The Brightness of Metal + Metallic Thinking, Sculpture, Engraved Steel, The Crypt Gallery (Freelands Foundation), London, 17 February - 23 February 2023

Work in The Crypt Gallery:

The Brightness of Metal + Metallic Thinking, 2024 
Raw Steel, hand engraved 

Nest (bolo) + Nest (variable), 2023
01 tool steel laser cutting. Set of 2

Betwixt exhibition

Betwixt 2024 Book (inc. Rustic Futures by Alice Bucknell)
Betwixt is a celebration of emerging artistic practices across the UK, taking place across four sites in central and north London. It brings together works by 20 artists from Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Sheffield in a vibrant week-long event. Four distinctive cultural spaces and venues each host a group exhibition focused on a unique theme: inching towards, beneath, beyond and held. beneath is a subterranean exhibition nestled in The Crypt Gallery at St. Pancras Church in Euston. Here, artists delve into the enigmatic, embracing the unknown as sites of resistance. beneath emerges from the shadows, a portal opening toward reimagined futures.

I myself have been attracted to Fanon’s name and voice because both have the brightness of metal. His is a metamorphic thought, animated by an indestructible will to live. What gives this metallic thinking its force and power is the air of indestructibility and the inexhaustible silo of humanity which it houses.

Achille Mbembe, ‘The Year of Frantz Fanon’

The Brightness of Metal and Metallic Thinking depict speculative scenes in the lives of two anti-colonial figures: José Rizal and Frantz Fanon. Rizal’s imprisonment in Montjuïc castle, Barcelona, before his execution in the Philippines, is retold and contested in archives and biographies, including claims that Rizal was forced to climb the hill from the dock below, carrying all his books. Attempted assassinations of Fanon during a hospital stay in Rome are entangled with misreporting and political distortion, especially difficult to trace because of his use of a pseudonym.

Taking inspiration from utopian artmaking and the capriccio - a dream-like interpretation of a place that combines monuments, disrupts geographies and interlinks temporalities - these steel engravings form their own myths and memorials to moments of pause. Reminiscent of steel plates used in printing, the work holds a latent interest in the use of tools; iterations and states that can be edited to make and reshape reality. The intimate, unknowable, overlapping or conflicting narratives within the archive coalesce to create a speculative architecture, inspired by the futures of these sites and the layered narratives of their protagonists.

The works are also accompanied by Nest (bolo) and Nest (variable), two works from previous solo exhibition Ornaments of Prospect (2023), Catalyst Arts, Belfast. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication, Betwixt (2024) featuring a text by Alice Bucknell on Sadia Pineda Hameed and Beau W Beakhouse’s collaborative practice, also available on New Mystics.

Curated by Wingshan Smith.

Supported by Freelands Foundation, as part of the Freelands g39 Fellowship 2022-24.

Images: Andy Stagg