About4 May 18 May 2013
Preview Friday 4 May, 6~9pm
Special May Bank Holiday opening times during Spike Open: 12-5pm, Saturday 4th May Monday 6th May
Exhibition continues 12-5pm, Thursday Saturday, 5 May 18 May 2013
or by appointment. Admission free.
For the final installment of Regional Interference Mike Ricketts presents âThe Vessel', which shares the story of the UK's only prison ship of modern times, Her Majesty's Prison The Weare.
The core of the exhibition is a new film narrating the artist's attempts to access, photograph and track the barge, and the strange status the vessel has developed over its eventful life.
Decommissioned in 2005 and until recently located in Portland Harbour, Dorset, England, the vessel is now somewhere in Nigeria's troubled oil fields. The story of the barge takes the audience from Sweden to the Falkland Islands, from Germany to Manhattan, and involves engineers, ship spotters, prisoners, soldiers, and the artist's brother, Chris.
Mike Ricketts' work often circulates around spatial controversies. Ricketts spends time physically in and researching specific locations over an extended period, collecting diverse stories and accounts of situations in transition. He then attempts to participate in these spaces and processes himself - asking questions, making propositions, following mobile objects. His practice unfolds in dialogue with the practices of others: planners and developers, inmates and governors, activists and politicians and invokes the bureaucratic and intellectual structures of architecture, urban planning and policy as both subject and location for his work. His dialogues can then be presented as texts, posters or events for public contexts or social audiences but also as re-narrations of his activities and enquiries in exhibitions or other forms of distribution or as talisman-like sculptural objects.
Composed entirely of appropriated material, the exhibition frames Ricketts' film with sections of television news footage about the vessel, ephemera and a small curated display of others artists' paintings of the prison ship, specially loaned for the exhibition.
Together this interwoven set of personal artistic studies and sightings of the barge in popular media portray the vessel not simply as a dumb container for the pragmatic housing of men but as a peculiar object of fascination for artists, journalists and enthusiasts that grows in both intrigue and a peculiar potency the more we scrutinize its mute exterior.