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Primary Questions Exhibition

Sheena Calvert

June 22nd, 2017

Our end of elective show was held at St. Mary’s Church, Putney (the home of the ‘Putney Debates in 1647), occupying two arches that run under the Putney Bridge. Instead of a formal presentation of works, students delivered a series of workshops that provided starting points for discussion around the four Primary Questions.

The first of these addressed ‘What is an Image?’, using material collected from the Thames foreshore at low tide on the day of the exhibition. Participants were asked to draw through, around or about a chosen object to construct an image of their reading of the object, developing an alternative archaeology through image making.

Boxes with materials hidden inside were presented to participants to explore ‘What is Materiality?’. Each person was asked to feel and describe the contents of the box, without seeing the materials inside. The workshop emphasised the highly subjective nature of sensory experience and our natural response to draw on associations with previous experiences to ‘read’ materials.

Attempting to communicate through the sound and frequency of a typewriter, this performance asked us to question how we respond to, and construct, language through its material qualities. ‘What is Language?’ and how do we communicate without words?

A selection of herbs, leaves were presented for a workshop on ‘What is Colour?’. Participants were asked to grind up their chosen plants using pestle and mortars and to record their olfactory experience . Moving away from visual interpretation, the workshop asked ‘What does green smell of?’ and asked people to draw on individual memories and experiences.

Nicholas Moloney has provided the following review
of the Primary Questions end of year exhibition and discussion at the end of elective event.

The invitation to the Primary Questions end of year event at St. Mary’s Church, Putney (the home of the ‘Putney Debates in 1647), was produced by setting letterpress text by hand, at the .918 press, E3, and then printing it as a group effort, in an edition of 100, on a Vandercook Universal 1 press. The physicality of this process was then complemented by the Riso printing of individual images by each elective participant, over the letterpress print.

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