AboutBob and Roberta Smith: The Salisbury Golem
6 August 17 September 2011
Open Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 4pm. Free entry
Salisbury Arts Centre, Bedwin Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 3UT. 01722 321744 www.salisburyartscentre.co.uk
Bob and Roberta Smith present a new sculptural work for this exhibition at Salisbury Arts Centre. In contract to the familiar fairground sign / folk art aesthetic audiences have come to expect, the protector of the plain is raw and unadorned, waiting to be clothed and surrounded by wishes, messages and offerings for the future of Salisbury. Somewhere between a Trojan Horse, a wooden shelter, a votive figure and a Transformer, it taps into make-do-and-mend traditions of rural life, as well as the literal meaning of Golem, âshapeless mass': it suggests something which grows and is gradually replaced out of necessity, a patchwork of other pieces.
The project explores the persistence and transformation of belief systems in secular society (Jewish in origin, the Golem here merges with westcountry folklore in a deconsecrated Christian church near to celebrated sites of pagan and Roman significance, Stonehenge and Old Sarum). It echoes Guild town Pageant Giants (the oldest known of which survives in Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum), Wiltshire's chalk hill figures and contemporary humanoid characters. Like the original golem story from Prague, and permutations on the theme such as Frankenstein and Pinocchio, all of which are fundamentally morality tales, it asks the viewer to think about the connotations of âplaying god', and about responsibility as well as hope and faith. The Golem can represent anything that we create to increase our power, which has the potential to get out of control from nuclear power to digital technology. This is an optimistic Golem, however; like much of Smith's work, through fun and droll humour it challenges viewers to articulate and act upon what they find important.
Also included in the exhibition are four recent text paintings by Bob and Roberta Smith and, as the exhibition progresses, work and âofferings' from members of the public, made independently and through workshops at the Arts Centre.
Developing alongside are an online dialogue and commentary with Ruth Gilbert, a writer and researcher at University of Winchester. Follow the blog: www.salisburygolem.wordpress.com
Publications and a limited edition Tshirt signed by Bob and Roberta Smith, in a choice of colours and sizes, are available.
Friday 5 August, 6 8.30pm: Opening Ceremony.
Saturday 17 September, 1 3pm: Closing Ceremony
(both feature performances by Bob and Roberta Smith).
Tuesday 9 August, 11am 4pm: Votive Box Making drop-in workshop.
Sunday 21 August: Ruth Gilbert leads a Golem storytelling workshop.
(both of these are free drop-in sessions suitable for families).
Additional workshops are available for groups: call 01722 343020 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org