La Materialite de l’invisible

13 Apr

Temple romain Paris Buttes Chaumont deatail8 blog

A roman temple, reinvented space ( detail)

Blog 1 of 4


For the last year, due to an extraordinary art and archaeology residency at the Cent Quatre Centre in Paris, supported by NEARCH (New Scenarios for a Community Involved Archaeology) and University of Oxford, I have been working on two linked pieces:

Un temple romain, reinvented space: two drawings (2.7m x1.5m)

showing two roman temple sites: one in Paris at le Parc des Buttes Chaumont (built in 1867), the other in an industrial estate in Harlow, Essex (built in AD 100).

Putting in a box, installation: eight archive boxes filled with small objects, maps  and colored drawings, relating to the Roman temple sites.

 These two pieces form part of an ongoing collective exhibition at Cent Quatre: La Materialite de l’Invisible and have involved two communities and extended audiences in France and in the UK. 


Buttes Chaumont dessin1 Blog

Roman temple site, Parc des Buttes Chaumont 

2015 to 2016 pencil on paper ( 2.7m x 1.5m)

Harlow dessin 4 blog

Roman temple site, Harlow Essex 

2015 to 2016 pencil on paper ( 2.6m x 1.5 m)


Putting in a box 13 blog

Archive box 1

Harlow map @Christopher Green 2016

Buttes Chaumont @Paris archive photo 2015

Enclosed space , watercolour on paper 2015 Miranda Creswell

Putting in a box 15 blog

Archive box 2

drawing sky rise Miranda Creswell 2016

Flint drawing : Hazel Martingale ,Harlow archive 1980

Observer field book on grass c 1940  

Buttes Chaumont detail 3 blog

detail , Roman temple site , Parc des Buttes Chaumont 

Harlow detail7 blog

detail, Roman temple site , Harlow , Essex

By placing drawings and an installation together to describe two spaces, information about two sites is being presented as a whole exhibit, but there is also a challenge to the impossibility of a single way of describing a landscape.

Landscape by definition cannot be understood in one glance, part of it being in ones peripheral vision or can be understood as a single narrative or in a single time zone; its complexity is huge, immeasurable, so how do we as humans make sense of a place we research or observe?  Our memory of a place on recall is largely fragmented; we edit, and can change emphasis each time. The complexity is further enhanced if we add the recollection and narrative of many people and sources of one space into the mix.

Initially through the process of drawing, I was interested in embracing this complexity and these memory ‘gaps’, this never ending reinvention of a landscape by humans. Land which in some peculiar way, feels solid and fragmented at the same time.

As a nod to these tensions for the exhibition:  I used large scale drawings and small objects, large white paper, small lines, drawings of sky rise buildings next to delicate blades of grass.

In some ways, by doing this, the work is refuting the narrative of single textual authority and aiming at the most honest way that I know, to arrive at  the core, the essence of these two landscapes, by using many recollections and many sources and visual observations.


Matérialité de l’Invisible

Cent Quatre

Paris 19eme

Until May 8th (see web site for details)

direction artistique : José-Manuel Gonçalvès

Collective Exhibition with: Agapanthe (Konné & Mulliez), Hicham Berrada, Ali Cherri, Miranda Creswell, Johann Le Guillerm, Nathalie Joffre, Anish Kapoor, Julie Ramage, Ronny Trocker. Performance d’Adrian Schindler et conférence d’Eric Arnal-Burtschy.


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