography, in particular the ethereal images of a model photographed amongst sheep in what looks like a typical misty English field.  The difficult issues tackled in Ruga’s work are emphasised more so in his tapestries when we later found out that they were made traditionally by local crafts women in South Africa.

FRED [London] Ltd, 45 Vyner Street, London, E2 9DQ



[Details on Request] often find themselves drawn to work that is labour intensive whilst verging on pointless.  Nothing makes a time consuming activity more worthless than when it can be completed more swiftly another way and yet this is what makes the outcome the more prized.

And so it was with great interest and eager anticipation that [DoR] went to Seventeen Gallery to see Graham Dolphin’s pencil drawn reproductions of four suicide notes by cult musicians.  These notes left by Elliot Smith, Kurt Cobain, Ian Curtis and Phil Ochs are widely recognised but by hand drawing each one Dolphin re-values them and shows his personal appreciation of them and their writers.  In fact three out of the four notes have been take from attributed myths surrounding the musicians deaths.  They have been taken from rumours and stories which surround the icons deaths; the story goes that Elliot Smith argued with his girlfriend in a hotel, stabbed himself and left a message on a post-it note on the mirror; Phil Ochs hung himself with a note saying ‘There is nothing left to write about’ pinned to his chest and the envelope with the name Deborah was taken from the last shot of the film Control about Ian Curtis.  Only Kurt Cobain’s letter to Buddah is one that can be read on the Internet.  A suicide note is probably more private than a love letter and yet we are presented with them as part of an exhibition, both appealing and repulsing the viewer.  These dual reactions are mirrored in the concept of the exhibition as a whole- our fascination with death and even more so the detached and somewhat imitated grief with celebrity death that is can be personal without having any kind of relationship with the person.  Dolphin has also recreated an exact copy of the bench outside Kurt Cobain’s house in Seattle, distressing a new bench with three years of fan’s messages, candles and friendship bracelets in a couple of months with in his studio.  He copied six replicas of a bust that was on Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris from photographs showing how it became worn away with graffiti and eventually stolen from the site.  



17 Kingsland Road
E2 8AA


[Amber. S. V. Ablett]

Monday, 1 March 2010


Film of any kind, whether high art or a rom-com is at its most successful when it captivates the viewer so time passes unaware.  So that [DoR] was asked to leave White Cube Hoxton after spending minutes, hours (…more?) in front of Candice Breitz’s split screen video work Factum speaks volumes about their opinion of it.  The main gallery in the Hoxton gallery has be changed into a maze of screen rooms, far from a white cube, they have made the space into a too inviting area to get lost in front of the work.

Factum is an exhibition of video works shot in Toronto, Canada.  The videos are comprised of interviews that Breitz has conducted with sets of twin (and one set of triplets).  The films have been edited so that the siblings appear to be having a conversation with each other.  They are dressed in the same clothes making the difficulty with telling them apart and the problems of identity and individualism even harder. 

The name Factum is taken from Robert Rauschenberg’s almost identical paintings Factum I and Factum II (1957) and the videos are shown like a diptych reflecting this influence.

To watch the interviewees talking about the problems of being two people but feeling like one person is fascinating.  It is heartbreaking to hear the twins imagining the freedom of not being a twin and seeing the attraction and repulsion this causes.  One twin refers to the other as her soul mate but also wishes that she could have been born without a twin.

Factum looks at the way that twins struggle to differentiate themselves in a society that values the individual, something that can be applied to any of us.