A Season In Hell : Nicky Coutts  Rachel Reupke  Hiraki Sawa  John Stezaker
Hiraki Sawa Elsewhere   2003, video
courtesy: James Cohan Gallery, New York

23 June to 30 July 2006

The title is inspired by Arthur Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell published in 1873. It stood as an example of poetic visionary sensibility. Hieronymus Bosch saw Hell and reported what he saw. Both influenced the Surrealist movement and are echoed in the works selected for this exhibition.

Surrealism is mostly defined as pure psychic automatism. This is not this characteristic that informs the works in this show but the dialectic of different realities juxtaposed through manual and digital manipulation. The artists are also interested in a time and space duality: Rachel Reupke bounces the background and foreground in her videos, propelling the viewer into different dimensions within the same space. Hiraki Sawa merges two worlds, one of pure fantasy, the other completely mundane, one permanently on the move, the other static. Nicky Coutts perversely deletes one reality to expose another while John Stezaker doubles and reverses his images to create new ones. The familiar contexts are shifted or negated. Here Surrealism and Hell infiltrate the chosen realities exposing other worlds, hidden or imaginary.

Nicky Coutts elaborately manipulates and reproduces well known paintings by Hieronymus Bosch. Another Land, a series of three triptychs, sees Bosch's famous religious paintings emptied of their human content, transforming what was a stage, a prop or a mere background into the main components of the image, revealing an even more apocalyptic vision. The Garden of Earthly Delights, The Temptation of St Anthony and The Last Judgement have now become photographs of extreme environments, surreal worlds in suspense.

Rachel Reupke will show two single-shot landscape videos. The shots appear to have been recorded using a remote automated camera and are presented as brief clips, extracted from perhaps days of footage. Viewing these simple panoramas becomes an increasing complex experience as changes in atmospheric conditions affect the camera, the auto focus shifts and the weather closes in.

Hiraki Sawa's video Elsewhere takes us into a surrealist journey where dreams are offered on our doorstep and our homes become path and platform for flights of fantasy. Teapot, cups and spoons grow human legs and start a mysterious wondering around a domestic environment: a humoristic but worrying invasion.

John Stezaker's work is best known for his fascination with the contemporary collage and elements of uncanny distortion. For A Season in Hell, the artist will present a series of photocollage that at first glance reminds us of Flemish flower still life paintings, recomposed into a Rorschach pattern but quickly deciphered as menacing insects like spiders and flies.

Nicky Coutts first showed Another Land in a solo show at The Graves Art Gallery and Museum, Sheffield, earlier this year. Recent exhibitions include The Art of White, The Lowry, Manchester; The Human Zoo, The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle; The Entangled Eye, Tokyo, Japan; Animality, Dunedin, New Zealand; After Dolly, ICA, London. She is currently a Fine Art Fellow at Middlesex University and works with John Stezaker in CHS at the Royal College of Art.
Rachel Reupke showed in Une Vision du Monde, 2006, Maison Rouge, Paris; Terra Infirma, 2005, Espai d'Art Contemporani de Castello, Spain; The Mind is a Horse (part Two) 2005, Bloomberg Space, London; Tour-isms, 2004, Fundacio Antoni Tapies, Barcelona, Spain; After Nature, 2003, CCA, Glasgow.
Hiraki Sawa has showed internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include: Certain Places, 2006, Firstsite, Colchester; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Hirshhorn Museum, 2005, Washington, USA; Dwelling, 2003, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham. Group exhibitions: Unreal Realities, 2006, Museum of Art, Sakura, Japan; Xanadu Variation, 2005, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan; Domicile public/prive , Museum of Modern Art, Saint Etienne, France; Have We Met? 2004, Japan Foundation, Tokyo, Japan; New Contemporaries 2002, UK; East International 2002, Norwich Gallery, Norwich.
John Stezaker is an artist and Senior Tutor in Critical and Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art. He was one of the first generation of British Conceptual artists exhibiting in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, including in the New Art show of 1972 at the Hayward Gallery, London. Recent exhibitions include: Norwich Gallery, solo show; White Columns, New York; Tate Triennial, London; Time Lines, 2005, Kunstverein, Dusseldorf, Germany.



Nicky Coutts  Another Land Saatchi Online (53kB)

Untitled   Untitled
Untitled   Untitled
Untitled   Untitled
Nicky Coutts Untitled  2006
Another Land
Nicky Coutts Another Land 3  2006
black and white photograph on aluminium, tryptich, 150 x 230cm
Tignes Tignes
Rachel Reupke Tignes  2005
Elsewhere Elsewhere
Hiraki Sawa Elsewhere  2003, video
courtesy: James Cohan Gallery, New York
Ghost of the Fly   Ghost of the Fly
John Stezaker Ghost of the Fly   1995, inkjet print
courtesy The Approach, London