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LANDSCAPES OF EXPLORATION Landscapes of Exploration foregrounds the role of contemporary art in examining Antarctica. What perspectives can art offer on this terra incognita, a forbidding environment where the temperature rarely rises above freezing, yet one which for scientists offers a wealth of geological and glacial data including indicators of climate change? Ten visual artists, one musician and three writers undertook residencies in the Antarctic between 2001 and 2009, under the auspices of the British Antarctic Survey, supported by Arts Council England. This exhibition will bring together for the first time art resulting from their various investigations, offering an opportunity to reflect upon the very different subject matter, media and responses evident in the range of work produced. The exhibition will be made available to tour to other venues, UK and elsewhere, April 2012 – Autumn 2013.

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ARTISTS & WRITERS Anne Brodie (Artist) 2006-7 Layla Curtis (Artist) 2005-6 Chris Dobrowolski (Sculptor) 2008-9 Chris Drury (Landscape artist) 2006-7 Simon Faithfull (Artist) 2004-5 Neville Gabie (Visual artist/Film maker) 2008-9 Keith Grant (Painter) 2001-2 Philip Hughes (Painter) 2001-2 John Kelly (Forensic Artist) 2002-3 Craig Vear (Composer) 2003-4 David Wheeler (Artist/Artistic Director IOU) 2007-8 Melanie Challenger (Poet) 2007-8 Jon McGregor (Writer) 2004-5 Jean McNeil (Writer) 2005-6

It seems very appropriate that trying to make usable glass here is an uphill challenge. The beer/wine bottles melted down make really shitty difficult to work glass, when the glass is finally at a temp to use, the cold wind is very efficient at cooling everything down again... very quickly. But everything about human presence here is a challenge, we’re basically just not supposed to be here...why should it be anything other than hard? Being an artist here has often seemed beside the point. The Antarctic is the point, it should always win, it does everything you could possibly imagine from subtle mark makings to crashing over fills you up inside your head and soul but simultaneously strips you bare leaving you standing reeling trying to work it all out. – Blog from Antarctica, February 2nd 2007 For more information, please visit:



40 glass jars, 13 each for 3 shelves, with final jar, her own, as ‘signature’. External video projection (onto outside of building) or 4 wall square format. Video documentation of building igloo at Sky Blu.

Polar Wandering is an extensive psycho-geographical exploration from which she created a continuous line drawing charting her journey. Longitudinal and latitudinal data recorded on a personal GPS tracking system was logged on the project website to create a 27,856 mile long, interactive web based drawing embedded with photographs and drawings. A suite of 10 limited edition screen prints, focusing on specific points and incidents along the line were also produced.

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3 x screenprints, each 103 cm2. Soup - video installation on monitor, silent (18 minutes 25 seconds). Website with mouse and video projection.

Dobrowolski took art references with him - in the form of gilt picture frames that he packed into boxes and transported for construction on arrival into a traditional ‘Nanson’ design sledge. The installation consists of Dobrowolski’s sledge and boxes developed as art pieces in which his observations of scenes from life in the Antarctic play out. Each box contains an assembly of objects referencing expeditions past and present in ways that are at once humourous, engaging and thought-provoking.

For more information, please visit: dobrowolski/index.php



Sledge, 12 foot long. + 5 boxes (one live, with 240v power needed). 4 x wall boxes, c. 1ft 3 x 2ft x 9” deep, (sockets for power leads - 240v).

When I first applied to come to Antarctica with BAS, my instinct was that I needed to experience one of the most extreme places on Earth, so it could act as a kind of bench mark of the macrocosm with which I could compare and link my findings in the microcosm: flow patterns and processes in the body. Having been here, I feel that instinct was right. I needed this experience to enter my very bones; to act as a baseline for further research. The Antarctic ice cap is the place where global climate is born. It also stores within its emptiness the history of the last 900,000 years of the planet. The echo-recordings of the ice cap which scientists out in the field are making by flying straight lines low over the ice cap with echo-sounding equipment attached to the undersides of the wings, give long computer drawings which are similar to echocardiogram readings of our hearts‌.glaciologists are trying to find ways of reading these echorecorded drawings to give us an insight into the history of the planet. These drawings are like a heartbeat of the Earth and ultimately that is where my interest as an artist lies. – Blog, January 28th 2007 For more information, please visit:



4/6 inkjet prints, maximum size: 106 x 2346 cm (precise selection tbc).

In an empty gallery in the CCA in Glasgow Perspex panels began to appear - their transparent surface etched with drawings that had been transmitted the previous day by email from the other end of the earth. As the exhibition progressed, the drawings accumulated until on the last day of the show the room was filled 56 simple sketches documenting an epic journey. The images were also shown accumulatively at other galleries including ICA, London and Southampton City Art Gallery.

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3 (from 56) plastic discs, c 40 x 60cm ‘44’ (44 min, DVD - video projection with sound, view via cabin porthole (44 days x 1 min). ‘Seals’ (video projection, DVD).

Neville Gabie travelled further south than any artist during his residency with the British Antarctic Survey last year – to fly kites. During his four month stay in Halley Research Centre, he filmed the spectacular landscape from a kite’s viewpoint. These extraordinary films not only give a view different from that experienced on the ground, but they also playfully subverted expectations of what one can do in Antarctica.

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NEVILLE GABIE Visual Artist/ Film Maker


Kite-flying - 1 x video projection, 8’ x 10’ (projector and screen). ‘Taking a block of ice for a walk’ Twin screens/DVD players. Iceberg drawings DVD/Small monitor

Literally it is as if the sea is of mercury. I can only think of silver leaf as a way of representing it. On the horizon, which is blurred, there has rested a broad band of cloud, which extends upwards creating an enormous frieze of luminous mist. The clouds above this band of mist are high ribbons of stratus breaking into horizontal bands interspaced with a light-suffused pale grey/blue. Below the incessant turmoil is of a counter-change between the huge swell and the smaller waves born within it. The detailing of the sweeping rhythms- the high riding crests and the glassy mirror-like surfaces all speeding along with the ship and divided and inscribed by the trajectories of the gliding aerodynamic gulls. We are under a transparent bell of light upon which the wind’s breath condenses causing effects of pale translucency. – Journal, 20th November 2001 For more information, please visit:



4/5 paintings tbc. sizes up to 110 x 180 cm.

The remarkable thing about the Antarctic landscape is that is was immaculately virgin, not only to Hughes but to artists in general. There was no conventional view to be overcome, no previous artistic vision to be ignored. Hughes could, and did, paint just what he liked, just how he was impelled to do it‌. the ice of the Antarctic bares itsel to his dissecting brush, in a web of wayward lines and cracks, solid but ever on the brink of dissolution: once a huge iceberg dramatically turned over when he was right in the middle of recording it. — John Russell Taylor, 2003

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4/5 paintings. sizes up to 80 x 140 cm. Sketchbooks.

Almost by chance, A glance to port And there The effortless glide On wings too slender And later that day, In low flight, the occasional motion of wings. Close to the ocean skin The great bird passes Over the slate grey water. – John Kelly, Southern Ocean. 22 January 2003 For more information, please visit: /

JOHN KELLY Forensic Artist


6 x cabinets from a series of 12 (each 21” x 6” x 3” deep) + 1 (30 x 21 x 3”) wall hung 4’6” run (for block of 6), plus 2’6” for single box 3 /5 from Visual diaries series, 33” x 23” framed. Wall hung - circa 12’ run Journal extracts, ausio player + headphones.

The aim was to capture the monumental explosions of the Sheldon Glacier moving slowly into the sea. This thing produces bangs the size of 40 cannons going off at the same time. However, before we could get there we had to traverse Stork Mountain for a couple of miles, covered in snow and ice. Once on the peak, the view of the glacier, the surrounding mountains and the bay was mammoth. We set up Fluffy to record the whole vista in such light winds that it was possible to pick up icebergs crunching miles away in the bay. (Fluffy in the name of my Sennheiser mic. system, which is covered in wind baffling. She has become a bit of a polar legend and everyone down South seems to know her.) – Craig Vear, The Guardian Diaries

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Sonic installation – headphones or speakers. Abstract moving image (ice) - optional.

Antarctica is an extraordinary place to explore the imagination. The extreme environment and physical conditions combined with the psychological effect of spending time in the remote desert landscape make it an inspiring and almost mythical place to work. Standing on the Antarctic icecap, there is a tangible sense of the natural forces and phenomena surrounding us. The experience has lead to a series of work, which takes this as a core theme. Performance and music-based projects continue to be devised for presentation over the next three years. The work on show is from Antarctic Travelogue and Half Moon.

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DAVID WHEELER Artist/Artistic Director IOU


From Antarctic Travelogue: ‘Arriving at Signy’ - 5 screen panoramic video. ‘Unloading supplies - Signy’ & ‘Sky-Blu - Christmas Eve’ panoramic photographs, c 2m x 1.5 m on chart paper. from ‘Half Moon’: ‘Trace’ - sculpture/video projection.

MELANIE CHALLENGER worked in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Antarctica, and spent two months on board RSS James Clark Ross. Her book, On Extinction (Oct. 2011) narrates her travels to the abandoned whaling stations of South Georgia, the melting icescape of Antarctica, and the Inuit camps of the Arctic, where she traces the links between human activities and environmental collapse. languages around the world describe the same scientific phenomena. In 2009 she won a British Council Darwin Now Award, and her first collection of poems, Galatea (Salt Publishing: 2006), received the Society of Authors’ Eric Gregory Award.

JON MCGREGOR is a novelist and writer of short stories. He spent 6 weeks on a research ship travelling between the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the Antarctic Peninsula (en route Rothera, the British research base, which he never reached). His most recent novel is Even The Dogs (Bloomsbury). In 2010 he was writer-in-residence for First Story (literacy and creativity charity).

JEAN MCNEIL Jean McNeil is originally from Nova Scotia, Canada. She is the author of nine books, including The Ice Lovers (2009), which is set in the Antarctic. She spent three half months in the Antarctic with BAS in 20056; she has since undertaken residencies in the Falkland Islands, Svalbard and off the coast of Greenland, on a NERC-funded ship-based scientific expedition. In 2010 she was a Mellon Foundation scholar at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She teaches on the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and at Birkbeck College in London. A forthcoming book, Night Orders (2011) collects diary entries, poems and images from the Arctic and Antarctic.

THE WRITERS These writers are available by negotiation to perform readings from published work drawing on their Antarctic experience.

LIZ WELLS (curator) writes and lectures on photographic practices. Her book, Land Matters: Landscape Photography, Culture and Identity, published by I. B. Tauris (2011), offers a contemporary critique of photography relating to land and environment. Exhibitions include Facing East, Contemporary Landscape Photography from Baltic Areas (UK tour 2004 - 2007). Recent essays on photographers exploring people and place are included in Michelle Sank, The Submerged (2011), EXIT 38 (Spring 2010); Trine Søndergaard and Nicolai Howalt, How to Hunt (2010); Marte Aas, (2010); Jorma Puranen, Icy Prospects. (2009). She is editor of The Photography Reader, Routledge, 2003 and of Photography: A Critical Introduction, Routledge, 2009, 4th ed.; also co-editor of photographies, Routledge journals. Professor in Photographic Culture, Faculty of Arts, Plymouth University, UK; Convenor, research group for Land/Water and the Visual Arts.

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PENINSULA ARTS serves as the arts and culture public programming organisation for Plymouth University, operating from within the Faculty of Arts. The year-round programme includes exhibitions, music, film, public lectures, and theatre and dance/performance. One of its principal aims is to provide access to a programme of wideranging high quality arts and cultural experiences, informed by the expertise, research and scholarship of the University and its partners, to the communities of Plymouth and the South West and visitors to the region. The Peninsula Arts Gallery is a large contemporary arts venue, which aims to showcase a wide range of art and design of distinct national and international interest. The gallery is designed to a high specification with a total floor space of 296.3 sq metres. The gallery consists of 55 metres of linear wall space up to 3 metres high, to which additional partition walls or blacked out video projection areas can be added. The gallery also has access to a team of specialist technicians whose expertise ranges from handling digital and AV equipment to fragile and valuable exhibits.

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THE CAMBRIDGE-BASED BRITISH ANTARCTIC SURVEY (BAS) is a world leader in research into global environmental issues. With an annual budget of around ÂŁ45 million, five Antarctic Research Stations, two Royal Research Ships and five aircraft, BAS undertakes an interdisciplinary research programme and plays an active and influential role in Antarctic affairs. BAS has joint research projects with over 40 UK universities and has more than 120 national and international collaborations. It is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council. Between 2001-2009, with funding from Arts Council England, BAS ran an award winning programme of Antarctic residencies for British artists and writers


LOE Brouchure  

Handmade brouchure for the Landscapes of Exploration exhibition