Artists Aaron Angell and Ian Law present Plumb Poltergeist, an exhibition of new work developed out of conversations between the artists over the last six months.
Together they collaborate on a series of lidded ceramic boxes based on Roman and Etruscan funerary urns, destined for the ashes of married couples. Aware of its influence on the University of Essex’s 1960s architecture of interconnected squares and towers, Ian Law recently visited San Gimignano in Italy. While staying there he came across Etruscan cineraria, prompting conversations with Aaron Angell. Having never visited Italy, the history of its ancient civilisations remain “literary and ridiculous” to Angell – a malleable idea rather than historic fact.
A University of Essex student’s poster opens up new possibilities and associations for Aaron Angell who presents a ‘hinterglasmalerei’ (reverse painting on glass), based on Richard Doyle’s ‘Enchanted Tree’, 1974. Depicting faerie-folk dancing beneath a tree, the poster once hung in a former Chemistry student’s Tawney Tower bedroom in the 1970s. Angell also displays his collection of inflatable furniture; terrarium footstools filled with fake flowers from the mid-1950s. They function as portends to the more exploitative image of hippy movements of the late 1960s and the radical, biotopic architecture of the same era.
Law’s series of photographs ‘on Simone Weil Avenue …’ explore the life and writing of French philosopher Simone Weil. Replica Barbie Dream House floors are mounted with photographs shot on location in a chain store on Simone Weil Avenue – a non-residential road in Ashford, Kent. On arrival, the location appeared the antithesis of Weil’s philosophy, but upon reflection may have been an ideal site for the subject of her research. These images become ruminations on Weil’s life and writings, utilising only the services and products found on the road named after her.
Conversations around the only element of the University’s original architectural plan sited in its historic parkland -Lakeview House – allowed Angell and Law to dwell on the building as a temple or folly, separated from the rest of campus.
Aaron Angell (b.1987) studied at the Slade School of Art and is founder of Troy Town Art Pottery. He lives and works in London.
Ian Law (b. 1984) studied at Camberwell and the Royal College of Art. He lives and works in London