CALL & RESPONSE: PRESERVATION

BLYTHE TAYLOR

12 MARCH – 2 MAY, 2021
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Preservation is the sixth exhibition in Call & Response, an experimental project that activates two window galleries (The Demo Room in Aarhus, Denmark and AirSpace Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, UK) as sites for collaborative exhibition-making. Call & Response is structured as a back-and-forth exhibition series, where one exhibition is made in direct response to another. It challenges four Danish and four British artists to create exhibitions involving a degree of improvisation and reciprocity.

In the video artwork Preservation, we see artist Blythe Taylor (UK) carefully arranging a collection of homemade foods on a black tabletop. One by one she sets down four glass canning jars filled with chilli sauce, sauerkraut, and tomato and pepper chutney. She completes the tableau with a canvas sack of dried garlic and a bowl of boiled broad beans, steaming hot.

With its simple gray background and dramatic side lighting, the video resembles 17th Century Dutch still life paintings, which often showcased luxury foods as a way of celebrating international trade. But Preservation presents the near opposite: the hyper-local and individualized economy of homegrown food.






Today these foods may spark debates about sustainable food production, global trade post-Brexit, and even food-hoarding amidst the pandemic. But with this work, Taylor also considers the role of surplus food production in the historical development of classed societies and, ultimately, in the oppression of women, whose subjugation can be traced back to advancements in agriculture.




About the artist
Blythe Taylor uses the medium of film to explore her interests in Marxist theory and, more recently, ecology. Gardening has become an inseparable element of her artistic practice; sowing, planting, harvesting, storing and preserving foods which have been grown on her small allotment plot. Previous projects have explored the issue of gentrification and the position of ‘the artist’ within that process. Taylor studied filmmaking at Kingston University London and graduated in 2015. She is currently based in AirSpace Gallery’s studios in Stoke-on-Trent, UK.




Preservation is the sixth exhibition in Call & Response, an experimental project that activates two window galleries (The Demo Room in Aarhus, Denmark and AirSpace Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, UK) as sites for collaborative exhibition-making. Call & Response is structured as a back-and-forth exhibition series, where one exhibition is made in direct response to another.
In May 2021 Danish artist Lise Skou will open a solo exhibition responding to Preservation in The Demo Room. Taylor and Skou will continue their visual dialogue with a duo exhibition in the window venue at AirSpace Gallery in October 2021.

Call & Response is curated by Pamela Grombacher, in collaboration with AirSpace Gallery and Galleri Image. The project is supported by the Danish Art Foundation, the City of Aarhus (Kulturudviklingspuljen), Arts Council England, and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.