28 April – 27 May 2017
In 1897, Alexander Graham Bell was elected president of the National Geographic Society and wanted to produce a magazine that appealed to a wide range of people, not just the scientific elite – and he insisted on ‘pictures, and plenty of them – the world and all that is in it, is our theme, and if we can’t find anything to interest ordinary people in that subject, we better shut up shop and become a strict, technical, scientific journal for the high class geographers and geological experts.‘ Hirst’s installation ‘the world and all that is in it’ echoes and applauds this ambition by looking at the relationships between language, image and happenstance.
Nicky Hirst writes:
When I was a child, two things especially used to bother me a lot. I had heard that a giant squid could blanket Piccadilly Circus and if we pulled out our intestines they would reach the length of a tennis court. At Art College I was told to make it bigger. Later I learned that there are more atoms in a cup of water than there are cups of water in all the oceans of the world.
David Lillington (writer and curator) writes:
These objects pack power, but writing about it is well nigh impossible. What is really noticeable is that Hirst understands metaphors. She can summon and control them. This is a rare gift. What she seems to do is this: she suggests a number of possible metaphors, but fulfils none of them. At the same time she ensures that they are coherent one with another. This sets up a kind of magnetic field of associations in which (the viewer feels) the imagination is held, as if suspended, or floating. And in this way the work’s subject becomes not just the connections, but the very idea of connection itself. This in turn becomes metaphorical: it is about language, and human relationships.
Penny Sexton (curator at Compton Verney) writes:
Known for her subtle and elegant work employing a variety of media, Hirst’s art is perhaps best described as an exploration of serendipity that can occur in unintended and unexpected places. Her sources may be particular objects or certain words whose meaning she may subtly shift by manipulation or juxtaposition. Hirst’s output is multifarious, including drawing, sculpture, etched glass, collage, printed text and photography. While avoiding simple categorisation, Hirst’s art is always characterised by a measured stance and sensitivity towards materials.
Nicky Hirst is also currently taking part in the Drawing Biennial 2017, the Drawing Room’s fundraising auction, with ‘Biography’ (29.6×20.9cm, Letraset, Times Roman Bold 24 point 6mm, on paper, 2017) on now and concluding with an online auction beginning on 12th April at 10am until Wednesday 26th April at 9pm (see link below).
Forthcoming exhibitions this year include: a solo project ‘Invisible Mending’ at AMP in Peckham, London, from 13th May until 3rd June; ‘The Word’ curated by Michael Petry, Helsinki Contemporary, Helsinki from 9 June until 2 July; ‘Rana Begum curates the Arts Council Collection’ at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park from 15 July until 29 October and ‘Something and Nothing’ curated by Nicky Hirst with Matt Calderwood, Simon Callery, Angela de la Cruz, Vincent Hawkins, Nicky Hirst, Sara Mackillop at Thames–Side Studios Gallery, London from 7 October until 5 November 2017.