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INVISIBLE NARRATIVES at The Newlyn Art Gallery

“A rural ecologist, an urban drifter and a diasporic optimist examine the invisible layers underneath, the lost spaces on the edge and the forgotten places in between.” Lubaina Himid.

NEW CONVERSATIONS ABOUT TIME AND PLACE at The Newlyn Art Gallery 23 March – 15 June 2019

Curated by Lubaina Himid, winner of the 2017 Turner Prize, Invisible Narratives explores the work of three artists, Magda Stawarska-Beavan, Rebecca Chesney and Lubaina Himid, who consider the poetic investigation of place, space and time, through painting, sound installation and place-based research.

All three artists use their work to uncover the hidden narratives of place; is it possible to remember an apparently unknown history?

Each artist has made new work for the show.

Rebecca Chesney will be showing three pieces, including a line drawing measuring 8.75m long, showing 102 years of mean sea level recorded at Newlyn’s Tidal Observatory, the point from which altitude is measured across the UK. Over the length of the drawing you can see the increase in sea level over the years. “I was lucky to get permission to go inside the Newlyn Tidal Observatory situated on the end of the South Pier, when I visited earlier this year.  Although it’s a small and unassuming building, I was struck by the importance of its role, providing over 100 years of records on sea level data,” says Chesney.

Also included in the exhibition is Forewarning, a three-screen video and sound installation filmed in 2018 on South Walney Island off the coast of Cumbria.

As well as curating the exhibition, Lubaina Himid will present a suite of paintings in the drawers of a dressing table - sometimes they will be hidden but more often completely exposed as a reminder that lives lived below the surface, and out of view, are as important as those we find in history books. Himid paints on a variety of surfaces, including ceramic and wood, often producing objects with performative potential intended to be encountered in a space.


“Buildings contain the traces and voices of those who have built them and occupied them.  It’s not always easy to see what remains but you can be pretty sure that the door handles, locks, thresholds and window fixings have been used before. During the past few years I have been painting people on the insides of drawers taken from abandoned pieces of household furniture. Hidden in plain sight, audiences will also be able to see a series of tiny paintings echoing the long and unresolved relationship I have with the sea and its impossibly enormous story,” says Himid.

Magda Stawarska-Beavan is showing several pieces, including Translating the City, a sound piece featuring the interwoven voices of two women, Ekin Sanac (from Istanbul) and Lubaina Himid, who were asked to listen to a sound composition created from recordings captured by Stawarska-Beavan in Istanbul. This recorded sound evoked particular memories and emotions for the two artists which they translated into text and then again into spoken word. The rhythms of their speech patterns, their accents and the colour of their voices, created a new soundscape for the listener to paint a new set of images. She will also be showing four silkscreen prints from the series To Follow along with two new paintings on paper in a conversation between Casablanca and Berlin about loss and neglect.

“I have worked on several projects, including the listening to and recording of unknown cities from a very personal viewpoint using binaural microphones. Often, with those past projects, I let the city lead me through its structure, but it was always my innate curiosity which consciously and sometimes subconsciously controlled my movements,” says Stawarska-Beavan.

Invisible Narratives is showing at Newlyn Art Gallery 23 March – 15 June 2019.