The Fielden Project with Adrian Davies, Alex Jako, Anna Taylor, Eleanor Mulhearn, Erik Knudson, Laura Davies, Richard Mulhearn & Sarah Eyre
5th – 18th May 2014
Unitarian Church, Todmorden, West Yorkshire
My practice is concerned with a fascination for the uncanny and the surreal in everyday objects, as well as an on-going exploration of gender, identity and place, so, naturally I was drawn to the grotesques on the outside of the church. The grotesque is an interesting concept, the word originated from grotto (as in cave), and is applied to decorative architectural features often mistaken for gargoyles. Grotesque, in short, means things that have a multiple form, often an ‘unnatural’ combination of human, creature and plant.
Mikhail Bakhtin describes the grotesque thus “A body in the act of becoming…never finished, never completed: it is continually built, created and builds and creates another body”. The grotesque can also be defined by forms that do not fit in to known categories, forms that multiply, or mutate. With this in mind I used the forms of the body – dismembered, re-assembled, and fused in combination with elements of Todmorden’s landscape and hand tools that are traditionally associated with gendered work within the town. The selection of ‘objects’ was informed by research into the textile trade – especially the mechanisation of the body during the industrial revolution. The choice of scissors makes a direct reference to gendered work but their form also suggests the human form.