A couple of weeks ago I paid a visit to Camden Arts Centre to see the current exhibition showing there.
Back to the fields by Ruth Ewan www.camdenartscentre.org
In one room, floodlit with sunshine the sound of water and the scent of growth I was confronted with an abundance of large trees, some in bloom others simply looking lush and green. Along side these huge structures was an awe inspiring collection of objects, raw materials and tools.
This exhibition is based around the French Republican calendar. The calendar was introduced in 1793 and was abolished in 1806.
The structure of time relating to the calendar consisted of twelve months, each month was 30 days long, there were three weeks in each month and one week was 10 days. I've included a link to a conversation with Ruth Ewan talking about the exhibition in more detail. It's well worth a look! I had very little idea about the French Republican calendar and it's contexulised By Ruth so eloquently.
The collection of objects, plants, seeds, trees, materials such as Slate, limestone, marble, fruit, etc
represent each day within the Republican calendar. Each month is labelled with a colour and within that month is a collection of 30 artifacts.
Snow: 6 = Lava 26th December 7 = Topsoil 27th December 8 = Manure 28th December
Snow: 12 = Clay 1st January 13 = Slate 2nd January 15 = Rabbit 4th January 16 = Flint 5th January
I'm going to be back in Camden Arts on Thursday and look forward to see how or whether the space has changed much. Some of the plants were in flower and the trees were flourishing within the room but I do expect it to look slightly different on my return.
My Second Visit…
19th March 2015
Today I met with my friend Susan to take a look at Back to the Fields.
It wasn't such a bright day compared to my previous visit but I could definitely see a transformation in the room. The trees had grown and the space seemed to have filled out as the branches had spread and opened out.
The quality of light within the gallery had also changed. It's noticeable to see from my images today. There is a distinct element of set focus captured.
Fog: 5 = Goose 26th October
Having had the opportunity to revisit the space also allowed me to focus on certain objects I may have overlooked initially. There is so much to see but I was able to absorb the smaller details, for example how certain objects had been shown. Seeds that had been simply laid directly on to the floor and others displayed in small glass jars.
I look forward to seeing what Ruth Ewan comes up with next as I found this piece of work a true inspiration.
28th March 2015
My third and final visit before the exhibition closes on Monday.
We arrived to find that there was a petting zoo to represent the days of the month named after animals.
Goat = 5th March
Pig = 25th November
Goose = 26th October
Horse = 26th September
Duck = 24th May
Which was pulling quite a crowd
As we headed upstairs to the gallery once again I saw a difference in the plants growth and most importantly found out that my birthday was the day of the onion!
However, on a more serious note… with each and every visit I've noticed something new or a different thought triggered regarding the calendar and the structure of time.
I think what interested me most of all was the emphasis and importance placed upon horticulture, art, and music along side the rational nature of time's structure. When you enter the gallery space what immediately faces you is something of beauty and wonder. This exhibition is multi layered and it leaves you questioning, thinking and imagining time existing at a completely different pace.
Rain: 15 = Cow 3rd Feb 17 = Lichen 5th Feb
Germinal: 13 =Morel 2nd April 15 = Bee 4th April 16 = Round Lettuce 5th April