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Arctic visions, underwater life, and blue shirts: visual arts during Brighton Festival 2013

  • Date: 30 April 2013
  • Area: South East
Emma Critchley, Figures of Speech series 2, 2012

Emma Critchley, Figures of Speech series 2, 2012. Credit: Photo courtesy of Emma Critchley

This May, Brighton will see an exciting programme of visual arts site-specific works, exhibitions, and installations across the city as part of this year's Brighton Festival and visual arts festival HOUSE.

From 4 to 26 May, the public will be able to experience artworks at a variety of traditional arts venues as well as more unusual public spaces, such as a shipping container and a glass pavilion on Brighton seafront and the gardens at St Peter's Church.

Arts Council England National portfolio organisations Lighthouse and Fabrica have co-commissioned new works with Brighton Festival for this year's festival. The Festival has also co-commissioned five new site-specific works with HOUSE 2013, a visual arts festival supported through Arts Council England's Grants for the arts programme.

Grants for the arts is our open access scheme that awards National Lottery money to thousands of arts projects nationally each year.

Visual arts lovers should flock to Regency Townhouse to see Mariele Neudecker's Heterotopias and Other Domestic Landscapes, Fabrica for Kaarina Kaikkonen's The Blue Route, and Lighthouse for Mariele Neudecker's The Air Itself Is One Vast Library.

Cate Canniffe, Interim South East Regional Director, Arts Council England says: 'It's exciting to see such a strong visual arts programme spread out across Brighton's landmark public spaces as part of this year's internationally renowned Brighton Festival - thanks to our National portfolio funded and Grants for the arts funded organisations. Festivals are a strong driver for the country's economic growth - creating jobs, encouraging tourism and sharing great art and culture that brings us all together.'


Weapons of war form the inspiration for two new site-specific commissions from Brighton digital agency Lighthouse.

A life-sized drawing of a military drone aircraft inhabits Brighton seafront in James Bridle's Under the Shadow of the Drone. The controversial unmanned aerial vehicle is commonly used by the US and UK military to make remote attacks.

Mariele Neudecker's photography exhibition at Lighthouse The Air Itself Is One Vast Library brings audiences face to face with the military's weapons of mass destruction.

Following the openings of their shows, both Mariele Neudecker & James Bridle will be giving talks at Lighthouse. On 8 May, Neudecker will talk about challenging conventional ways of seeing & the dichotomy between nature & culture. On 9 May, Bridle will examine of the idea of drones, and the physical, virtual, and mental spaces they occupy.

Fabrica Gallery

A kaleidoscopic blue work made up of men's shirts - The Blue Route - stretching across Fabrica Gallery from Finnish environmental artist Kaarina Kaikkonen is one of two new site specific commissions for the Festival.

A second work Time Passing By is currently being installed at Brighton's famous Clocktower at the corner of North Street and Queens Road. 

Kaarina is known for using recycled materials and working in public places; she recently created a major new work for Collezione Maramotti in Italy and in 2013 will create an installation for The Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Chile.

HOUSE 2013

A satellite exhibition of site-specific works takes to the streets as part of HOUSE 2013. The programme includes new works from Ben Fitton & Dylan Shipton, Emma Critchley, Andrew Kotting with Anonymous Bosch.

Expect the unexpected with a collapsed airship in St Peters Church Garden, a swimmer coming up for air in a shipping container, a mountainscape in a glass pavilion and a cave recreated in a deserted retail unit. 

At the heart of HOUSE 2013 is Mariele Neudecker's immersive multimedia installation Heterotopias and Other Domestic Landscapes, which occupies the Regency Town House's three floors. In the basement, video works bring to life underwater mountain ranges and subterranean ocean life. On the upper floors of the house, there is an iceberg sculpture, complemented with films, polaroids and pinhole photographs, photographs of Arctic sunlight and lightboxes showing sunrise and sunsets in the Azores and Australia.

Phoenix Brighton

During May, Phoenix Art Gallery is showing an exhibition devoted to the vast range of artists books. From silkscreen, collaged and hand-painted books to poetry, text and 'zines - by over 30 artists and groups. Press & Release is supported by Arts Council England Grants for the arts. The gallery will be open 5 to 9pm during Museums at Night (16 to 18 May).

For more information about the exhibitions and works, see the below:

Kaarina Kaikkonen's The Blue Route & Time Passing By, various locations, now until 27 May

Lighthouse at Brighton Festival, various locations, 4 to 26 May

HOUSE 2013, various locations, Brighton, 4 to 26 May

Press & Release, Phoenix Brighton, 10-14 Waterloo Place, Brighton BN2 9NB, now until 9 June