Shape Open 2013/14 Yinka Shonibare MBE Launches 'Shape Open' 2013 This year's theme 'Disability Re-assessed' has generated submissions from an exciting international range of artists. The 2013 Open which launches on Thursday 3rd October with a private view, showcases a multi-disciplinary selection of works including painting, sculpture, textile, digital art and photography. The work represents a rich diversity of opinions, reactions and responses to this highly political and often deeply personal theme, but is united by a clarity, energy and commitment to re-interpreting and re-assessing disability. The exhibition launch and prize giving will be held on 3rd Oct at the Nunnery Gallery, Bow between 6-10pm and will be opened by our very own Shape Patron Yinka Shonibare. Yinka Shonibare joined Shape CEO Tony Heaton and Nunnery Gallery Director Rosamond Murdoch earlier in the year on the shortlist panel and helped select works for this year's exhibition. 'The Shape Open Exhibition provides a fantastic platform for disabled artists to show their work. Such exhibitions offer great opportunities for artists to be discovered by institutions and large audiences. Similar exhibitions have helped to contribute to the development of my own personal career'. Yinka Shonibare MBE, Shape Open Patron 'We received an overwhelming response to the 2013 Shape Open Exhibition call out, and are indebted to Yinka Shonibare MBE and Rosamond Murdoch, the Director of The Nunnery Gallery, who have selected 46 outstanding artists. The work chosen presents a real insight and deeper exploration of the theme 'Disability Assessed', particularly pertinent in today's political climate.' Tony Heaton OBE, Shape CEO Image: Marion Michell, Soldier's Child (2012/13)Banner image: Shape Open 2013 exhibition. Photo by Rachel Cherry A full colour catalogue of the exhibition is available here:SHAPE_Open-Catalogue_final_web_1.pdf Text description entry below: Gabriel Andreu Silence 3 2011 HD Digital film file 1 min 12 sec Silence’ is a series of three works relating to subjects that are often un‑acknowledged in society. ‘Silence 3’ examines physical disabilities by exploring the undulating environment in San Francisco, and how some aspects of geography place limits that even city planners cannot overcome. Katherine Araniello Pity2013SD Digital film file2 mins 41 sec The live ‘Charity Collection Doll’ brings to life the persona of the intentions of the original collection box. The performance is a parody of charities still generating income through emotive images. The soundtrack plays on the theme of pity that is prevalent in the economics of some charities to this day. Katharine Armstrong 15Untitled2013Acrylic on canvas120cm x 120cmLizz Brady The Last Stand’ depicts the fusing of mobility aids with bodies created from frail material. Although the messy spills of papier-mâché on the once shiny legs represent a sense of despair, the wheels convey a slight hope of eventual escape. Sophie Brown Textile Braille 2013 Stitch and wool 95cm x 104cm This work explores the way we experience the world through each of our senses, using the coded language of Braille to communicate values through our sense of touch. The audience is encouraged to physically engage with the work by touching it. Through this interaction the work adapts and transforms, creating a continuing conversation between the viewer and the artwork. Charles Burns Florence Seated on the Chaise Longue 2011 Pencil on cut paper 59cm x 46cm This piece explores the feeling of invisibility experienced by people with autism. Using the traditional medium of the silhouette (cutting portraits with scissors) but in reverse – the figure is cut out entirely to leave an empty space or hole. Despite this empty space, articulated by a sensitive scissor-cut line, clear clues are given about the character of the person who has been removed. Vivi-Mari Carpelan Your Indifference is Breaking My Heart 2012 Collage, artist’s photograph, pages from a book with 19th Century moral poetry 78cm x 58cm This work suggests that the accepted moral codes of society are still ‘Victorian’. It is about the fundamental right to assess my own abilities and the ways in which I feel I can contribute to society on my own terms. I want to evoke questions about the validity of assessing people’s abilities from an emotionally indifferent point of view – is my value solely dependent on my economic productivity. Ellie Collins Haptic Object Haptic Object 1 2011 Sand Cast Aluminium 2cm x 4.5cm x 6.5cm The sensory (haptic) objects in this series are designed to engage with the audience’s curiosity, encouraging them to explore their tactile, visual, kinaesthetic and auditory qualities. They are developed through collaboration and research with people with complex learning disabilities and autism, and explore the potential scope of non-verbal interaction and sensorial interpretation. Maria Constantinou Bandaged 2013 C-Type Print 119.5cm x 68.5cm ‘Bandaged’ is about mental illness and discrimination. The tying of the bandage represents the restrictions of mental illness and the feeling of being unable to get rid of the anguish, pain and isolation that cannot be seen on the outside. The wrapping of one’s self signifies mental illness into a physical form. Alice Dass Climate Change 2013 Pastel on inkjet printed collage 51cm x 62cm ‘Climate Change’ demonstrates the changing political and public climate of perceptions on disability. During the 2013 Paralympics disabled people, especially wheelchair-users, were seen as ‘Heroes’. However, within a very short time after the closing ceremony disabled people were back to being seen as ‘Benefit Scroungers’. Beth Davis-Hofbauer Snapshot 2013 C-Type Print 42cm x 27.2cm ‘Snapshot’ shows a seemingly spontaneous moment of family life. The cling film wrapped wheelchair represents how disability becomes normalised and invisible within the familial context whilst simultaneously remaining a barrier to the parental experience. The empty, wrapped wheelchair also demonstrates how illness and disability can leave you feeling invisible and living in an overly sanitised world, removed from direct experience. Eric Fong This work is a reflection on identity and disability in the context of facial disfigurement. Looking at a face reflected on water may suggest narcissism. Although narcissism usually has a negative connotation, psychologists have argued that healthy narcissism or self-love can be a required element for the development of identity. In this context, the work questions if a certain amount of healthy narcissism is essential to regaining self-acceptance in the aftermath of disfigurement. Rachel Gadsden Power & Glory 2013 Digital print on canvas stretcher 41cm x 60cm (x3) ‘Power & Glory’ is a series of drawings inspired by Paralympic athletes. In the past, physically disabled bodies have all too often been seen as ugly and inferior. This series of drawings portrays the Paralympic athlete’s body as aesthetically striking, celebrating the beauty of the disabled body in all its glory. Ruth Hamblett Untitled 2013 Silk screen print, watercolour paints, charcoal, discoloured water, pen and ink, natural rust. 120cm x 100cm This work explores ideas and thoughts about fragmented memories of the inner self and themes of the body and the human form. The surrealist deformed body resonates with my own experience of invisible disabilities. Stephen Lee Hodgkins A War Against Disabled People 2012 SD Digital File 3 mins 24 Secs ‘A War Against Disabled People’ is an audio visual summary of ‘The Austerity War and the impoverishment of disabled people’ report by Chris Edwards and Equal Lives (formerly Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People). The report highlighted that the burden of cuts to public services is being unfairly shouldered by some of the poorest people in society. Matthew Humphreys Suspended Monologue 2013 SD Digital File 1 Min 37 Secs ‘Suspended Monologue’ transforms the language of deaf people into a choreographed piece, in which sign language becomes a dance of hands in a silent and muted space. Margherita Isola Fix All 2013 ‘Fix All’ glue, fabric, embroidery 21cm x 61cm x 7cm ‘Fix All’ is an everyday object used to repair and mount things which resembles and symbolises objects of violence and war; a common and universal disability which destroys instead of fixes. Fabienne Jacquet Bunnyman 2013 Mixed-media on paper 60cm x 50cm ‘Bunnyman’ was inspired by an interaction with a friend who has bi-polar disorder. This piece evokes the difficulties experienced by a person whose social skills are often skewed and their frustrations involved in trying to relate and communicate. This is about the reality of living with a condition you often cannot control, and the effect it can have on those around you. Kasia Kaldowski Walk 2013 Digital photo print on aluminium 75cm x 100cm ‘Walk’ is a photo-montage of the New Scotland Yard revolving sign, combined with a green traffic light. The work is based on a mantra to ‘stand up on one’s own two feet.’ I created it to provide myself with a visual source of strength and, in doing so, believe it could also be applicable to many other individuals who need a little encouragement. Babis Karalis It is absurd to chase the light with your shadow, II 2012 White cane, light bulb 130cm x 3cm x 3cm This work is part of a series of works which consists of a white cane, which has an electric fluorescent bulb fitted. The stick is the extension of the blind man within the space. The installation is the extension of light in the dark Ann Kelson Be Careful what you Wish For 2013 Bone, wire, thread, resin, wood 2cm x 6.5cm x 4.5cm Sixteen years ago, as a result of a fall, my husband became Paraplegic and I became a carer. Although my husband is the one in the wheelchair, due to the daily compromises made to accommodate a disability I sometimes feel as disabled as him. My husband’s spine, thanks to amazing surgery, has been stabilised but will never be fixed or whole again. With these emotive bones I am attempting to convey how I feel about the fallible, imperfect repairs. Pragya Kumar Inside Out 2009 Mixed media on canvas 60cm x 50cm This tactile artwork represents society’s inclination to take things at face value, and how I believe inner value and skills are often irrelevant due to people only judging on their immediate impression. James Lake Entitlement – series number 1 2013 Cardboard 91cm x 52cm x 18cm The ‘Entitlement’ series is the consideration of how people are being redefined; especially those with the label of ‘Disability’. The work seeks to address the re‑assessment of people into small groups of economic production units. People are having their soul, personality and identity replaced by their usefulness to economy. Beth Lau A=Z (Work in progress) 2013 Aluminium and oak 176cm x 14.5cm x 3cm, 3cm x 14.5cm x 252cm ‘A=Z’ is an alphabetical design, embossed in Braille on 27 thin aluminium sheets. Viewers are invited to touch the work with care, thus leaving fingerprints and marks on the aluminium sheets while feeling the Braille. Dene Leigh Face Blind 2012 Oil on linen 123cm x 87cm Through the use of trompe l’oeil, an image has been carefully constructed to make it difficult for the viewer to see the details of a face. The work references the neurological condition Prosopagnosia (an inability to recognise faces). This effect draws on my own grandfather’s inability to recognise and read faces after suffering a stroke. Ilsun Maeng The Parting 2013 Charcoal on paper 84.1cm x 59.4cm This work was created to show that disability is not only about loss, it is about a creation. Aga Maria Masternak Aries 5 2012 Watercolours on paper 120cm x 50cm ‘Aries 5’ is from a series of rectangularworks painted to a specified size, influenced by Romanesque sculptures in which bodies are carved onto a limited amount of space thus altering their proportion. This piece represents how circumstances in life and the body itself can limit an individual. Marion Michell Soldier’s child 2012 – 2013 Crocheted from wool/polyester yarn 45cm x 26cm My work hovers on the threshold between art and craft, image and object, familiar and extra-ordinary shapes. I crochet pieces that skirt the border of reality – it takes a second glance for the shapes to become unsettling. What kind of bodies could inhabit these outfits? Does the body demand these shapes or the other way around? Graham Miller Calum 2011 C-Type print on metal sandwiched composite 150cm x 100cm This photograph was taken in the shadow of a national rugby stadium as Calum and his friends, all who have Downs Syndrome, participate in a professional rugby coaching session. It is hoped that the dramatic composition, combined with sense of movement and the clear delight on their faces, encourages viewers to re-assess disability. Cecilia Montague Can Clean, Can’t Run 2013 Stitched wool on paper 15cm x 25cm ‘Can Clean, Can’t Run’ is a work referencing what it can be like for disabled people. Annie Morgan My Left Hand. Stigmata / Hand of Glory 2012 Ink Drawing 25cm x 30cm A few years ago, I took an overdose and then jumped under a train. I lost 2 fingers on my left hand. Since then I have been unable to stop painting. These drawings are an attempt to turn what could be seen as a mutilation into a symbol of beauty, portraying value, meaning and grace. Andrew Omading A Book? 2013 Mixed media – reclaimed textiles, thread, ink 200cm x 130cm create large-scale autobiographical pieces reflecting my life and experiences growing up in Uganda, leaving my homeland and moving to London. ‘A Book?’ tells a colourful and varied story of a family outing. Thomas Owen Susan 2012 A polyptych consisting of 16 individual portraits 23cm x 18cm ‘Susan’ consists of sixteen A5 portraits created during a series of visits to Camden Arts Centre in London. They depict some of the people I met during my visits, reflecting on particular elements of their appearance or personality that caught my eye. Jo Paul Latent 2012 Fabric, latex, metal fasteners, silk hanger 60cm x 60cm x 10cm As disabled people, we encounter discriminatory external attitudes that can touch our inner psyches and unchecked these can hinder our sense of self. ‘Latent’, influenced by my experience of aerial performance work, illustrates the delicate moments we wrestle with, often unconsciously, whether to allow these experiences to atrophy our growth or persist towards our potential. Evaldas Pauza Figurant (A Dog Trainer is Ready for a Dog Attack) 2011 Bronze 52cm x 30cm x 23cm The perfect body is often depicted in classical sculpture. ‘Figurant (A Dog Trainer is Ready for a Dog Attack)’ is an interpretation of such works, using the body of a physically impaired man. Bekki Perriman Picking Holes 2013 Destroyed copy of DSM-IV-TR 25cm x 17.5cm x 5cm The DSM is the diagnostic manual that psychiatrists use to make a mental health diagnosis. In ‘Picking Holes’, I have destroyed a copy of the DSM manual by drilling holes right through the book, creating a metaphorical statement about the holes in diagnosis. The work asks the viewer to see through the holes in labelling people with a ‘disorder’. Simon Raven Mental Frame 2013 Painted wooden frame samples 200cm x 10cm x 2cm The word ‘Mental’ is sculpted from a collection of ornate picture frame samples, placed together to suggest a ‘heavy metal’ band font. The work chimes with a contemporary use of the word ‘mental’, as a catch-phrase to denote something ‘extraordinary’, or ‘difficult to describe’ (often in a positive light: ‘that show was mental!’ etc), which resonates with shifting attitudes towards mental health. Yvette Rawson Heart 2013 Inks and Collage 40cm x 30cm ‘Heart’ explores the belief that memories can have a gene that is present in internal organs. Through this work I am showing my interest in the representation of feelings, sensitivities, attitudes and prejudices of others towards difference. Sally Redway NUMB 1 and NUMB 2 2013 Plaster and resin mix 3D print NUMB 1: 17.5 cm x 8 cm x 8 cm; NUMB 2: 17.5 cm x 12 cm x 12 cm The ‘NUMB’ series represents the idea that emotional trauma, as well as causing what has been known as ‘mental illness’, motivates creative work – a positive aspect of emotional disturbance. It explores the idea that emotional sensation is in the body and that one way of coping with emotional trauma is to numb certain emotions (i.e. numb parts of the body). Ivan Riches Exploration 2013 Acrylic on two types of Polyester Satin with pinpricks mounted on a light box. 125cm x 107cm ‘Exploration’ presents the image of a figure with their hand almost touching the boundary of the frame; a representation of me reaching out to my limits as a disabled person. The limit is the frame – a self made construct and metaphor for self-imposed boundaries Christopher Sacre Best of both Worlds 2013 Digital Print on Canvas 59.4cm x 84.1cm ‘Best of both Worlds’ represents the two separate worlds in which I live; the ‘Deaf World’ and the ‘Hearing World’. The colours are inspired by the Olympic rings and signify our multicultural society. By presenting a world in which people meet and work together across language and cultural differences, I am asking the audience to re-assess their own manner of communication and inclusivity. Tracy Simpson …popped bubbles – it’s a wrap!… 2013 C-Type print 30cm x 30cm The photograph is a self portrait of my severely disabled hand cushioned in protective bubble wrap. Is my hand piercing through the protective air pockets that have stifled its desire to experience life and achievement on an equal footing, or is it shattered as the bubbles are popped and wrap ripped away with increasing speed by a Welfare Reform hungry society? You decide! Monica Takvam ‘Description of My Face by Frances’ and ‘Description of Jonathan’s Face by Jane’ from the series ‘Blind’ 2012 Lambda C-Type photograph, Perspex with Braille, framed 54cm x 44cm (x2) Forming part of a larger on-going project on blindness and perception, this work seeks to explore eye-sight, sight-loss and portraiture. I invited participants to describe someone close to them that they have never seen. The close-up portraits are then overlaid with the transcribed description in Braille on a frosted, semitransparent surface. Will Thompson It must always pay to work 2013 Walnut woodcarving 60cm x 60cm ‘It must always pay to work’ explores the recent cuts made by the government and the devaluation of disabled labour. The appropriation of the coalition’s mantra ‘it must always pay to work’ is used to criticise on-going political events. The image of a disabled person underneath bunting creates a pseudo-celebration. The Vacuum Cleaner The City and Hackney Centre for Mental Health 2013 Altered Hackney bin 75cm x 47cm x 47cm The City and Hackney Centre for Mental Health’ playfully draws attention to those who experience mental health conditions and have been hospitalised because of them. By presenting mental health hospitals in a form that they can be derogatorily referred to, (that of a ‘loony bin’), it encourages the viewer to reconsider their perception of psychiatric hospitals and those who are admitted to them. Aminder Virdee …And The Odds & Sods 2013 Solid Maple Wood. 2.5cm x 2.5cm x 2.5cm ‘…And The Odds & Sods’ is a statement on The Work Capability Assessment scandal in 2012, in which numerous disabled people lost their lives on a ruling, by ATOS, that they were ‘fit to work’ and therefore stripped of the benefits they require for their quality of life; ‘Their lives at a throw of a dice.’ Jenni-Juulia Wallinheimo-Heimonen Welcome Anomaly, part 2 2010 – 2013 Pearl and glitter embroidery on hard material, assembly of mannequin, porcelain and glass. 120cm x 50cm x 35cm It is a common misconception that all people wish for healthy children. Usually non-disabled parents are very concerned about foetal health. From a disabled parent’s point-of-view, the recurrence of one’s own characteristics in the offspring is not a tragedy – it may even feel familiar and safe. After all, the biological purpose of reproduction is to transfer and copy the genome of two individuals to the next generations and to bring forth offspring that resembles their ancestors. Andy Wild This is how they see me, how do you see you? 2013 MRI Scan and mirror 44cm x 70cm x 2.5cm ‘This is how they see me, how do you see you?’ places the viewer in a position where they first experience a medicalised portrait of a person. The viewer then experiences a view of themselves. Naomi Woddis Enquiry (after Rokeby) 2013 Black and White A3 framed photograph 50cm x 40cm Inspired by ‘The Rokeby Venus’ by Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, I seek to examine depictions of the female body, with reference to my own experience of living with chronic invisible illness where I feel both unseen as well as under scrutiny.