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An exhibition of new work by artist Derek Eland opens on Monday January 9 at the Crown Gallery in Carlisle.
This new body of work is inspired by Eland's walking the length of Hadrian's Wall during November 2011, and will examine our relationship, past and present, with this extraordinary piece of
During his walk, Eland collected scraps of conversations, sketches and stories, which will be presented as a series of paintings, installations, and sculptures.
The works on exhibition address the state of the Wall by comparing the old and the new and the juxtaposition of images he encountered and ideas he formulated during his time on the Wall. This is completely an ideas led exhibition, starting with the idea to spend time on the Wall and ending with a response to the state of the Wall and its use as a metaphor through drawing, painting, collage, photography, text and sculpture. One of these ideas takes the form of a manifesto, suggesting the complete restoration of the
The idea of rebuilding Hadrian's Wall is of course ironic. Whilst Eland is serious that the Wall has been long neglected and that we absolutely need to make more of it, the real message here is that the state of the Wall is a metaphor for the state of our society. We need to rebuild this in the same way we need to rebuild the Wall, and this might mean taking down some structures in order to reconstruct, or to remove some 'sacred cows' in order for this to happen.
Eland said: “For me the work is refreshing as it has allowed me to develop my practice and build on the work I have completed previously - particularly my time as a war artist in Afghanistan. As an artist it is not enough to want to create; I need my art to be relevant, moving, powerful and disturbing; being purely aesthetically pleasing but vacuous or intellectual but inaccessible is not enough.”
This is his first major project since Afghanistan. The 'In Our Own Words' installation at the Imperial War Museum has been described by the Independent as 'ground breaking art' and the story has been covered by the press in over 30 countries worldwide including print, radio and TV coverage.
The work has been particularly featured on BBC Radio 3, 4 and 5 Live, BBC news, BBC documentary TV, the Independent, The i, Sunday Mirror, Agence France-Presse and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The Afghanistan exhibition tours the UK over the next few years, going to the Russell-Cotes Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth in October 2012.
Ian Stephens, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism recently said: “Derek is part of a long line of Cumbrian based artists who have created cutting edge work and continue to be at the forefront of the creative industries. His installation is of considerable importance, it is at times touching, sensitive and poignant, often rendering to the viewer the extreme conditions soldiers in Afghanistan serve under day in day out.”
o There will be a preview of the exhibition on Saturday January 7 between 6 and 8pm.