Five Songs | ESP Offsite Project

Five Songs – ESP Offsite Project
Friday 14th December, 5–11pm & Saturday 15th December 12–6pm
Minerva Works, Fazeley Street, Birmingham B5 5RS

Five Songs was an ESP offsite project that happened across two days as part of Winterreise/Winter Journey, a collaboration with Sue Ball, MAAP and many others.

For Five Songs selected ESP members presented new work in the rough, industrial space of Unit 7, Minerva Works. Taking the song cycle Winterreise as its starting point, Five Songs examined the voices of five artists: Tracy Hickinbottom, Michael Lightborne, Samuel Rodgers, Kevin Ryan and Rafal Zar, who work across painting, sculpture, sound and video.

On Wednesday 12 December at 8pm ESP made its first live transmission of artworks by members as part of a demonstration by John Hill of Lucky PDF. The broadcast acted as a trailer for Five Songs, with artists involved in the project having been invited to develop a version of their work to be available for ESP TV. More info

Samuel Rodgers, an artist and composer/improviser, made a new sound work using field recordings of the unit and found objects that responded to the acoustic of the space and drew attention to the environmental sounds of its surroundings. Employing a mixture of mundane and ethereal imagery Rafal Zar’s works evoke a sense of a mythical journey. For this project he will show a selection of new paintings and sculpture across the space.

Painter Kevin Ryan presented a new body of works that examine the process of painting and the painted surface. By co-opting the visually complex space of Unit 7, with its coloured, patchy walls, he drew elements of the wider space into his own work and asked the viewer to re-examine his seemingly monochrome works. Like Ryan, Tracy Hickinbottom is interested in the idea of an artwork reaching, or not reaching, a state of ‘finishedness’, and often reuses and recycles her own work in order to make something new. For Five Songs Hickinbottom made a new sculptural work in response to the physical conditions of the unit that looked at how we move through space and interact with others.

Artist and writer Michael Lightborne’s work is driven by a desire to see through things, to sense the unordered and illegible and the creative and often incongruous links between material fact and cultural imaginary. Here he presented a new HD video that takes a line from Schubert’s Winterreise as its starting point: ‘Every river will reach the sea; Every sorrow, too, will reach its grave’.

ESP, along with Cathy Wade and Paul Newman and Black Dogs were commissioned for Winterreise/Winter Journey to work with K4 Architects to open up Minerva Works by creating public events and temporary works.

For Winterfest @ Warwick Bar Ikon Youth Programme, Grand Union, Vivid Projects, and Stryx hosted a variety of events and exhibitions all within the vicinity of the Minerva Works building.

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