Town and Country

22 Jul 2009 – 19 Sep 2009

Project Space Leeds

Leeds, United Kingdom


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Town and Country is a collaboration between Project Space Leeds and Harewood House Trust exploring issues around the urban and the rural based on the relationship between the two sites and notions of migration. Featuring works by Susan Collins, Justine Gaunt, Pippa Hale, Kerry Harker, Diane Howse, Nous Vous and Simon Warner. Hortuseum is the unlikely and unexpected creation of a garden in the urban setting of PSL. Rows of vegetable plants are arranged in a grid resembling the classic form of a market garden. The locating of ripening and rambling produce in this city-centre gallery makes a startling juxtaposition that refocuses our ideas of food provenance. The new word Hortuseum reflects this idea, being a fusion of ‘horticulture' and ‘museum'. The Country Cottage Museum is a micro museum displaying prints, postcards, books, tea sets and jigsaw puzzles in vintage furniture and display cases. The ‘country cottage' is a powerfully evocative image in English culture, which conjures up an idea of a rural past bathed in the rosy glow of nostalgia. Loaded with symbolism, the classic portrayal of a thatched, half-timbered dwelling with rambling roses over the door, distorts the reality of the complex and often less-than-idyllic life in the countryside. Aerial Module is a work that exists simultaneously in the two locations of PSL and Harewood House. Numerous cubic structures, suspended in the branches of trees, allude to the idea of bird boxes. There is also the suggestion of a journey or migration between the two locations: birds notably do not acknowledge the boundaries, or even differences, between urban and rural locations. Susan Collins' Harewood shows images of Harewood's ‘Capability' Brown landscape filmed on a webcam over the course of a year. The live footage shown at PSL plays on parallels between the mechanically composed digital image and the formally constructed landscape. Town and Country conjures up a strangely heightened sensation of a world that is both familiar and alien. Through these works and others, the show asks us to question our preconceptions about town and country and wonders whether we can see past nostalgic visions.


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