The Wapping Project exhibits made, unmade a film installation by artist Julie Brook in September. Julie Brook is a maverick, wild and innovative, who has roamed, and worked in a succession of uninhabited and remote landscapes for more than twenty years. Creating sculptures within the landscape she explores, each of her works are temporal, ephemeral and unearthly, made of the fabric of the earth itself. Made, unmade is an immersive installation comprised of 16 large screens which surround the viewer. Housed in the exquisite Wapping Hydraulic Power Station’s Boiler House, it is an extraordinary filmic record of process shot by Brook as she dug and moved rocks and stones in the deserts of Libya and Namibia.
During 2008/09 Brook travelled and worked in the black volcanic desert in centralLibya and in the Jebel Acacus mountains in South West Libya. This led to further journeys in 2011/12 to the semi-desert of North West Namibia. In these remote regions Brook forged a series of sculptures from the landscape. Light and shadow are expressed in the transient works, which change according to the light and time of day. Brook has meticulously and sometime very crudely, documented the transitions as well as the back-breaking work involved in constructing her pieces. The result is a series of mesmerizing films, sometimes just dust filled screens, or the haze of heat as it burns off the desert floor. These are essentially existential works as a lone figure comes to terms with its place in the world.. The films are like messages from the front. The lack of artifice and self consciousness transforms these pieces into a renewed expression of the work itself.
made, unmade was previously exhibited (27 April to 1 June 2013) at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh, one of the oldest weaving studios in the world. As part of this exhibition a rug inspired by Brook’s work was commissioned by the studio and produced by weaver Jonathan Cleaver. The handmade gun-tufted rug, one of the largest ever to be tufted at Dovecot, will be in London for the duration of the exhibition. Visitors will sit to observe Brook’s work, like a magic carpet transporting them closer to the environment and emotion of her work.
Born in 1961, Julie Brook studied art at Marlborough College and the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford (1980-83).
From 1989 Julie Brook has been living and working in remote landscapes in Scotland; Hoy, Orkney (1989); the west coast of Jura (1990-94); on the uninhabited island of Mingulay (1996-2011), Outer Hebrides. Her studio is based in the Isle of Skye.
More recently she has had the opportunity to work in different parts of the desert in Central and South West Libya (2008-9) travelling with Tuareg guides; Syria (2010); North West Namibia (2011-12) travelling with Himba-Herero guides.
Drawing plays a fundamental role in her practice. She makes large scale sculptural work outside using different materials using photography and film as part of the process of working.
In 2009-10 Brook collaborated with the Fruitmarket Gallery on a 2 year educational project Air Iomlaid (on exchange) involving Gaelic medium children from Skye and Edinburgh.
As one of London’s most daring and visionary commissioners of contemporary art and artists, Austrailian-born Jules Wright takes a characteristically innovative approach to showcasing new talent.
The Wapping Project, which Jules launched in east London in 1993 and in its current form in 2000, offers a unique urban venue that is defined by its independence, its celebrated programme of installations and productions and its award-winning restaurant. Each of these elements is driven directly by Jules.
Jules directed her first main stage production at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, in May 1979, starring the then unknown Tom Wilkinson. Just two years later, she was appointed as a Resident Director at theRoyal Court Theatre, and soon after became Artistic Director of the Theatre Upstairs and Associate Director of the Royal Court. From 1984 to 1986, Jules was Artistic Director of the Liverpool Playhouse, alongside Associate Directors, Willy Russell and Alan Bleasedale, before returning to the Royal Court as Associate Director and then Deputy Artistic Director where she remained until 1992 when she went on to pursue a wide ranging international career as a freelance director.
Recognised as one of the leading directors of her generation, Jules’s career in the UK has included productions at the Old Vic, Royal Exchange, Royal Festival Hall, West End transfers, theatre, opera and television (BBC) and international work in Europe, (Ibsen at the Royal National Theatre of Norway) Australia (Sydney Opera House and Sydney Theatre Company), Turkey (Mozart at the State Opera of Istanbul) and South America (Macbeth in Sao Paulo).
At The Wapping Project, Jules is committed to commissioning new work from young and established artists who share qualities of innovation and experimentation, many have gone on to become major players in the UK’s cultural landscape. In October 2009, Jules launched a new, independent photographic gallery adjacent to Tate Modern, The Wapping Project Bankside.
The Wapping Project: made, unmade: Julie Brook 4 September – 6 October 2013