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Image: Mariele Neudecker, We Saw It Coming All Along [1 & 2] 2019, (detail), mixed media on archive print on board. © the Artist
The Deep Sea, environmental concerns, plastics and lockdown have all inspired works by Mariele Neudecker for her new solo exhibition Sediment at Hestercombe Gallery, Somerset.
‘Sediment’ brings together three decades of work by celebrated German artist Mariele Neudecker, who works at the crossover of art and science. Exploring topics such as mapping, perception, the invisible, painting and the history of art, her multimedia practice incorporates sculpture, video, painting, photography and sound.
Hestercombe has developed a strong programme of contemporary art and is working towards its vision of a cultural centre which brings together creativity with the local environment of formal gardens and nature.
Highlights of the exhibition include:
Everything Happens Once is an installation created by Neudecker as guest artist at CERN. She was inspired by the apparent contradiction of the high-tech scientific research and the appearance of the various experiments.
Mariele Neudecker said:
“You can see lots of tinfoil, plastic, tape and cables everywhere. This fascinated me from the first time I visited. It has a bizarre homemade quality to it, yet it’s probably the world’s biggest and most sophisticated experiment. A lot of my work relates to looking at the exterior of something and considering what’s hidden inside, what’s underneath – the things that are out of sight.”
She filmed slow-moving tracking shots in the CERN CLOUD experiment which influences policies on climate change. The shots are windows to another world and also represent ‘relationships’ in a more abstract sense. The viewer sees collections of objects including shielding for nuclear piping, concrete blocks and cardboard boxes. The videos are shown on two screens moving along the wall on tracks, moving at the same speed that the cameras filmed and randomly programmed in their selection and movement. This creates a kind of moving window effect.
Nothing Will Stay the Same reimagines the Arctic seascapes of painter William Bradford in a glass tank. Neudecker’s tanks use the visual effects created by glass and water, where things look bigger, and the perception of foreground, midground and background is disrupted. In Nothing Will Stay the Same, a ship, stuck in the ice, is seen through the clear Arctic air.
Afterlife was made after a trip on a ship to South West Greenland and is another reimagining of a painting; this time, Casper David Friedrich’s The Sea of Ice which shows a shipwreck in the Arctic. A large, detailed model of the ship sits in a studio set-up of an Arctic landscape. An ice sheet is built from wooden pallets and plastic sheeting, giclée prints of 3D-photographs taken from the ship are displayed, and three monitors show film moving through ice floes. The film shows ice, mountains and sky, all mirrored in the sea. Two of the films are inverted and mirrored, and because the cold arctic water is particularly reflective, this creates a confusing image and a feeling of instability in the viewer.
Plastic Vanitas is a series of vivid photographs of objects from the Museum of Design in Plastics. The images are Inspired by the Dutch still life painters of the 17th century. Known as Vanitas artists, they created paintings of objects to encourage the viewer to consider mortality and to repent. Neudecker’s still lifes have a connection to a particular type of painting and notions around collecting. They raise questions about the role of plastic, sustainability, climate change and the challenges of the world’s dwindling resources.
Other works in the gallery include new digital drawings onto photos created in lockdown, an archive of arctic images and drawings related to deep sea exploration.
A Thousand Ghosts is an installation outside in Hestercombe Gardens. The hand-crafted masts of this ‘submerged’ ship are inspired by Britain’s naval history and the trees that were felled to make ships. The artist explores the way we look at our surroundings and the events and ideas that have shaped our landscape, including centuries of shipbuilding.
Mariele Neudecker’s new book ‘SEDIMENT’, edited by Greer Crawley, designed by Herman Lelie & Stefania Bonelli and published by Anomie Publishing, London, will be launched at the exhibition in September.
Sediment is at Hestercombe Gallery near Taunton, Somerset from 14 August – 24 October 2021.
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Hestercombe Gallery opened in 2014 with the aim of showcasing the best in contemporary arts practice. Seven years on from its opening, Hestercombe Gallery has delivered a programme of high quality exhibitions in reclaimed spaces, a series of artists in residence, outdoor commissions as well as an engagement programme including talks, seminars and workshops involving artists, students, academics, teachers and experts from other disciplines.
Exhibitions have included 'Leaping the Fence' and ‘Terrain: Land into Art’ featuring artists such as Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn, Peter Doig and Richard Long in partnership with Arts Council Collections. Solo shows include Tania Kovats, Clare Woods, Helen Sear, Tim Knowles and Simon Faithfull. Group shows have included photographs by garden designer Gertrude Jekyll alongside photographers Sarah Jones, Helen Sear and Mark Edwards as well as showcasing historic works by painter and poet Rev John Eagles, together with contemporary work by Rebecca Chesney, Paul Desborough and Jem Southam.
Recent outdoor commissions include work by Richard Long, Sarah Bennett, Megan Calver & Gabrielle Hoad, Jon England, Jo Lathwood, Philippa Lawrence and Lucy Soni.
Hestercombe has engaged with writers Lizzie Lloyd, Sarah Kent, Cherry Smyth and Phil Owen; delivered garden commissions by Jennie Savage and Philippa Lawrence; and opened a second exhibition space for community and educational projects.
The Hestercombe Gardens Trust is an independent charitable trust, famous for its unique collection of gardens which span three centuries of garden history and design. The Formal Garden is hailed as one of the finest examples of the world renowned partnership between garden designer Gertrude Jekyll and architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. Hestercombe House and Gardens has undergone acclaimed restoration works and continues to develop and grow giving visitors a stunning setting to explore, learn and relax.
Over the last 30 years Hestercombe’s historic landscape and its unique, world famous gardens have been lovingly restored.
However, Hestercombe’s closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Hestercombe Gardens Trust’s finances. We’re an independent charity without the safety net of larger organisations, and we must now raise substantial funds to ensure Hestercombe continues to thrive and to help secure its magnificent heritage for future generations.
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