Ground: "Where Are We Now?"
Size: 91 x 91 x 7 cm
Materials: Linseed oil, encaustic wax, natural earth pigment & gesso on canvas & board
Evoking associating references of control and chance, alluding to a modernist aesthetic yet referencing decay: The painting is a metaphor and a literal interpretation of Ground... The grid references the longitude and latitude of the earth.
2016 Ground: “Where are we now?” (David Bowie)
The video for the song “Where are we now?” was a collaboration between David Bowie and artist Tony Oursler. It travels metaphorically and literally through time, referencing the fall of the Berlin Wall, the graffiti ridden Tacheles that housed a collection of squats and artists studios; the Bundestag cobbles in the road mark the former route of the wall. Around the corner from Potsdamer Platz was the Hanse studios where Bowie made some of his most famous recordings. The song has been interpreted as a melancholic contemplation on the gentrification of the Mitte district and the urban development of what was once a bastion of creativity and anti-capitalism.
I have been based at Manchester Artists Studio Association since I re-located from Norwich to the North West 5 years ago and have seen much change in the city from when I left in the late 80’s, especially in the last few years. When I look out of my studio window at MASA which sits on the edge of the Salford/Manchester border I see the ominous shadow of high rise apartments and office blocks, some completed and many others in construction. I contemplate the parallels between Berlin and Manchester and I’m reminded that the rise of the Northern Powerhouse, in many ways beneficial to the economy, provides a challenging threat to the collection of affordable artists studios and creative communities in Greater Manchester.
Reference: Article by Helen Pidd The Guardian (8/1/2013)
Helen Pidd is North of England editor of the Guardian, based in Manchester and went, she spent 2011 in Germany as Berlin correspondent.
Photography: Alan Ward