art, it’s a snap : maggi hambling & may cornet

more snaps from the Snap 2012 exhibition (Art at Aldeburgh Festival) at Snape Maltings…

in one of the disused malt buildings, an interesting ‘conflation’ of traditional painting and sound installation by the suffolk-based artist Maggi Hambling…

maggi hambling, painting installation, you are the sea, snape maltings, suffolk

you are the sea, maggi hambling 2012

this building is ‘presented’ in a state of elegant abandonment, not unlike a dystopian film set, littered at the boundary with architectural detritus but the floor is scrubbed clean. the eerie sounds of a water sluice (which Maggi Hambling encountered daily while sketching the north sea at nearby Thorpeness beach) meld into the sounds of a wailing voice or a poetical reading of sorts (uncredited) from the circular vented structure (a redundant relic from the building’s former use) – the ghosts of the sea are summarily summoned…

maggi hambling, painting installation, snape maltings, suffolk

i sat on the vent to listen through (as instructed). the accompanying ’suspended’ canvas painting (Wall of Water VIII, from a series on the North sea) became less compelling as the draw of dark, semi-derelict architectural spaces encourages the eyes to wander & explore – although, bravo to this bold departure from the context of a white cube gallery.

many of the redundant outbuildings here (especially those without windows or roofs) are artfully preserved in a state of semi-dereliction with tidy groupings of architectural & industrial detritus – rusting containers, stacks of wood, bricks and tiles, drainage pipes, scrap metal, engine parts, even the carcasses of old cars – and such arrangements became even more appealing to the senses because on this day it was raining hard (in that dystopian, the-world-is-falling-apart-and-i-think-i-like-it way). no one else was about and this environment needed no other artistic intervention other than eyes to see it (or souls to feel it)…

snape maltings, dereliction detritus, suffolk

snape maltings, buildings, weeds, nature, suffolk

and let us not forget the invasive nature of the flora which some might call ‘weeds’, that serve to remind us of the unassuming poetry in encroaching wildness. nature is reclaiming this building…

it’s an idea purposefully recrafted as a secret ‘Walled Garden’ by the artist May Cornet later on in the Snap tour. stacked piles of bricks have been sown with a medley of wild flowers and grasses, with the white hexagonal structures perhaps mystically channelling these elements of nature. alas, the white gate to this manufactured haven for wildlife was firmly locked, so one was left peering through the prison-like bars from a controlled distance, as if we can never truly be free with nature, wherever we seek it. in truth, this merging of the man-made and nature in the environment can be witnessed anywhere: in urban derelict spaces, the hinterland sprawl, waste sites, railway sidings, rural backyards…

may cornet, walled garden installation, snape maltings, suffolk

the walled garden, May Cornet 2012