message on a bottle

In 1935 Phyllis Pearsall was inspired to design a handy guide to the capital's streets after getting lost on her way to a party in Belgravia. “She was an artist and a storyteller" says Diane Samuels. Pearsall’s was not the first book to map London but her wide streets, clean lines and san serif fonts enabled a generation to navigate the maze of streets that formed the city of London. My dog eared copy would fall open, releasing paraphernalia of bygone journeys and annotations daubed in the margins. The bottles I have pasted over, these glass ghosts are now a palimpsest of journeys walked and journeys imagined through the streets of London against a backdrop of voids past.

rhizoMAATic14 is an artists/teachers collective that formed in the final year of the Artist Teachers and Contemporary Practices MA at Goldsmiths College, London. An intrinsic element of the course was the exploration of working collaboratively and developing socially engaged art. This enabled the group to question notions of ownership, identity and dominant learning structures in relation to education and art.

This group exhibition at the Ashcroft Arts Centre explored the intimacy, joy and challenge of communication through text. The messages are of hope and direction, handwritten correspondence and detailed instruction. Each piece offers a personal response to the theme and through this, allows a conversation to develop between artists and spectators. The text itself embodies a myriad of narratives and memories. Like the bottled messages they allude to, they have each made a journey from person to person. They exist both in the past of their composition and in the present of their adaptation, exhibition and onward interpretation. 

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