The current exhibition in our Ground Floor Gallery is Brigitte Jurack's Fieldnotes which is on until Sun 29 Jan 2023.
Fieldnotes by artist, maker, educator and climate activist Brigitte Jurack, is her largest solo exhibition, bringing together works produced in the UK, Spain and India over the last four years. Her work expresses a reverence for the natural world, environmental sustainability, craft and labour, as well as speaking to the extraordinary current times. Works in different mediums have been produced in dialogue with people from different generations, through encounters with ‘the landscape’, and in densely populated cities.
Jurack’s focus of attention shifts between animals and ‘land’. Sculptures collectively titled Scavengers document the idiosyncratic characters of foxes, crows and monkeys are known for their intelligence, wit and ability to adapt. The subject of many fables, mythologies, and the focus of recent animal behaviour studies, these works continue the artist’s study of form through an engagement with the haptic qualities of clay.
A series of diaristic drawings of rocks with compressed fauna or marine life, and fungi, are shown together with photographs of collaborative happenings with Manchester School of Art students, on land that has been degraded through intensive monoculture and water shortage or excess. Whilst the drawings depict geological time, the photographs document moments of re-imagining, being in the land(scape). Produced in two vastly different European climates, Dovestones in Greater Manchester and one of the most arid, La Joya in southern Spain, they function as an homage to water, an increasingly scarce natural resource.
The exhibited artworks, the skep beehive making workshops, and the invitation to draw on twigs and branches are an invitation to become part of a kinship with others, as well as creatures here before us, and those still to come. Thus, Fieldnotes remains open ended; yet-to-be-woven straw beehives, the video proposition to re-wild Dovestones, and her new book The female surveyor (first draft), chart the impact of the dry summer of 2022 and the war in Ukraine on food shortages and children’s wellbeing.
Fieldnotes is an invitation to look slowly. At a time when we have been required to make significant and once unimaginable changes to our lives, the exhibition highlights the importance of everyday creativity, fresh air, access to greenery in nurturing our wellbeing. Jurack’s exhibition urges us to consider our individual relationship to the natural environment and climate change in shaping a new future.
About the Artist
Brigitte Jurack studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. She works in the UK where she co-founded the artists’ collective Foreign Investment. She is a Reader and leads Sculpture/Time-based Arts at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University, where she is also the International Lead for the Department of Art and Performance. Jurack is based in the Liverpool City Region, having transformed a Victorian Bakery into the Alternator Studio and Project Space.
Jurack’s work has been exhibited widely in exhibitions at FILET (London); IMMA (Dublin); Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and Bluecoat (Liverpool). She has held fellowships at the British School at Athens, ICI Redcar, EKWC Hertogenbosch, the Sanskriti Foundation, New Delhi. She published Irfaran, Travel and Work (2007), a book, which focussed on the artist as globetrotting worker in the twenty-first century. Her most recent publication and exhibition What’s left behind (2021) concentrates on adaptability, wit, intelligence and play in the light of growing environmental pressures.
Fieldnotes is curated by Clarissa Corfe. Produced by HOME in association with Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University.
Image: Brigitte Jurack, from Spring (Los Gázquez),2018