Exhibition: The Follies of Youth, 2 April 2015
The Follies of Youth is a programme of historical research and contemporary art commissioning by visual arts organisation Pavilion. Three artists - Giles Bailey (London), Amelia Crouch (Bradford), Ruth Lyons (Cork) - have produced work in response to three landscapes in West Yorkshire - Stapleton, Whitley Beaumont and Byram - listed in the account book of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown (1716-1783). Supported by a collective of producers, nicknamed 'the follies', the artists have undertaken field trips to the ruinous and industrial landscapes. In an attempt to recover Brown's lost designs, the artists have engaged the follies in rehearsing certain eighteenth century practices: of Arcadian poetic fantasy, walking etiquette and lime kilning. The results of the exercises will be exhibited at The Calder (Hepworth Wakefield) alongside The New Arcadian Journal, which is preparing an issue in time for the landscape architect's tercentenary in 2016.
Out of a morass
Starting from an interest in the painterly influences that shaped Brown’s vision, Out of a Morass experiments with alternative readings of his legacy and the influence of culture on our visions of landscape. It charts Arcadian vistas echoing across history, from Nicholas Poussin’s Landscape with a Man Killed by a Snake (1648) to the graphic design of pesto jars. A series of experimental research exercises weave together these speculative results to construct an image of our own “lost garden”.
Nor stamp hard on the ground neither
Amelia Crouch’s video overlays Adam Petrie’s Rules of Good Deportment
or of Good Breeding (1720) with the grammar of the garden to uncover the cultural construct of the natural as embedded in both landscape and bodily movement. It considers the Brownian landscape’s effacement of the philosophical or political, mirroring a contemporary shift from civility to etiquette (a set of rules without moral impetus).
Ruth Lyon’s Pilot Light reflects on the geology of Byram Park, historically surrounded by limestone quarries and kilns. Limestone is heated with oxy-acetylene to produce a light that is projected across the landscape using a large mirror. This demonstrates Thomas Drummand’s use of limelight and a heliostat to triangulate the land for the production of the first Ordnance Survey map of Ireland. A response Pilot Light projection will take place in Dowth Henge, a megalithic site, in Co. Meath, Ireland.
A Late Night opening for the exhibition takes place on 16 April at The Calder, 5–9pm. From 5–6pm the artists will be in conversation with Patrick Eyres (New Arcadian Journal)
The exhibition is supported by Arts Council England, EU Culture Programme, Heritage Lottery Fund, Lumen and Safer Communities Fund. It forms part of Pavilion's European Free School programme, delivered in partnership with CAC Vilnius and Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof as part of 'Retreating Ahead', an artistic programme funded by the European Union Culture Programme.