Friday, 13 August 2010

Nexus, Phoenix Exeter. 2010.

Whilst in Exeter last week I took time out and visited the exhibition "Nexus" at the Phoenix Arts Centre on Gandy Street. I was intrigued, as I like the word "Nexus". It is like when I see a Ford Fiesta, or a Ford Escort I think who's idea was it to name a car after a porn mag? Is there a Rapier? I think so..... So, Nexus. A contact magazine from the 1970's. A5 (some would say pocket size - I would say bloody big pockets) size contact magazine full of blurred black & white photographs of women sat with their legs wide open displaying their wares but their eyes blacked out by a small strip of masking tape. Men dangling their six inch penises (is that peni)? and still with that same strip of tape carefully placed at the top of their noses. A bizarre world was had back then. The last chance to gaze upon the body of Rosemary West. Strange literature accompanied the pictures too. A code. A Polari of words that I could only fantasize about and grow harder..... As a young teenager I was familiar with Nexus. It was hedgerow pornography - a Sunday afternoon pastime for those who grew up in the wilds of Lincolnshire, and slightly off topic to what I saw in Exeter last week.

The main draw of the exhibition was the piece "The Difference Between Big And Small And Near And Faraway" by Felicity Shillingford + The Durds. It was their response to a book that was sent them by the curators of the O2 Gallery in Oxford called "The Principles Of Quantum Mechanics" on which they had to create an art "space".
I have known Dan of The Durds for a few years now. He is a wordsmith, a poet as well as a producer of quirky pop tunes. The Durds used to be called The Duds before an American band of the same name wrote and threatened a legal suit.
So...the exhibition. The Shillingford/Durds piece was interesting. It was what I was there to see / experience, and I enjoyed. A small television set encased in a wooden bird box showed this looped film of a lady trying to inflate an inflatable bed whilst (on headphones) a new Durds song was singing the praises of cheese from Emmental to Jarlsberg. A complicated piece. There was a chair to sit in and a copy of Virginia Woolf's "A Room Of One's Own" nailed to the wall. For 5 or 6 minutes the experience was very pleasurable.
This is only the second piece of "installation art" I have seen by Felicity Shillingford but her love for the minutiae accompanied by the soundtrack of the mind of Dan Cray at this moment in time is spot on. I am not an "art" expert, but I enjoyed this exhibition.
Google The Durds or Felicity and find out more.

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