Thursday, September 6, 2012

M.K.Ciurlionis National Museum of Art. Kaunas Lithuania

Since 2005 Higgins has been developing an on-going body of work collectively titled unloud. unloud is a inter-related set of activities consisting of painting, drawing, texts, digital images, sound and video. These elements are further explored through events: exhibition, talks, workshops, teaching and publication. Higgins states “Northern Russia has been described as being shrouded in a rare serene stillness and beauty undermined by the decaying presence of evil. As I stepped off the plane on the Solovki Islands in north Russia* in December 2004 I experienced a sudden and significant shift in understanding about my cultural place in the world. Solovki is for me a place of limits, a frontier or an extreme situation incorporating the extremes of climate, geography and nature, faith, brutality, beauty and fantasy. This experience continues to define the contexts and approaches for making unloud as I feel it touches not just my own but wider shared histories. In particular I am concerned with exploring ideas of testimony and cultural memory and to try and find the means to visualise through painting how the personal and the historical meet together. How do we construct social memory through images today? * The Solovetsky Islands, often referred to as Solovki, are just 165km from the Arctic Circle. The remote archipelago of islands is known for their scenic beauty and has long been used for both retreat and exile. Founded in the 15th Century, its monastery is one of Russia’s most famous and holy, and became a major pilgrimage destination – but it was also a place of exile and in the 20th Century was used as one of the first and largest brutal Soviet Gulag prison camps. Higgins talks of unloud as: “part fact, part fiction, part ghost story, part love story, almost a painted film, a fantasy and a sort of reportage or perhaps the truth even if it never happened”. The exhibition consists of over 1,927 paintings shown together as a complete idea, an interwoven whole. Each painting is 10cm x 7.5 cm and made between 2005 and 2012. Each of the paintings that make up unloud is a response to a direct encounter with something; a place, a person, an object, an idea, an emotion or a question that Higgins has experienced on The Solovki Archipelago in northern Russia or in relation to it, over the last eight years.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Paintings: 1600 paintings, each painting 10x7.5cm

Video: variable formats and sequences

Publication: 3 volumes of text and images accompanied by DVD film

Drawings: 58 cinemas on Solovki Island north Russia