Re-birth opened on a typical rainy English evening. Only that it was April when spring was meant to be upon us. The weather did not put a damper on our exhaustive guest list. Many stoic souls braved the weather on various modes of transportation; folding bike included, to lend us their support on our first ever London art exhibition together. The pressure mounted even more for us as viewers, expectant to be visually enticed and engaged, especially after commuting in the dismal weather at the start of the weekend.
Re-birth definition runs the gamut in Wikipedia alone. But one that closest fit our show comes from Buddhism. It defines re-birth as “belief that consciousness arising in the new person is neither identical to, nor different from, the old consciousness, but forms part of a causal continuum”. In our official press release, Duncan Wooldridge wrote “the idea of re-birth is both generative and destructive” but not to be viewed on an “entirely blank slate”. He foresaw fresh opportunities and directions to be seized by the artists. In turn, needing the abandonment of norms on the viewers’ part. As it is argued that regularity needs to be left behind in order to achieve creativity.
Virginie Litzler and Sawako Ando
In this instance, Re-birth sought or even forced the group to crawl out of their comfort zones (be it familiar media, methodologies and presentations) to explore and project from their experiences working with and without each other. In the process of putting this exhibition together, the artists are constantly discussing, meeting and questioning their future creations. The effort is always there; ever the conscious nagging thought. To seize the opportunity, the given space, direction and create something that will somehow communicate a new self. I recalled the discussions always had open endings; leaving more questions than answers. Well answers were delivered on the fateful rainy preview night 17th April 2009.
Be it singularly or collectively effective, the responses we received and gathered were encouraging; from viewers and organizers alike. It even spawned some dance groups to create a dance number in response to Re-birth. Some artists from the group are invited to conduct a workshop at the venue.
Are these new works “neither identical to, nor different from, the old consciousness”? Will these experiences in creation and showing lend to their act of being re-born i.e. contribute to their “causal continuum” as artists? Or will they return to their “original state” when inspiration and energy sources are depleted? Only another space and another opportunity will be the judge of that.
For now in my opinion, it is an experience to be seen if not this once.
Text by Siti Osman
Islington Arts Factory
2 Parkhurst Road, London, N7 0SF
Closing date – 14th May 2009
Islington Arts Factory is open:
Mon – Thu 10am – 11pm, Fri 10am – 7pm
Sat & Sun 10am – 5:30pm
Nearest Tube: Holloway Road or Caledonian Road
This exhibition is free of charge.
Please contact Siti Osman at email@example.com for further information.