Walk On, MAC Arts Centre, Sat 8th Feb-Sun 30th Mar 2014

Published  by J. Pitts, no. 14 Great St. Andrew Street Seven Dials, July 1, 1813). Copperplate map, with added color, 34 × 45 cm, on sheet 41 × 51 cm. Unknown Author

“The Pilgrims Progress, or, Christians Journey from the City of Destruction in This Evil World to the Celestial City in the World That Is to Come”. Published by J. Pitts, no. 14 Great St. Andrew Street Seven Dials, July 1, 1813. Copperplate map, with added color, 34 × 45 cm, on sheet 41 × 51 cm. Unknown Author.

  “The geography of our consciousness of reality is one of complicated coastlines, lakes and rugged mountains.”

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet, Serpents Tail: London 1991, pp.147

In perfect peripatetic timing with the exhibition at the Mead Gallery, Uncommon Ground, Warwick Arts Centre,  Sat 18 Jan – Sat 8 Mar 2014 Walk On at the MAC celebrates 40 years of Art and Walking. The exhibition seeks to examine the myriad ways that artists “since the 1960’s have undertaken a seemingly universal act – taking a walk – as their means to create new types of art. The exhibition proposes that, across all four of the last decades, artists have worked as all kinds of explorers, whether making their marks on rural wildernesses or acting as urban expeditionaries. The exhibition brings together nearly 40 artists who all make work by undertaking a journey on foot. In doing so, they all stake out new artistic territories. Featured Artists include Francis Alÿs, Richard Long, Hamish Fulton, Julian Opie, Bruce Nauman, Marina Abramovic, Sophie Calle, Janet Cardiff, Melanie Manchot, Tim Robinson, Carey Young, Tim Brennan, Mike Collier, Brian Thompson, Alec Finlay, Chris Drury, Dan Holdsworth and Richard Wentworth to name a few.” Continue reading

Not all those who wander are lost

Walter Benjamin, Pariser Passagen

In the Field Guide To Getting Lost Rebecca Solnit quotes a question from the pre-socratic philosopher Meno. “How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?” p.4 […] and goes on to write “To lose yourself: a voluptuous surrender, lost in your arms, lost to the world, utterly immersed in what is present so that its surroundings fade away. In Benjamin’s terms, to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery. And one does not get lost but loses oneself, with the implication that it is a conscious choice, a chosen surrendering, a psychic state achievable through geography.” p.6

The current exhibition at the British Library 25th September celebrates this psychic state through the relationship of writing in Britain. Exhibits include extracts from diaries, notebooks, letters, artworks and sound recordings from a wealth of poets and writers including William Blake, Ted Hughes, George Eliot, James Joyce, J G Ballard, John Lennon, Harold Pinter and more. Writing speaks of walking and wandering [wondering], of finding and losing, of coming and going, of boundaries and horizons, pilgrimages and wild places. Writing and landscape mark each other reciprocally producing dream landscapes, barren landscapes, hostile landscapes, loving landscapes and sacred spaces where the human being who is most of the time caught up in human doing, can take time out and dwell [in the Heideggerian sense of the term] in being. To experience its chthonic heartbeat and return itself to its natural rhythms through walking and what is writing if not a walk on the wild side?

The title of this quote is reproduced from the exhibition and is from J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring.

Quotes reproduced from Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Canongate Books 2011. Image reproduced from http://www.hatjecantz.de/controller.php?cmd=detail&titzif=00002894&lang=en