Breathing Space: In Response to 1 Chiltern Street

23 May 2008 – 8 Jun 2008

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The Fire Station

London, United Kingdom

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Since mid-April, seven artists, including a composer, an architect and a dancer, have been in residence in a decommissioned fire station in Marylebone. From May 23 until Sunday 8 June the exhibition Breathing Space: In Response to 1 Chiltern Street, will display the results of these residencies which have seen the artists responding to a series of enigmatic fragments, realities and fictions to be occupied and interpreted within the architectural setting. Breathing Space: in Response to 1 Chiltern Street takes as its starting point a building, the Old Fire Station at 1 Chiltern Street. Built with a series of specific purpose in mind; housing fire fighters, their families, their equipment and facilitating the considerable periods of waiting for action, it was decommissioned in 2005 and is now empty and rendered functionless. The artists in Breathing Space have been invited to activate the building during this fallow period and to make work which takes into account the possibilities that lie within this interlude. Each artist in the exhibition will respond to a particular part of the building. Installation artist Teresa Gillespie will use materials from the building to modify an inhospitable corner and will create a place within which to recall the words of three displaced individuals who she encountered in a different redundant corner of the city. Filmmaker Amanda Loomes has invited working firemen into the space, to consider the complexity of working when you cannot see what you are looking for. Cecilia Jardemar's use of the physical space of the former gym will result in a work which will use video to turn the physical space into an abstract series of gaps and seams and axis. Architect Alex Haw will examine the building's inherent paradox - firefighters sheltering fire - and the specific space where the memory of battle receded, exploring the oppositional vertical trajectories of fire and gravity with free-floating live camera feed. Video and live artist Ben Judd has invited clairvoyant mediums, Val Hood and Anne Germain (www.annegermain.co.uk, www.valhood.co.uk) to conduct a séance in the station, drawing on the history that the building contains, a subject which will play a major role in Mark Wayman's tour of the space, altering perceptions of what might previously have seemed familiar. Two of the artists in the exhibition will make work not often seen in an art context. Composer Rob Canning's multi-channel sound piece will comprise the results of field recordings taken in and around the fire station and the audio documentation of pyrotechnic experiments. Dancer Robin Dingemans will present a work to one audience member at a time, in a disorientating yet intimate experience. Breathing Space: in Response to 1 Chiltern Street is curated by Rose Lejeune. A documentation pamphlet, produced by Bonjour Bonjour accompanies the exhibition. The exhibition has been made possible by the generous donation of the Station by the Portman Estate and with the support of ADiAV


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