John Newling is an internationally known artist recognised as a pioneer of public art with a social purpose, and during his PH1 residency he has been investigating what people in York really want.
This exhibition contains some of Newling's interim findings and works, including sculptures he used to gather texts from the public, film works of performances, prints and copies of the 206 texts gathered. You can watch a short documentary about the first stage of the residency here.
The exhibition contains two limited edition prints of John Newling holding his 'Adam and Eve' sculpture in front of York Minster. Each giclee print is in an edition of 5 and available to purchase for £310 (framed).
Two performances were held in York as culminations of John Newling's residency:
- the first took place in St Helen's Square, York, on the evening of Monday July 28, and featured six readers performing the full 206 texts gathered by John Newling in York. The readers were: Josh Burnell, Cllr Sonja Crisp, Steve Hughes, Angel Scott, Stephen Pittam and Julia Davis.
- the second took place at the New School House Gallery gardens on the evening of Tuesday 29 July and featured John Newling reading an edited version of these texts.
PH1: Artists in Place launched in July 2014 with John Newling’s ‘21st Century Eden’, the project’s first York city centre residency. Using a market stall in St Helen’s Square as a temporary studio, during the first two weeks of July John Newling researched the question:
‘What would a 21st Century Eden look like?’
A series of six small ‘relics’ combining organic plant matter and gilded Elastoplasts were placed on the stall to depict Adam and Eve in various states before the Fall. These relics became starting points for conversations with the general public about their utopian ideals.
Having gathered hundreds of detailed responses, the artist began to analyse these texts, treating the conversations ‘like a material, like clay, to form new works’. The organic nature of this process is ongoing, and there are distinctive markers being taken forward to the final performances and beyond.
The relics have now been placed in the white space of the gallery to generate new interpretations of their meaning and new inferences of spaciality.
John Newling's '21st Century Eden' residency is the first of four long-term artists’ residencies in the centre of York between July and December 2014 that together form PH1: Artists in Place, a major Arts Council-funded project that is curated by Paula Jackson and Robert Teed of the New School House Gallery. PH1: Artists in Place aims to develop and investigate a residency model that is collaborative, interdisciplinary and that will deliver measurable social impact. Off-site residencies located in temporary studio spaces will become hubs of creative activity and experimentation, offering opportunities for collaborative exchanges between artists, educators, researchers and community participants.
PH1: Artists in Place is supported by Arts Council England through Grants for the Arts, City of York Council, York St John University, University of York and York Museums Trust.