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Giles Bailey – Out of a Morass

Giles Bailey – Out of a Morass

A project that explored new ways of interpreting and visualising landscapes that had been designed by the 18th century landscape architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown

Art gallery with sculptures and video monitors

Out of a Morass explored how to represent landscape as a changing and culturally contingent phenomenon, focusing on new ways of interpreting and visualising landscapes that had been designed by the 18th century landscape architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. It was made in response to the ‘lost’ Brown landscape of Stapleton Park in West Yorkshire, once an aristocratic seat, now demolished and used for agriculture.

It was a commission as part of ‘The Follies of Youth’ project, marking the bicentenary of Brown’s birth, initiated by Pavilion, a visual arts organisation in Leeds that produces and presents contemporary art and supports the development of artists and arts professionals in and around the local area. Their projects often lead them to work outside formal art institutions and engage with wider culture and society. Bailey collaborated with a group of seven young producers (who were supporting artists commissioned by Pavilion to realise their projects) on performance workshops. Using time-based media practices, particularly performance and video, Out of a Morass proposed a way to see Stapleton’s history anew by looking at how Arcadian landscapes inhabit the popular consciousness that informed Brown, through 17th century painting, for example, and exists today by way of contemporary commodities and heritage sites. In so doing, the project proposes broader questions for audiences to consider the ways in which representations of landscape are culturally constructed and ideological, and explored how artists might present new ways to engage with this history.

Out of a Morass was presented as part of the exhibition ‘Follies of Youth’ at the Hepworth, Wakefield (2 April – 31 May 2015). The installation comprised two video works, sculptural objects developed in response to historical reference material about Brown, and costumes worn by performers during the performance experiments, presented on wooden armatures

 

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Art Gallery with sculpture and video monitor