Exhibition: These Rotten Words at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff

Rotten Words Portrait

I’m curating These Rotten Words, an exhibition at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. Information pasted below:

17th March (Opening) 18th March – 11th June2017

Rebecca Ackroyd, David Austen, Johann Arens, Anna Barham, Marie-Michelle Deschamps, Foundation Press, Anneke Kampman, Joanna Piotrowska and Devlin Shea

Encompassing photography, painting, sculpture, sound and moving image works, ‘These Rotten Words’ focuses on the physicality of textual, gestural and vocal forms of communication. Rottenness is defined as both bad and decayed and, in a world where public discourse has become increasingly dominated by divisive polemics, the exhibition embraces language that is more contingent and intimate. The artists call attention to the physical properties of communication: the mouth and the hand are inextricably linked and while the hand enables us to shape materials, the voice — and our use of language — offers a further tool to manipulate the world around us.

Words become disentangled from the author’s intention. Limbs float freely. Bodies are scaled up and down. The familiar and at hand becomes estranged and unknown. To rot is to decompose, offering an opportunity for reassembly. The artists in the exhibition suggest a form of renewal, probing the possibilities and limits of the body and its voice. Text can be a vehicle for melody as much as meaning. We may talk before we know exactly what we want to say. Speech is slippery, and intention is as much about inflection as content — all languages carry inefficiencies and lacuna.

Anna Barham presents a new, single-screen video exploring the cicada — an insect with tongue shaped wings that is primarily heard rather than seen, its distinctive rasp acting as a kind of sonic camouflage for other sounds. Marie-Michelle Deschamps and Anneke Kampman will each be producing a series of new sculptures and audio works that examine the sonic and acoustic properties of the voice. Kampman’s work, a kind of alternative audio guide, will provide a narrative through the exhibition. Devlin Shea, Rebecca Ackroyd and Joanna Piotrowska recall John Bulwer’s assertion that “gesture is the only language natural to the body,” each focusing on bodily gesture. David Austen will present a text painting alongside a series of figurative watercolours. Johann Arens’ sculptures promote tactile engagement, framing the spectator’s gestures alongside the other work on display.

Foundation Press, a platform for experimental publishing activity in Sunderland, will undertake a brief residency during Experimentica – presenting a series of print workshops and printed artworks in response to the exhibition. ‘These Rotten Words’ will be accompanied by a screening of artists’ films, information to be announced.

‘These Rotten Words’ is commissioned by Chapter to coincide with Experimentica, the arts centre’s annual festival of live art. This year Experimentica is exploring ‘Secret Language’ and features the work of Getinthebackofthevan, Katy Baird, Jonny Cotsen, Tim Bromage, Dustin Scott Harvey & Adrienne Wong, Heike Roms and Gareth Llŷr Evans, Gareth Chambers, Rachel Helena Walsh, Thomas Goddard, Yoanna Blikman and Dan Robert Lahiani, Keir Cooper, Robbie Synge, Clayton Lee, A.S. (Rosa Casado/Ffion Jones/John Rowley/Richard Huw Morgan), Anti-Cool and Sheree Naqvi..The Festival runs from 29 March to 2 April.

‘These Rotten Words’ continues on from a number of exhibitions curated by Vasey exploring ideas around intimacy, language and gesture including ‘A Small Hiccup,’ at Grand Union, Birmingham (2013) and ‘Emotional Resources’ at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland (2014).


REBECCA ACKROYD graduated from Royal Academy in 2015. Upcoming solo exhibitions include ‘House Fire’, Outpost, Norwich (opens 23/3/17). Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Taken Care’, Hunter / Whitfield (2015), ‘Carburettor’, Kinman Gallery, both London (2014). Selected group exhibitions include ‘All Over’, Studio Leigh, ‘Modest Villa Immense Versailles’, Kinman Gallery, ‘Bloody Life’, Herald Street, ‘Is it heavy or is it light’, Assembly Point, ‘With institutions like these’, Averard Hotel (all London); ‘Opals’, Galerie Opdahl, Stavanger, Norway; ‘ The Good The Bad and the Ugly’, Gesso Artspace, Vienna, Austria (all 2016); Royal Academy Schools Degree Show, ‘Works in residence’, David Roberts Art Foundation and ‘The London Open’, Whitechapel Gallery (all London, 2015).

DAVID AUSTEN was born in Harlow, Essex and graduated with an MFA from the Royal College of Art in 1985. He is based in London and was the Stanley Picker Fellow in 2008 to 2009. Select solo exhibitions include ‘Black Heart’, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Cogliandrino (MACC), Contrada Timparossa, Basilicata, Italy (2015), ‘Papillon’, Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London (2011), ‘End of Love’, Modern Art Oxford (2010), ‘David Austen’, Milton Keynes Gallery (2007) and ‘Smoking Moon’, Camden Arts Centre, London (2006). His work has been included in exhibitions at Tate Britain, Drawing Room, Kettle’s Yard, Irish Museum of Modern Art and South London Gallery among others. He is represented by Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh.

JOHANN ARENS was born in Aachen, Germany and received his MFA in Fine Arts at Goldsmiths, London. He has been awarded the Rome Fellowship in Contemporary Art by the British Academy and has been resident at Fondazione Antonio Ratti and the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Select exhibitions include ‘Preis für Junge Kunst’ Neuer Aacher Kunstverein, Germany (2016), ‘Somatic Matter’, Le Foyer, Zürich; ’New Acquisitions’, Fondazione Fotografia Modena; ‘Pillar Huggers’, Or Gallery, Berlin (both 2015), ‘TTTT’, Jerwood Space, London; ‘Emotional Resources’, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland (both 2014) and ‘Internet Centre & Habesha Grocery’, Paradise Row, London (2013).

ANNA BARHAM is based in London. Recent commissions include Playground Festival, Museum M, Leuven; Art Sheffield (both 2016); Centre Pompidou, Paris; fig-2, ICA London (both 2015), and Hayward Gallery (2014). Her work has been included in exhibitions at Kunst-Werke, Berlin; the Wellcome Collection, London (both 2016), ‘KM-Graz’, Eastside Projects, Birmingham; Open Source Festival, London and Rotterdam Film Festival (all 2015) and in previous years at Turner Contemporary, Margate; FRAC Lorraine, Metz; MARCO, Vigo; MHKA, Antwerp; Le Plateau / Frac Ile de France, Paris; ICA and Tate Modern London. Recent residencies include Site Gallery, Sheffield and Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (both 2013). She is represented by Arcade, London.

MARIE-MICHELLE DESCHAMPS was born in Montreal in 1980. She graduated from a MFA at the Glasgow School of Art in 2012. She has been an artist-in-residence at Studio Voltaire, London and TRIANGLE FRANCE, Marseille (both 2014). Recent exhibitions and projects include ‘That Cool Decline’, Occidental Temporary, Paris; ‘The Digital Cliff’, CK2 Gallery, Montréal; ‘L*’, Darling Foundry, Montreal; ‘Deschamps, Kerr, Stephens’, David Dale Gallery, Glasgow for Glasgow International (all 2016). Deschamps has upcoming solo and two person exhibitions at Raising Cattle, Montreal and Austellungraum Klingenthal, Basel (both 2017) and is currently working on a publication on the work of the schizophrenic writer Louis Wolfson with Triangle France.

ANNEKE KAMPMAN is a performer, composer and sound artist born in Scotland and currently based in London, where she is an associate artist at Open School East. Recent performances and exhibitions include ‘Figures. Figure. Stuck’ (performance), Open School East; ‘The Heat’ (collaborative exhibition with Eve Chabanon), Open School East; ‘Where Blips of Light Called Players Disintegrate’, (performance) commissioned and presented by Jerwood Visual Arts, (all 2016); ‘I Will Leave You Now And This Loudspeaker Will Take My Place’ (installation) Lancaster Women in Sound Symposium (2015); ‘Labyrinthine’, a collaborative Opera performed at The Self The Other Festival in Brussels (Commissioned by La Monnaie De Munt/QO2) and the BBC Glasgow Tectonics Festival (2016) and ‘The As If Body Loop’ (performance), BBC Tectonics Festival (2014).

FOUNDATION PRESS is a platform for experimental publishing activity based within the interdisciplinary environment of the Art & Design Foundation Studies course at National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland. Based around a number of risograph printers and led by artists Adam Phillips, Deborah Bower and Joe Woodhouse, Foundation Press develops print projects with visiting artists and partner organisations, in collaboration with students of the Foundation course who act as co-editors, designers and producers. Recent publications have been created with artists including Eric Bainbridge, Paul Becker and Kate Liston as well as off-site workshops at BALTIC (Gateshead), Newbridge Books (Newcastle upon Tyne) and NGCA (Sunderland).

DEVLIN SHEA was born in New York City, USA and is now based in London. She graduated from MFA painting at the Slade School of Fine Art in 2016. Recent exhibitions include: ‘Screen Time’, Assembly Point, London; winner of the Exeter Contemporary Open, Phoenix Gallery, Exeter, UK (both 2016); museum exhibition in Wuhan Art Museum, China titled ‘On Drawing: Apperceive of Liberation’ (2016-17) and ‘Imagine’ (curated by Tomma Abts and Alastair Mackinven), Londonewcastle Project Space, London (2015). Shea has participated in numerous international residencies including: Banff Center, Canada; Nes Artist Residency, Iceland; Kökarkultur, Finland; The Vermont Studio Center, USA and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space Program, USA. She is an artist in residence at the Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University in Hong Kong until February 2017. She will have a solo exhibition in the Surplus Space, Wuhan, China in 2017.

JOANNA PIOTROWSKA was born in Poland and is currently based in London. Upcoming exhibitions include Southard Reid, London (2017). Recent exhibitions include Prada Foundation, Milan; Madragoa Gallery, Lisbon; LISTE 2016, Basel, Switzerland; Dawid Radziszewski Gallery, Warsaw (all 2016); Jerwood and Photoworks Awards 2015, Jerwood Space, London; Lea Cetera, Daniel Lipp & Joanna Piotrowska, Sunday At Fair, London; Frowst, Ethnographic Museum, Photomonth, Kraków; ‘True Players’, W139, Amsterdam; Hester, Southard Reid, London; ‘How Are You?’, Księgarnia | Wystawa, Kraków; ‘Art Lending Library’ project by Walker & Bromwich, Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland; Krasna-Krausz Book Awards and First Book Award 2015, Media Space, Science Museum, London and, Bunkier Sztuki, Kraków (all 2015). ‘s.w.a.l.k’, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland and ‘What love has to do with it’, Project Space, Hayward Gallery, London (both 2014). She is represented by Southard Reid, London.

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