MOSTYN, Llandudno, Wales
January 18–April 6, 2014
Return Journey, installation view. Centre: Simon Fujiwara, Mirror Stage, 2009 – ongoing.
“It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at,” rapper Rakim once claimed. Curator Adam Carr disagrees. Treating “geography as biography” for Return Journey, he assembles more than 20 artists to testify to the potency of the birthplace. Perched on the north coast of Wales in the faded seaside resort of Llandudno, the exhibition title refers to a Dylan Thomas radio play of the same name, Carr thus acknowledging the show’s gambit: Thomas made a career waxing lyrical on a homeland with which he had at best an ambivalent relationship. (He once wrote, “Land of my fathers. And my fathers can keep it.”) Filled with images of abandoned bikes, rusty sheds, empty shopping malls, and missed connections, Return Journey has a similar tone of self-distancing and resignation.
Mostyn Llandudno, 22 September to 6 January 2012
‘Awareness raising’, that pursuit of campaigners, activists and educators, is an endless task. In the 1970s, Yugoslavian-born artist Radovan Kraguly began addressing what he saw as humankind’s alienation from the natural environment. Using the figure of the cow as an overarching symbol for the animals with which we regularly interact (via their milk, skin and so on) but largely ignore, he embarked on a decades-long series of drawings, paintings and sculptures that sought to redress that balance. Figurative images of cattle resting beside obtrusive, angular constructions gave way to later, more abstract black-and-white canvases, some of them bearing the recognisable patched markings of Holstein dairy cows. At some point in the 1990s, Kraguly began work on a ‘National Dairy Museum’, a cultural institution dedicated to ‘art in the rural space’; it would have a library, offices, cafeteria and lecture rooms, with entrances both for humans and animals – cows would spend a day there and visitors could learn how to milk by hand.