Tuesday 22 November 2011


I was invited by Aleksandra Mir to her talk as part of the exhibition 'Camulodunum' where she also participates at the newly opened (and polemical) building of First Site in Colchester. Not knowing what to expect, I was very positively surprised by the exhibition curated by First Site's Senior Curator Michelle Cotton (who previously was curator at Cubitt). Instead of doing an all star exhibition for the opening of the not so bright star-architecture (starchitecture), Cotton presents a very intelligently articulated exhibition, where contemporary artworks dealing with history and archeology are in dialogue with documents and artefacts relating to Colchester's history as the first Roman settlement in Britan, its later medieval history, its oyster industry and traditions, as well as with Colchester's everyday history today.

Danh Vo, 'We the People', 1975, part of an attempt by the artist to construct a one to one scale replica of the Statue of Liberty

Subodh Gupta's 'Two Cows', 2003-2008

Aleksandra Mir's 'HELLO Colchester' an image research on the connections between people in Colchester. You can see all the photographs of the series here

starting point of Aleksandra Mir's research, Colchester's Ashley James Hall who lost both legs  in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan, meeting Queen Elizabeth

the Damon Albaran connection

and historical connections

Greyson Perry's Essex vases

the fantastic Neo Naturist flashing in the British Museum, 1983

Andy Warhol's 'Campbell Soup II - Oyster Stew', 1969

historical photos of Colchester's Oyster Feast

historical documentation of Colchester Pageant of 1909 which re-enacted 2000 years of Colchester's history

Bill Woodrow, 'Car Door, Boot and Wing with Roman Helmet', 1982

Richard Hawkins, 'Urbis Paganus' 2009 exploration of greek and roman sculpture, archeology and homoerotism

English Roman Ceramics from Colchester and Ipswich Museums

Rebecca Warren's 'Journey into the Heart of the Night', 2000

Robert Smithson's 'Chalk Mirror Displacement', 1969 originally done at a chalp pit in Oxted, Surrey and exhibited simultaneously at 'When Attitudes Become Form' at the ICA, London in 1969. Incredibly, the work had never been shown in the UK again!

Henry Moore, found flints that served as models for his sculptures

Sarah Lucas, Penetralia, 2008 

JMW Turner, Colchester sketches c. 1824

1900s photographs of Colchester Castle taken by John Benjamin Stone and Ai Weiwei's 'Bamboo and Porcelain', 2008

Ai Weiwei's 'Bamboo and Porcelain', 2008

Barbara Hepworth's 'Pierced Form' 1963-63

Henry Moore's Helmets from the 50s and 60s

Cildo Meireles coins and English Roman antique coins

Cildo Meireles, Cero Cent, USA coin with Coca Cola bottle on one side, 1974

Cildo Meireles, Zero Centavo, 1974

view of First Site's giant curved corridor which undramaticlly ends with a restaurant called MUSA, with the exhibition space existing in the transition towards it

First Site's polemical (and funny) building, designed by Uruguayan USA based architect Rafael Viñoly, a curved corridor covered in gold cladding, which looks like it was designed in the 90s, called by the locals the golden banana, and which opened two months ago being 3 years late and 10 million pounds over budget, and which aims to finance itself partly by renting the space for weddings and events http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/venue-hire

young skaters loving the new outside public space, hopefully they won't be kicked out of it soon

and fantastic pedestrian crossings painted by Venezuelan 60s op artist Carlos Cruz Diez, commissioned for First Site by Michelle Cotton, who first came in contact with Cruz Diez work at Pinta the Latin American art fair in London

Aleksandra Mir with scarf outside the bus station's waiting room next to Frist Site and Cruz Diez pedestrian crossings

and the remains of a previous art project (not Cruz Diez) in the interior of the bus station's waiting room!

Sadly First Site's website doesn't have enough information on the exhibition, or even a proper press release or artist list, but here's the link in case you need basic information

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