msdm a nomadic house-studio-gallery for photographic art and curatorial research, an expanded practice of the artist's book, photobook publishing and peer-to-peer collaboration created by contemporary artist paula roush

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electric kabbalah

Electric House Border Agency Office Kabbalah
Laser toner (two passes, grayscale and duotone) on Fabriano paper
86 cm x 120 cm

This set of 8 prints layer photographs of the carved urns -dedicated to ‘fire’, ‘air’, ‘earth’, ‘water’, ‘time’, ‘energy’, ‘flight’, ‘Elysium’, and ‘Hesperides’ -crowning the capitals of the internal courtyard columns, with photographic traces of immigration bureaucracy.

Electric House Border Agency Office Kabbalah documents the space currently known as Electric House, a grade II listed building in the heart of East Croydon that is today closed and waiting redevelopment into luxury apartments and store. The photographs survey the compression of two uses of the building that signal the heritage (official or not) of Croydon public services architecture. On the one hand, investigates the 1st era of the building, and the overlooked influence of alchemy and metaphysics, in the work of British architect Robert Atkinson, commissioned by the County Borough of Croydon to create the Electricity showrooms, between 1939 -1942. On the other hand, it exposes the second life of the building as the infamous UK Border Agency, which was modernised from the original showrooms into offices and interview rooms in the 1990s.

Office Kabbalah
32 pages | 20 cm x 14 cm | laser printed black & white on corona offset 120g | unbound
A collaboration with carpark magazine #13

Electric House
Electricity showrooms for County Borough of Croydon by Robert Atkinson 1939-42
Home Office and Ministry of Home Security public basement shelter  1941-1945
Remodeled for the home office UK Border Agency  1990-2013
Listed Grade II Heritage Building   1995
msdm studio 2018-2019 

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queer paper gardens-info

Offset Litho prints
29.7 cm x 21 cm and 29.7 cm x 42 cm
Munken paper 120gsm, colour
Still photographs of the film set Queer Paper Gardens (HD, 21m, colour, sound)

paula roush: queer paper gardens, photography
Queer paper gardens, photography and photobookwork

Queer paper gardens or the Wildlife of symbols, Collage-Roman.
Five softcover volumes in a customised, numbered and signed grey board slipcase,
21 cm x 29.7 cm, offset printed in munken pure paper 150 gr., edition of 100
Lisbon: EDP Foundation 2013

Flora McCallica, photographic installation
Queer Paper Gardens exhibition, Museu da Electricidade Lisbon, 2013

video installation
Queer Paper Gardens exhibition, Museu da Electricidade Lisbon, 2013

queer paper gardens

video installation
Dreaming Through exhibition, 198 Gallery London, 2013

Collage salon
Queer Paper Gardens exhibition, Museu da Electricidade Lisbon, 2013

collage mosaics installation
Dreaming Through exhibition, 198 Gallery London, 2013 and Queer Paper Gardens exhibition, Museu da Electricidade Lisbon, 2013

collaged narratives
historical archive
artistic research
Valentine Penrose
Dons des Féminines
Max Ernst
Une Semaine de Bonté
Mary Delany
Flora Delanica

Text (Vols I-IV) Les deux amies / The two girlfriends (Gifts of the Feminine), The mise-en-scéne of the unconscious (A Week of Goodness), The photoalbum in the drawing room (cardomania), the album of Madame B., The paper mosaick (Female cruising in the garden)   Text (Vol V) a journal of one’s own, a text dedicated to mary, margaret, valentine, alice, paula, maria and all the other women 
Undermining the surrounding world/ Minar o mundo circundante
Mulheres fatais e outras que tais: uma visita ao museu surrealista atraves da colagem,Ipsilon Publico, 23 Agosto 2013 [english translation>]
Colagem e colisão: uma colaboração artistica em torno de danças e contadanças dos generos recupera a colagem como modo de associação de imagens, Expresso Atual, 22 Junho 2013 [english translation>]

Queer Paper Gardens: paula roush & maria lusitano
curated by Joao Pinharanda
June 6 – September 8 2013
Museu da Electricidade, Lisbon
[Curator’s text: João Pinharanda Undermining the Surrounding World]
[ Exhibition review: Luisa Soares de Oliveira Mulheres fatais e outras que tais/ Fatal women and others as such: A visit to the surrealist museum through collage Ipsilon Publico Magazine 23 August 2013 portuguese  / english]
[ Exhibition review: Celso Martins Colagem e Colisao / Collage and collision An artistic collaboration around the dances and counterdances of gender, retrieves collage as a mode of associating images Expresso Atual Magazine,  22 June 2013 portuguese  / english ]

Queer Paper Gardens approaches the history of collage through a combination of artistic research and historic visual enquiry. Including an installation made up of a collage-salon, two double-screen video-essays and two large-scale charcoal drawings, the project explores travel and collage as interlinked cultural queer and feminist practices in its relationship to contemporary art.

The project focuses on several works of collage, created across three centuries, ranging from Flora Delanica (1772-1782), Mary Delany's botanical collage work considered a pioneering instance of collage on paper, to the photographic collages of the Victorian era and, finally, to the Modernist collage-novels that constitute the exhibition's fulcrum: Max Ernst's Une Semaine de Bonté (1934), and Valentine Penrose's Dons des Féminines (1951).

Revisiting all these works brings out a number of visual and textual narratives that explore the concept of journey: a journey through the history of collage and a delocalisation in time – something quite appropriate to the inherent features of the collage technique; This journey makes visible ways in which collage creates spaces that facilitate experiments with botanical taxonomies as metaphors for gender and sexuality and also a critique of the bourgeois domestic setting conveyed through escapist dreams and travel to exotic locations.

The relation between collage and art publishing is part of artists’ books history. Two relevant examples of small editions books are part of the exhibition’s material sources: Max Ernst’s A Week of Goodness (1934) and Valentine Penrose’s Dons des Feminines (1951). Both propose new perspectives on the relationship between found material and personal biography, collage and narrative, image and text. Departing from these and looking at early predecessors of the visual book- encountered in the Georgian hortus siccus (herbarium) and the Victorian photo album- the project explores:
– Working with found material: the author as editor with a subjective vision of an archive or collection
– A queer and feminist history of collage that looks at early precursors of collage amongst 18th century landscape female artists, female victorian photo-collage, the surrealist collage novel and contemporary collage approaches
– Visual storytelling when sequencing books: strategies that range from cinematic structure to the travel book.

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Collage photoworks
xerox photographs with construction bricks and archival cotton tying tape
printed on newsprint paper
38 cm x 29 cm

Newspaper work
The past persists in the present in the form of a dream (Participatory Architectures, Memory, Revolution)
12 pages, colour, newsprint paper
 29cm ×38 cm 

(How to) Build Your Own Living Structures
Collage photoworks
synthetic linen inkjet prints stretched as hardcover book

Participatory Architectures (Memory, Archive, Revolution)
Installation, various dimensions
Unbound exhibition | Herbert Read Gallery, University for the Creative Arts Canterbury 2017

Participatory Architectures (Memory, Archive, Revolution)
Installation, various dimensions
Paradigm Store exhibition | Howick Place London | 2015

paula roush, Participatory Architectures at the Paradigm Store exhibition, commissioned by HS Projects, 5 Howick Place, London, 25 September – 5 November 2014.
paula roush, Participatory Architectures at the Paradigm Store exhibition, commissioned by HS Projects, 5 Howick Place, London, 25 September – 5 November 2014.

Assemblage with trestles, night stand, newspaper work, 122x 40x 80 cm.
Art in a bookshell:  A survey of artists working with and inspired by books exhibition | Milton Gallery London | 2015

Chaos of memories- Surviving archives and the ruins of history according to the found photo foundation
3rd Dimension Paradigm Store at Howick Place
Operacoes SAAL,  Alvaro Siza e a Persistencia de São Victor: Falhar, Falhar Novamente, Falhar Melhor
The past persists in the present in the form of a dream (participatory architectures, archive and revolution)

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pink press

Installation view of the work “PINK PRESSOcotber 2019, msdm studio Artillery Place

Pink Press, hand-made collages with cut-outs from portuguese gossip magazines (imprensa rosa or “pink press”) on vintage paper, 35 x 28 cm each

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Monochrome prints and wearables on paper and fabric on metal structures
shot (two tones) with a paintball gun (collaboration with GBH)

Paintball Field {Blue & Yellow]
bookwork printed with a Monochrome Océ Laser on Xerox Bond paper
shot with paintball gun (two tones) by GBH
118.9 x 84.1 cm each folio, installed on metal table with chipboard top

Monochrome xerox prints on paper and fabric
shot (two tones) with a paintball gun (collaboration with GBH)
with props, installed on metal, foam and and wood structures 
Installation views of the exhibition PAINTBALL FIELD (3,06 billion cycles per second)
Commissioned by Barreiro Photography Month at AMAC
Red Gallery Auditório Municipal Augusto Cabrita 1 Nov  2018 – 10 Feb 2019

Monochrome Laser prints on pleated paper
Installation views of exhibition Grange Studios 2016

24 pages, b&w digital print, newsprint paper, 35 x 50 cm 

available in 2 sizes 20 x 28.5 cm (A4 page size) / 14x 20 cm (A5 page size)
laser printed black & white on canon ivory paper 80gsm
28 pages, hand-bound, 3-hole pamphlet stitch
edition of 100, released 2018, msdm publications

Paintball Field was made during a residency in the ‘schist’ mountain villages of Portugal. The area has become depopulated and is now being developed as a destination for tourists. The title of the work refers to a local recreation area where visiting families come with their children to play war games using guns firing balls of paint. The photographs conjure up a hunting scene in which a female figure wearing a cork mask – resembling those that were used by the original villagers during carnival – is being pursued. 
More than a simple ironic take on violence and war, the work draws on ethnographic connotations, evoking a dramatic encounter between the rural traditions of the past and present-day cultural practices.
(3.06 billion cycles per second is the clock speed of the computer used to create the photoworks, expressed in gigahertz: 3.06 GHz. The computer is only one of the mediating elements in this practice, connected to capturing, editing, printing and publishing devices. An underlying trauma is the feeling of loss: emotional, social and technological. Loss of loved ones, lived spaces and computing power)

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A STORY table edition
21 single section books 148 x 210 mm each, duotone toner prints on 80gsm paper
installed on wood trestle table 60 x 74 x 200 cm

BUS-SPOTTING leporello edition
leporello with 31 folds, closed: 29x21 cm; total length unfolded: 1,271 cm
installed in in wood & metal support structure 28x x 49 x 180 cm

About the project

BUS-SPOTTING + A STORY marks the launch of Found Photo Foundation’s Orphan Series. Each work in the series explores a particular approach to publishing the printed material in the Found Photo Foundation collection. Orphan #1 BUS-SPOTTING + A STORY is the result of the collaboration with Mireille Ribière, author, photographer and scholar.

BUS-SPOTTING + A STORY is a 4-part photo-essay. Parts 1 and 2 (Bus Ride) comprise a sequence of 32 photographs in the form of twin books, split in images of double and single-decker buses. Part 3 (A Story) uses  text and image with reference to the genre of photo-romance. Part 4 (Transport Enthusiasts) elucidates the raison d’être of the overall work, as well as the context in which the photographs were taken, through correspondence with one of the original photographers.108 pages
4 separate books (B&W, duotone and colour). More on the photobook here

Selected for the Photo-text award at Les Rencontres de la photographie Arles 2016
Included in the Kaleid Editions exhibition at the Khio Oslo National Academy of the Arts Library

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The past persists in the present in the form of a dream

paula roush: Participatory Architectures, exhibition views, Paradigm Store, 5 Howick Place, London
The past persists in the present in the form of a dream (participatory architectures, archive, revolution), exhibition view, Paradigm Store, 5 Howick Place, London

Paradigm Store
Curated by HS Projects
With:  Ulla von Brandenburg, Cullinan & Richards, Kendell Geers, David Shrigley, Yutaka Sone, Maria Nepomuceno, Tobias Rehberger,paula roush, Claire Barclay, Elizabeth Neel, Simon Bedwell,  Nike Savvas,  Theo Stamatoyiannis,  Anne Harild,  Beatriz Milhazes
5 Howick Place, London
[press release] [artist's statement]  [review: 3rd Dimension Magazine]

Historical allegories
The latest materialisation of the found photo foundation appeared in the installation The past persists in the present in the form of a dream (participatory architectures, archive, revolution) that was exhibited in London in 2014 by HS Projects as part of Paradigm Store, a curatorial project reflecting on the haunting gap between 20th century modernist utopias and historical matrixes that have ripped apart modernist myths of progress. The past… in the form of a dream occupied that gap between the 1970s promises of radical participatory democracy and the contemporary reality of neo-liberal democracy in southern europe, featuring the Apeadeiro housing estate, one of the urban villages developed during the portuguese SAAL architecture programme, and now facing demolition. I was a child in 1974 when the 25th of April coup d’etat put an end to five decades of fascist dictatorship. Within just a few months, the country underwent a fertile incubation period out of which mushroomed a series of experiments in participatory democracy with SAAL symbolising the architecture of the revolution.

Architect Jose Veloso built a SAAL project with a fishing community living in precarious conditions in a small shanty town in Meia Praia, by the seaside of Lagos city. With his team’s support the villagers formed an association and applied for funding and ownership of the land. Forty one houses were built following a ‘modular typology of evolutionary housing.’ The basic unit was the one bedroom flat, and each unit contained five additional options of interior organisation allowing the family to develop the space up to a five bedroom flat, according to their household needs. The architects made the proposals, elaborated the technical aspects of the construction and all decisions were taken in collective meetings, where almost everyone participated: “It was a very cohesive, lucid and coherent group in their decisions. They didn’t want each family to be simply building their own house. Instead, everyone worked in all the houses collectively, and they would all be built at the same time.” (1)

The SAAL programme was eventually dissolved in 1976 by a government invested in joining the prevailing neoliberal capitalist model, in a process of normalisation for the portuguese society where hegemonic models of western-style consensual democracy replaced the participatory experiments put in place during the revolution. The Apeadeiro village was never finished, the streets never paved and the houses are currently threatened with demolition to make space for a new golf course. This happens concurrently with an identified crisis of memory in portuguese history by “getting rid of those formulations that were seen as direct expressions of the vigorous popular movements of the revolutionary period and their achievements,” as Santos and Nunes write (2) and that explains the institutionalisation of a ‘selective’ historical amnesia.

Aesthetic of ruins
It is this complex crisis of memory that I attempted to work in the form of another experimental archive, an installation that mixed found photographs with my own photography. In my first field trip to the village, in 2010, I photographed the forty one houses like Ed Ruscha would have photographed every building on the Sunset Strip (3), or the twenty six gasoline stations on Route 66. (4)
I created a visually efficient typology, and tactics of ‘typologisation’ are frequent in many other spatial photobooks, as pointed by Ian Walker (5), but it didn’t engage the psycho-historical resonances of the site. I carried on with research at the National Library and Archives in Lisbon where I searched for traces of my case study and found the cotton tape used to bundle-up documents. I eventually cut the houses out of their backgrounds, wrapped them around construction bricks, and re-photographed the series. The fragmentation of the image and the archival cotton tape inserted spatio-temporal gaps in the photographs that result in the creation of a historical allegory. Further, the fragmentation and doubling of photographic material in the installation created, in turn, an archive of participatory architecture and an archive of revolution, that is also an archive of ruins and forgetting.

The difference between typological and allegorical archival installation might be seen, as explained by Craig Owens (6), in such engagement with the psychological and mythical resonances of the site. This along with other strategies as the creation of images through reproduction of other images, an attraction to the imperfect, the impermanent, the ruin that stands for process of decay and abandonment, an obsessive gathering, piling up of fragments, involving the spatial, leads to hybridisation and photomontage and a temporal projection of structure as sequence.
Could The past… in the form of a dream installation communicate the time of the construction, the time of the photograph and the time of the archive? It appears to function both as a spatial and a time montage that shifts the viewer’s perception between utopia, ruins, document and monument. The danger with ethnographic approaches is, according to James Cifford (7), the distancing of the represented communities in the ‘salvage paradigm’ that freezes them into a ‘present-becoming-past.’ This is something I have been very wary of, threading my way between documentary and experimental auto-ethnography. However, the allegorical structure of double representation, in which the ethnographing of the culture is recognised and made visible through photography’s reflexivity, complemented by the inclusion of other voices, transforms such ethnographic practices. Catherine Russell also sees this happening in the use of allegory to appropriate utopian desires, as in Walter Benjamin’s radical theory of memory. In her reading of Benjamin’s work, his study of the Paris arcades suggests that the past persists in the present in the form of a dream, often commodified as a wish image; this conception of the past is captured in the shifting temporalities of the reproduced and archived photography and became the title The past persists in the present in the form of a dream (participatory architectures, archive, revolution), for both a newspaper (8) and installation.

In the installation, one of the sculptural clusters looks like a disordered construction site, a visual memory from my first visit to the village, where I saw the poetic debris of everyday life, let out and about in the streets… A wooden frame placed over a shabby linoleum strip evokes both the front of a house and a large light-box, with fluorescent light illuminating a quasi-transparent instance of the brick-house. Moving to the side, there is a defaced nightstand, placed over trestles, as if waiting repair. Hanging from its open door is a double spread from the photo newspaper, with a different brick-house. Other assemblages show construction materials and photo reproductions leaning against it, a homage to the DIY skills of the villagers, that glean iconic trash of late capitalism to repair the deteriorating housing estate.
This creolisation, the hybridised appropriation of the globalised culture in a localised vocabulary of forms creates odd juxtapositions, for example, of brick chimneys with macdonalds’s logos. Is this a TAZ, a temporary autonomous zone(9)? A pirates’ encampment that resists state control? Like a rhizome, the TAZ is a node reconfiguring itself in order to enact hit and run resistances. Otherwise how to rethink today SAAL’s ideas on social emancipation?

Surviving archives
It is crucial to note here that there is no official archive of the housing estate: a main gap in the residents’ archives is the absence of the official documents that would grant them ownership of the land and houses. In this absence, their position is extremely vulnerable and the creation of such archive appears as a matter of urgency. The inclusion of three large studio trestle tables to display the records of the SAAL architecture along vernacular and personal archives is an act of reparative justice as well as a direct result of the centrality of the fpfoundation in my studio practice. The collection of found material has a very a mobile configuration “in transit and in translation” moving like Marianne Hirsch and Diana Taylor suggest happens with temporary archival forms, away from “understandings of archives as stable repositories.” (10)
Crucially, like the artists’ studios analysed by Jenny Sjöholm (11) my studio can be seen as an experimental archive in itself, with all types of collected objects being taken out and incorporated into installations set-ups, silkscreen prints, photobookzines and other practices that translate the contents of the storage boxes into new patterns that further loose its connection to its original site of production. Thus, not surprisingly, it is frequently impossible to identify the provenance of the photographs on display in any of my installations.

The inclusion of found state photo albums from the fascistic government, alongside Jose Veloso’s architectural archive and with the villagers’ personal archives in the tables query the weight of the archive to legitimise and or destabilise power positions. In the reproductions of the villagers’ photos they appear in their homes, surrounded by their collections of images and artefacts, as collectors and archivists in their own right, aware that in spite of this ordering, they lack the documents that prove their citizenship. Their staging for the camera of their personal archives reveals politically and aesthetically astute use of images, where evidence of citizen’s life is a plea for human rights. These archives of the private sphere show how politicised is the figure of the dispossessed. The image of the villagers as activists can only be complete with the memories of the films and songs that evidence their life in the public sphere, since life in the village has been wrapped up with the codes of ethno-documentary representation and the politics of image since its inception in the 1970s.

As part of the installation, I included a video archive that deals with the village in two different periods. The film Continuar a Viver -Living On (1976) was directed by Antonio Cunha Telles when the filmmaker joined the construction team in 1975. Since 1968 European militant cinema had been filming the working class struggle. Living On is both an ethnographic work and a piece of militant cinema, a politicised documentary of direct cinema, with no leading actors, rather the working class takes stage as the main character. Here, the protagonist is the fishing community performing for the camera as citizens exerting their right to the city, building their own houses collectively and assuming the control over their means of production by establishing a fishing cooperative.

The other video archive moment is a contemporary Youtube playlist of thirty cover versions of the song Indios da Meia Praia (1976). When the protest singer Zeca Afonso (1929 – 1987) wrote the soundtrack for the film he called it Indios da Meia Praia (Indigenous of the Meia Beach) as the Lagos city population called the villagers, a derogatory term that implied both foreigner and subaltern positions. The song appropriates the term to claim an anti bourgeois attitude, and it has been so popular throughout the years, that it has slowly become an anthem for the revolution. So whilst in fact many people have never visited the village, the so called Indios became a legend in its own right and the song regularly reappears as a new cover version in political rallies, TV shows and song contests.

In the site of an empty office building in the borough of Victoria, central London, the viewer’s experience of walking along the archival installation was framed by the background view out of the 6th floor window frames: outside were the red bricks tower of the neo-Byzantine style catholic Westminster cathedral erected in 1903, the dark grey cement cluster of brutalist architecture office buildings built in the mid-1970s, contrasting with the new stainless steel office buildings, a symbol of the present digital economies, with office workers visible at their computer desks. The allegorical archive could be experienced in a total environment of time-space compression at the time of globalisation.(12)

Extract from:
paula roush: Chaos of memories- Surviving archives and the ruins of history according to the found photo foundation [access full there here]
In Order and Collapse: The Lives of Archives
Editors: Gunilla Knape, Niclas Östlind, Louise Wolthers, Tyrone Martinsson,
Art & Theory Stockholm  2016

1 From an interview with the architect, video recorded in the summer of 2010.
2 Boaventura de Sousa Santos and João Arriscado Nunes, '”Introduction: Democracy, Participation and Grassroots Movements in Contemporary Portugal,” South European Society and Politics 9:2 (2004), p.11
3 Edward Ruscha, Every Building On the Sunset Strip (Los Angeles, CA: self-published, 1966)
4 Edward Ruscha, Twentysix Gasoline Stations (Alhambra, CA: The Cuningham Press,1962)
5 For a study see Ian Walker “A kind of ‘Huh?’: The siting of twentysix gasoline stations (1962)” in The Photobook: from Talbot to Ruscha and Beyond, eds. Patrizia di Bello, Colette Wilson & Shamoon Zamir (London/New York: I.B. Tauris 2012) 111 – 128.
6 As exemplified in the site-specific work of Roberth Smithson and archival accumulations of Hanne Darboven. See Craig Owens, “The Allegorical Impulse- Toward A Theory of Postmodernism, October 12 (Spring, 1980), 71.
7 James Cifford, “On Ethnographic Allegory,” cited in Catherine Russell, Experimental ethnography – The work of film in the age of video.
8 paula roush, The past persists in the present in the form of a dream (participatory architectures,archive, revolution) (London: msdm publications, 2012); first exhibited during the Brighton Photo Biennial 12 Photobook, October – November 2012 and Brighton Photo Fringe, Phoenix Brighton, November 2012
9 Hakim Bey, T. A. Z. The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism.(Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 1985).See
10 Marianne Hirsch and Diana Taylor, The Archive in Transit, In On the subject of archives. See 11 Jenny Sjöholm, “The Art Studio As Archive: Tracing The Geography of Artistic Potentiality, Progress and Production,” Cultural Geographies 21(3, 2014), 505– 514.
12 On the question of the national of allegory vs its globalisation using the configuration of timespace compression proposed by Fredric Jameson see Ismail Xavier, “Historical Allegory” in A Companion to Film Theory, eds. Toby Miller and Robert Stam (Malden: Blackwell, 1999) 333-334.

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Torn Folded Curled: exhibition at Makan

Torn, Folded, Curled is a working term used at the Arab Image Foundation to categorise heavily damaged photographs that require special care in storage and preservation. It is also the title for a project started with photographic research at the Foundation followed by a publishing residency at PlanBEY that resulted in photobookworks and an exhibition in Beyrut (Makan, 2015). Bayroumi, Super-Private and Today source from three photographic collections that are temporarily stored for preservation, whilst awaiting its full digitisation and cataloguing.  Art as Research methodologies support an archaeology of the contemporary past, and reflect the way these orphan photographs exist in a phantasmic connection with Middle East history, chance and everyday life.

Based in Beirut’s Mar Mikhael, Makan was a residential apartment before its conversion into a project space. Relying on the domestic feeling of the site, the gallery was retrofitted into a furnished apartment and the photobook works integrated within a site-specific installation. The staging of a narrative within an out-dated domestic interior invited the audience into an intimist reading of the scenes evoked in the printed pages.

This effect is visible with Super-private, six photobookworks sourced from the work of an amateur photographer known as RS. Photographing in the early 1950s in Beyrut, he left his work in film rolls that were never developed during his life time and are shown here as photobookworks for the first time. The ‘real-life’ apartment setting provides the ideal backdrop for a visual script that emerges in the staged scenes for the camera where his friends and lovers feature as characters in a photo-roman noir. More about the book here

Another bookwork in the exhibition is an investigation of press photographs and papers rescued from the offices of political newspaper Al Yom. Founded by Afif El Tibi in 1937, considered the father of Lebanese journalism, the newspaper was attacked at the outbreak of war in 1975, and the journalists given 30 minutes to leave the offices. The repository lay hidden until the editor’s death in 2005 when it was found outside his house.  Heavily damaged, the materials are photographed as they were found: torn, folded and curled. The resulting publication is titled Today (torn folded curled) and the images are accompanied by sentences from the novel ‘A L’ Ombre d’ Une Ville’ (1993) by Elie-Pierre Sabagg, creating a photo-text that is a reflection on memory, photography and the city.
More about the book here

The Bayroumi Collection has been temporarily held in storage boxes at the Arab Image Foundation waiting to be catalogued and re-housed in safe archiving environment, until it is ultimately digitised and made available for online access. It was brought in by AIF member Akram Zaatari, from the studio of Mohamad Bayroumi in Saida, Lebanon and it is still being researched. It is a collection of approximately 4600 negatives of 35mm format, packed in cardboard boxes and plastic bags. More about the book here

Rositta explores what the definition of 'photobook' is: using one single image from the RS collection it is formatted for the dinner table, a humorous twist of the coffe-table book. The photograph is rendered bitmap, a process usually leading to the photo silkscreen surface a condition that  is eschewed here in favor of high contrast laser printing, and placed under a transparent acrylic cover with pink stickers.
More about the book here

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decomposition and other large scale works

paula roush: Decomposition and Other Large Scale Works
09 – 23 December 2017
UN8 London

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areopagitica (milton’s nose)

Newspaper work
40 pages, colour, digital print, 38 cm x 29 cm with original text (12 pages booklet)
Edition of 100, numbered and signed

Areopagitica (Milton’s Nose) is a newsprint publication made of two earlier  publishing projects:  Russian Ballet Riot, a newspaper work about David Bomberg’s pamphlet Russian Ballet * and Areopagitica, a newspaper work about John Milton’s pamphlet Areopagitica. ** The resulting newsprint publication, titled Areopagitica (Milton’s Nose) blends collages from the pages of Russian Ballet Riot with collages from the pages of Areopagitica, plus additional documentation of the newspaper works with objects - clay noses created by St Paul’s school students- as a table installation at Milton’s gallery.
John Milton  (1608- 1674) was a student at St Paul’s School, and wrote Areopagitica in 1644 in defense of an unlicensed free press.
David Bomberg  (1890 – 1957) was a teacher at London South Bank University (Borough Polytechnic Institute) and published Russian Ballet (1919), inspired by Diaghilev'sBallets Russes for the company’s London performance.

* Published as part of the exhibition David Bomberg: Objects of Collection, at the Digital Gallery, London South Bank University, 10-12 December 2013
** Published as part of the exhibition Art in a Book Shell: A survey of artists working with and inspired by books, at the Milton Gallery, St Paul’s School, London, 26 February – 17 March 2015

table assemblage with newsprint publications Russian Ballet and Areopagitica with clay noses created by students at St. Paul’s School
80cm x 150 cm x 72 cm overall installation
Art in a Book Shell: A survey of artists working with and inspired by books exhibition
Milton Gallery, St Paul’s School, London 2015

table assemblage with newsprint publication Areopagitica (Milton's Nose) with clay noses
80cm x 150 cm x 72 cm overall installation.
Unbound exhibition, Herbert Read Gallery, University of the Ceative Arts Canterbury 2017

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Photographic silkscreen prints on Fabriano paper, mono and duotones
wall installation, 24 prints, with 5 film acetates, 242 cm x 340 cm 
shelf installation, 16 busts with folios, 22cm x 458 cm x 20 cm

Tender Cups (10 found bras with 10 poems about absent breasts)
54 pages, 16,75 x 24cm (folded)
Book block: Colour laser print, monotone process on157gsm matt paper, unbound
Loose folios: 10 photographs and 10 visual poems in 20 folds + assorted inserts
Cover: silkscreen print wrap on 200 gsm fabriano paper
Edition of 1

Tender Cups contains two collections: "Found Bras" and "Absent Breasts". Whilst the photographs of bras are presented as mono and duotone prints, the textual elements are visually composed as breasts-sentences that supplement the absence of bodies from the printed pages.

TENDER CUPS, installation, msdm studio, Whitechapel 2017

-visual: 10 bras found on the street and individually photographed in the genre of studio portrait. Processed in photoshop and printed in different sizes and substrates using xerographic and silkscreen printing
-textual: 10 poems on absent breasts, with words sampled from a range of discourses from autobiography, testimony, art history, medical case studies, lingerie advertising, feminist and queer gender studies and social media.
-title: hommage to Gertrude Stein, 1914 Tender Buttons

As a visual object that adopts the form of the book, TENDER CUPS doesn’t fit into neat book categories (as a photobook or a literary book) the same way ‘breasts’ destabilise binary definitions of genre/sexuality, and fit/healthy bodies. Format and binding invoke the chest in a non-binary way, both symmetric and assymetric, flat and three-dimensional.

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UNBOUND exhibition

The exhibition comprises works of four artists who work within the boundaries of the Artist Book, outlining the diverse nature of the book format, from sequential narrative to mapping and code to installation and interactive pieces. The common thread of the book is also expressed in the artist’s production methods through various print methods and sequencing within their work.

Vitrine installation
Unbound exhibition views, Herbert Read Gallery, Canterbury

By the gallery entrance, a museological display case contains The Beauties of Decomposition, collaboration with Michael Hampton. Concept-specific paper is a refined substrate in the world of the artists’ book. The logic of the work is materially inscribed in the fibres of handmade paper. In the case of The Beauties of Decomposition, the paper’s meaning is derived from ‘The Book Dispersed’ project. This special edition contains a paper specimen composed of pulp from the abortive funding application for ‘The Book Dispersed’ an exhibition devised by the collective Media Instaveis/Unstable Media I am part of, blended with pulp from Michael Hampton’s magnum opus Unshelfmarked: Reconceiving the artist’s book (author’s copy), together with extra pulp from Samuel Smiles’s Self-Help (a print on demand copy purchased on eBay). The book, dedicated to the late Auto-Destructive artist and activist Gustav Metzger, is a work about dispersion in the form of a conversation between scattering and collecting/organising.

At the centre of the exhibition are four new editions of Flora McCallica. These works- two hanging installations and two books on display tables- have historical and biographical references, mixing orphan photographs dated 1958 found in the Lisbon flea market, and botanical specimens from an herbarium dated 1920s discarded by London Kew Gardens. Like pieces of evidence altered by the passage of time, the silkscreen and stone lithography prints have stains and patterns that are unique to each print.

Another work recreated for this exhibition is Participatory architectures (how to build your own living structures), a work inspired by the outdated remains of a 20th century architectural utopia, a village developed as part of national housing project code-named SAAL, the experimental programme of peoples’ right to place emerged in the short experience of participatory democracy during the Portuguese revolution. The sculpture includes two oversize book covers referring to the Self-build movement in Portugal and the USA, and the newspaper The past persists in the present in the form of a dream (participatory architectures, archive and revolution) documenting a SAAL village facing extinction.

Areopagitica (Milton’s Nose) is a table assemblage with self-published newspaper and clay noses created by students at St. Paul’s School ceramic studios. Through collage, studio portraiture and found material, the work references two earlier self-published pamphlets: John Milton’s 1644 Areopagitica and David Bomberg’s 1919 Russian Ballet.

Unbound: David Faithful,  Jo Milne, paula roush & Print City
October 20 – November 9, 2017
curated by Rob McDonald
Herbert Read Gallery, University for the Creative Arts Canterbury
[artists' statements]  [ All Inked Up programme newspaper]  [gallery website]


paula roush   :::
msdm studio :::