ExhibitionJames Hockey Gallery

Transcriptor: Illustration, Documentary and the Material

Exhibition dates: 
Thursday 19 October 2017 - Wednesday 10 January 2018 (please note the exhibition will be closed Friday 22 December to Friday 5 January 2018)

Wednesday 22 November, 5-8pm

Artists include:
Veronica Lawlor 
Vanessa Rolf
Volker Schlecht, Alexander Lahl, Max Moench
Jill Gibbon
Olivier Kugler
Nina Sabnani

Curated by:
James Walker

In a period of ever increasing modes of capturing, documenting, commenting on contemporary life, society and environment there continues to be a visual presence and use of the illustrated. The exhibition explores the diverse forms of documentary illustrative practice that push and at times transcend perceived ideas and values of what could be considered documentary/reportage forms. In a world of instant image generation and consumption, the illustrative continues to question our perception and desire for mimetic visuals. In response to this, the body of work in the exhibition challenges the mimetic. In particular, the layered periodization of the creative process from the thereness of the instant to the post-production construction of the documentary. Echoing John Grierson’s (1933) “creative treatment of actuality” the selected work aims to expand our understanding of how the materiality and the autographic is utilized by the illustrator to navigate contemporary issues such as the arms trade, refugee camps, social/political protests, archival and cultural memory. In turn, how this is mediated by the viewer in accessing diverse narrative voices and spectatorial world views through the agency of the image.

Veronica Lawlor
Veronica Lawlor’s award-winning reportage illustrations have led her around the world, completing assignments for diverse clients, including Brooks Brothers, Chase Private Client, and the Hyatt Hotel. Her emotionally charged on-site drawing series of the 9/11 attack on New York City is featured in the Newseum in Washington DC. The president of the Studio 1482 illustration collective, Ms. Lawlor is on the faculty of Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute, and conducts reportage workshops worldwide. She is the author of several books on drawing and illustration. Veronica is a native New Yorker and an international correspondent for Urban Sketchers. She brings her love of the diversity and energy of the city to everything she documents.

The work includes reportage illustrations made on location in New York City on September 11, 2001, and in the weeks that followed. Several of these drawings are published in a book: September 11, 2001: Words and Pictures (vero press.). Reportage on the decimated Ninth Ward in New Orleans. Six years after Hurricane Katrina struck, this neighborhood was still in a shambles, with many abandoned, destroyed, and empty homes. A series of work documenting protests and rallies in NYC; “make-out rally” in support of LGBTQ rights, “today I am a Muslim too!” in support of the Muslim population of New York against the travel ban proposed by the Trump administration. Reportage illustrations documenting the group Rise and Resist’s staged “New Orleans jazz funeral for the presidency” on American President’s Day holiday. Other work includes illustrations made on location in downtown New York City after Hurricane Sandy made landfall.

Vanessa Rolf
Vanessa Rolf studied MA Mixed Media Textiles at the Royal College of Art. She founded and directed ReachOutRCA, the Royal College of Art’s outreach programme, which instigates inspirational and innovative exchanges between young people, their teachers and the RCA community. The programme partners with many other organisations including Frieze Foundation, Art on the Underground and the V&A. Vanessa was made an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Art for her role with ReachOutRCA in 2017. Vanessa has been a visiting lecturer for Chelsea College of Arts (UAL) BA Textiles; University of the Creative Arts, Farnham BA Illustration and Winchester School of Art MA Textiles. She also runs workshops based on her practice in a range of settings with wide ranging participants, sometimes as one off events, other times as part of residency and community engagement briefs. Vanessa lives and works in Winchester, Hampshire.

Vanessa Rolf’s work focuses on historical narratives, archives, collections, journeys, maps, memory and the physical exploration of landscape. Her textiles relate stitch, texture and composition to maps and documentary photographs but also aim to capture the essence of a place. She is fascinated in documenting, archiving and labelling as a method of filtering, rationalising and claiming experiences.

Vanessa’s work often combines hand embroidery, machine and digital stitch, appliqué and screen print along with reclaimed wool, canvas and linen fabrics.

Poems to the Sea are an ongoing series of work exploring the notions of memorial and inheritance. The work stems from a collection of linens that were requisitioned during World War Two from German ships before they were sunk by the artists’ grandfather. The pieces serve as a memorial to her own family.  As well as to the boats that were sent to the bottom of the sea once all useful or valued objects on board had been salvaged. The stained and worn linens have been painstakingly patched and repaired to create a series of layers where the mending stitches are as relevant as the embroidered texts and maps that adorn them. The unknown previous owners of the cloth, many of who became prisoners of war or whose fate was sealed along with their ships, are a subtext throughout the work.

Volker Schlecht, Alexander Lahl, Max Moench
Volker Schlecht was born 1968 in Radeberg and works as an Illustrator and Filmmaker in Berlin. He studied communication design at the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle, he taught at the animation department of the HFF Konrad Wolf Potsdam-Babelsberg. Currently he works as a professor of sequential illustration at the BTK University of Art and Design. Together with Alexandra Kardinar he founded their collaborative label Drushba Pankow in 2002.

Alexander Lahl was born 1979 in Berlin (GDR). He studied cultural sciences in Berlin, Wroclaw and Frankfurt (Oder). He works as a writer, filmmaker and producer and co-founded the media label Die Kulturingenieure. Latest work together with Max Moench: “Treibsand. A graphic novel about the last days of the GDR”, published by Metrolit and has been translated into four languages

Max Moench studied History and Social Science at the Humboldt University in Berlin. He works as author and filmmaker. He has produced several long documentaries for AR TE, ZDF and others. He has won several international and national film awards.

Kaputt (Broken) – The Women’s Prison at Hoheneck. An animated documentary shortfilm about Hoheneck, the main prison for women in former East Germany. Based on interviews with former prisoners, this animated documentary provides a glimpse into the most notorious women’s prison in East Germany. A film about political imprisonment, forced labour, and enormous profits on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

Jill Gibbon
Jill Gibbon is a politically engaged artist with research interests in war, drawing, and aesthetics. She is currently working on a project documenting the secretive world of the international arms trade supported by an early career fellowship from the Independent Social Research Foundation. She has a BA from Leeds Polytechnic, an MA from Keele University, and a PhD from Wimbledon School of Art, and is a senior lecturer in Graphic Arts at Leeds Beckett University. Her drawings are in the permanent collections of the Imperial War Museum, and Bradford Peace Museum.

The sketchbooks in this exhibition were drawn undercover in arms fairs in Europe and the Middle East. Arms fairs are trade shows where military and security equipment are promoted to an international clientele. Tanks, ammunition, and tear gas are all on show, and between the bombs, tables are laid with champagne and canapés. Jill gets inside these events by dressing up as an arms trader; her performance a metaphor for the wider masquerade of respectability in the industry.

Olivier Kugler
Olivier Kugler was born in Stuttgart, Germany, he grew up in Simmozheim, a small village, in the Black Forest. After military service in the Navy Olivier studied graphic design in Pforzheim (Germany) and worked as a designer in Karlsruhe. He received a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service to do a Masters Degree in illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Since then Olivier has been working as an illustrator in London for clients all over the world. He is influenced by French/Belgian bande desinées and Otto Dix.

The exhibition includes drawings from the Syrian Refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan Project that documents the Syrian refugees met in Iraqi Kurdistan, Greece, Germany and the UK.

Nina Sabnani
Nina Sabnani is an artist and storyteller who uses film, illustration and writing to tell her stories. Graduating from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Vadodara she received a master’s degree in film from Syracuse University, NY, which she pursued as a Fulbright Fellow. Nina’s research interests and doctoral thesis include exploring the dynamics between words and images in storytelling. Her work in film and illustrated books, seeks to bring together animation and ethnography. Nina is currently Professor at the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay. Her award winning films include Mukand and Riaz, Tanko Bole Chhe (The Stitches Speak) and Baat Wahi Hai. Her most recent film Hum Chitra Banate Hain received the Rajat Kamal for the best animation film at the 64th National Awards for 2017.

Tanko Bole Chhe (The Stitches Speak), an ‘animated ethnography’ offers a space where the aesthetic perspectives of the participants are brought together with their narratives to construct an identity (Marks, 2000; Pink, 2009). The women artists from Kutch recall their memories of migration and displacement, belonging and celebration through their narrative embroidery and appliqué. The unfolding of the narrative is verbal, visual and tactile. The film maker-ethnographer is invited to travel within the fabric space to experience the narrative. In the process of ‘telling’, the multiple pasts and present converge into an experience which is mimicked by the film as a journey in the animated form. The film then is not only a participatory method of reporting fieldwork; but also an interpretation of the sensorial experience through cinematic means. The film was commissioned by the artists.

Documentary Discourses Conference - Wednesday 22 November 2017

Keynote Speaker:
Lainy Malkani www.socialhistoryhub.com
Confirmed Speakers:
Gabrielle Cariolle and Paul Roberts, Arts University Bournemouth
Dr Nina Mickwitz London College of Communication University of the Arts London
Gareth Proskourine- Barnett, Birmingham City University
Rachel Gannon, Kingston University
Dr Paul Ward, Arts University Bournemouth
Alys Scott-Hawkins, Arts University Bournemouth
Professor Anna Fox, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham

Online Booking: 
Academics £35, Students £20, UCA Staff & Students Free (online booking required)

Opening times:

For opening times please see the James Hockey & Foyer Galleries pages

Imgae Credit: Hospitality, Jill Gibbon 

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