FRED
An Art Invasion Across Cumbria

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Russell Mills and Ian Walton

 

Head

(Installation: shed, gold leaf, lightbulb)

OS grid ref: NY 376 047
Land adjoining the Armitt Museum, Ambleside. Visible opposite Bridge House.

Shed for a head. Archetypal English retreat. Meditative space. Symbolic of a particular breed of independent, visionary, creative thinkers. Laboratory of the resourceful. Home to inventors and innovators who pursue ideals despite the state and industry’s lack of faith and / or financial backing. Symbols of hope, defiance and resilience. Humble and practical architecture in which dreams are dreamt and made real. Icons of sustainability. Marginal and maverick.

A reconstruction of the interior of a typical English allotment shed. A chaotic assemblage, grubby, spider web-infested and densely packed with various rusting gardening tools, broken plant pots, dusty lemonade bottles holding petrol and meths, rolls of hairy string, an abandoned, orphaned work glove, boxes of nails and screws and twisted pieces of wire. Paraphernalia and incongruous objects banished from the house jostle for space amongst piles of old magazines, a chair with a broken leg awaiting repair and a dubious calendar. A much loved old valve radio, veiled in dust, adapted to ceaselessly search for a stable signal, gently hums and hisses through a collage of ever-changing frequencies. An instantly recognisable nostalgic melody transmutes into a shipping forecast or sheep mart, only to dissolve into an Eastern European monologue, which in its turn blurs into Norwegian pop music, etc., ad infinitum.

With kind permission of the Armitt Museum and Gallery, St Martin's College

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