2019 2018 2017 THE POTTING SHED

OPEN 18 MAY - 20 october 2019

WBG Website slideshow images 2019.jpg

William Benington Gallery is pleased to announce the third year of Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer, a contemporary sculpture garden set in a Victorian arboretum in the Buckinghamshire village of Fulmer.

Saturday 6 July  
Spotlight Award & The Potting Shed previews 2.30pm - 4.30pm
An evening in the gardens 4.30pm - 7.30pm

Please join us this Saturday 6th July for a special mid-summer opening celebrating the third year of Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer. Between 2.30pm - 4.30pm we be launching two exciting new installations in the gardens; The Royal Society of Sculptors Spotlight Award, this year won by Amale Freiha Khlat and Collective Matter present: Modern Painters, New Decorators in The Potting Shed.
This will be followed, from 4.30pm - 7.30pm, by an evening in the gardens with refreshments served and guests encouraged to explore this years exhibition throughout the Victorian woodland gardens in the low evening light. The exhibition's curator George Marsh will be on hand to discuss and answer any questions about the artwork and artists.

The Royal Society of Sculptors Spotlight Award 2019:
Amale Freiha Khlat

We are delighted to announce the winner of the Spotlight Award 2019 is Amale Freiha Khlat. Amale is a Lebanese/British artist concerned with the everyday banality of the spectacle of war that surrounds us on our screens. Bringing in disparate elements from internet and videogame culture, Amale's work encompasses sculpture, video, sound and prints. Her research has been looking into translating and communicating her memory of war through various forms and objects. It encompasses multiple aspects with the imperative to always use destruction and creation which work from the void.

Of her Spotlight installation at Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer she has said:
The Proscenium, which is a stage of reverie, poetic imagination and ordinary dramas, will temporarily occupy a woodland clearing at Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer.

It's location “en plein air” is inspired by the theatrical culture that flourished first in Ancient Greece in 700 BC. Greeks built open-air theatres with bowl-shaped semi-circular arenas and prosceniums, where the public could watch the performances of Greek comedy or tragedy. This allowed all theatre activity to be performed in a single place and time, and everyone came into a common space and shared a common experience. The Romans continued and expanded on this concept, added a monumental wall backstage and generally made the structures more grandiose.

My work explores the space or “ imaginary wall” at the front of the stage, The Proscenium, through which the audience sees the action unfold. This Fourth Wall is this boundary between the spectator and the setting. Theatre allowed for the flourishing of a common culture and sharing of experiences, and bringing out the common aspects of people. These experiences lessened feelings of isolation and made people feel part of a community. From community comes democracy. By the same token, when democracy is not possible, as under a dictatorship, artists are not free to express themselves, and the culture of common experiences disappears or goes underground.

Theatre throughout the following centuries created this egalitarian relationship between the performers and the audience. Spectators could chat to their neighbours during or after the performance, and could even boo or otherwise express their displeasure or boredom - this before we saw the introduction of behavioural norms during the Victorian era. The barrier between the parties was more permeable, the wall facing the audience was invisible.

After spending time listening to (and then recording) the sounds of the woodland at Fulmer, I decided to work with pianist Kamilla Arku to create a play which is being acted by a piano, birdsongs, nature and voices singing and reciting “Proud Songsters” by Thomas Hardy as well as whispering wishes. The discourse about freedom is caught in the wonder of this summer phenomenon.

This installation therefore contemplates the theatre of the world through different scenes and windows, playing with materials and processes, and with the senses and perceptions of spectators, reminding them that looking is a relational act based on selection and exclusion. Going through the tactile and intellectual processes during the making of the work is where the balance of tension is represented. “ My hands discover the beauty in my own time and space”