Tuesday, 25 November 2014


MEDICI GALLERY until Dec 9th

Frances Bloomfield, Espinoi  95x28.5x10cms, (c) artist
 There are no fixed meanings in Dreamboxes – they are intended to provide a glimpse of a narrative with which the viewer can play. Nor do I have a way of conveying the beauty of these three-dimensional artworks - but perhaps that's a distraction the viewer can do without initially, because It leads one to wonder  how human hands can make something which is so delicate and so robust.
Espinoi ('spinney' in French) is one of an ongoing series, formerly called Trees.  Frances  Bloomfield writes  " They explore the idea of Waldeinsamkeit, the German word for the feeling of being alone in the woods. However nothing is really as it appears - the 'trees' are actually images taken from seaweed and they aren't planted in the ground - they float - and this is a big part of what I explore in all my work". ( I happened to come to the Medici Gallery to see Frances' work straight from the Royal Academy, which is just round the corner, so Alselm Keifer's extraordinary mammoth rootless trees were fresh in my mind).
The artist makes all aspects of the work, the outside of the box being papered with French geometry or maths books.The 'trees' are cut from mount board with French maths books pasted onto them. The little figure is an architectural model. Maths suggests an order and a rational explanation of the world which contradicts the work in the box. The artist draws on some of R.D.Laing's ideas - and the work of social anthropologists - about what is 'normal' and how 'normality' is itself a social construct rather than anything fixed.
Frances Bloomfield, Mi-Dialogue 4,  34x53x9cms., (c) artist

Mi-Dialogue Domestique 4 is part of another series in which 'the artist explores order and chaos in ‘domestique’ settings. "The media is full of ideas and information on the ‘perfect home’…but the home is also the setting for emotional and often disturbing scenarios. The contrast between what is desired or presented and what may really be going on can at times be quite extreme". The image is printed on French geometry books written in script. The artist again: "I liked the idea of maths being written in script - it already suggests a contradiction".

The series was initially going to be called ‘Falling’, a sensation some experience in dreams or as a gripping fear in daily life, which prevents them from going up the Shard or the London Eye - or even profiting from cheap theatre tickets in the balcony. The artist comments "it is thought that amongst other things it is an indicator of a return of early fears and traumas, which have been pushed away in adult life".
That solitary empty chair is a magnet to our eyes. It's the chair we walk towards for a job interview or a hospital diagnosis; it may remind us of an absence, or an offer of hospitality and comfort to the weary. "It stands as a sort of proxy for a person. It simultaneously creates presence and absence".


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