ILLUSION Spring Season

29–30 March 2014

Artists Caroline Achaintre and Laura Aldridge were commissioned for ILLUSION and their work installed the garden and studios. 


The use of material illusion and a pursuit of fluidity of meaning are inherent in the work of Laura Aldridge and Caroline Achaintre who have each been commissioned for ILLUSION. Both artists foreground the instability of the materials they use in relation to the imagery they choose and the finish they create. The craft processes they employ bridge between the familiar domestic and the wildly shamanic with the resulting works emerging like unnerving, celebratory folk monuments.

In a series of site-specific readings Maria Fusco also examined physical vulnerability as she shared excerpts from her novella which takes place in a decrepit, abandoned palace, once the home of the first Marquês de Pombal, the inventor of the grid system. In addition to artists’ talks and tours during the weekend, the audience were invited to take part in the alchemy of a Saturday morning pit firing led by Laura Aldridge and ceramicist Fran Marquis.

Laura Aldridge’s sculptural installation in the garden drew on experimental fabric banner prototypes which she made during her 2013 Residency at Hospitalfield.

Caroline Achaintre’s project challenged the perceived use of the 1901 studios where residents have worked for over 100 years. She considered the space as both a production and display environment, bringing existing works into new presentations and developing new work in situ.

Both projects come out of a conversation relating to contemporary approaches to making and the interplay between ideology, craft, representation and materials.

The artist Patrick Allan-Fraser – a key figure in the history of Hospitalfield who transformed the buildings in the 1800s and left the estate in trust for the support of living artists – demonstrated his bond with nature through his marrying of natural materials and direct botanical references as well as through his pastoral ideals. Where Allan-Fraser sought fidelity of material and representation, artists today often work directly with the infidelity of their materials and an understanding of the unstable nature of representation.

This project has been made possible by the support of The Elephant Trust.


Images: Ross Fraser McLean.


Images: Ross Fraser McLean.


Images: Ross Fraser McLean.


Images: Ross Fraser McLean.

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