Slade School of Fine Art UCL
Gower Street London WC1E 6BT
Melanie Counsell has built a considerable reputation over almost twenty years for her installations and sculptural interventions. Notable for her economy of means and material sophistication Counsell has created numerous critically celebrated installations in gallery environments and disused buildings that created new psychological environments through intense manipulation of time and space, architecture and object.
Independent Curator and Director of Works|Projects
Recent Solo Exhibitions:
Lutecia Works|Projects, Bristol 2011
Reviewed: Art Monthly No.345 April 2011
Recent Group Exhibitions:
Récits Anamorphiques, Frac des Pays de la Loire, France 2011
The Chrystal Palace (Destroyed), Works|Projects, Bristol 2011
Melanie Counsell is represented by Works|Projects, Bristol.
BODY (My Body).
SPACE (Indoors and Outdoors).
SCULPTURE (In the Room).
FILM (Time Passed).
AUDIENCE (You and me).
My fundamental understanding of the world is by the means of my body.
All is subject to the momentary, daily, weekly momentum and monotony – changes inmood, colour, optimism, circumstances, and opportunities and desires. The narrative is the day to day.
Poetry offers the most preferable comparison or alignment - I have a feeling but I cannot see what it is.
Outdoors - (out there) - alignment or alienation.
All of these conditions that ‘play out’, on the axis of time, space and place.
In-doors - spaces: galleries, rooms. Viewing areas, given or chosen, disused or derelict. Like the outdoors, the conditions are never the same.
Film - 16mm, super 8, moving image. Time and space compressed, flattened onto a reel. 100 feet of ‘passed’.
Exhibitions are generally temporary, ephemeral. They go up and come down.
(Notes/extracts from a longer text)
It is set against these values that I make sculpture. In broad terms my work is engaged with space - how work inhabits or can ‘alter’ the space. Many of the works have been site-generated or site-specific, often attempting to bring a heightened awareness of both time and place.Space, architecture, landscape and the body have all had an influence on my work. These are massive terms and categories and my relationship to them conceptually is introspective, emotional and intimate. My professional practice spans almost 20 years – listed below are a few selected exhibitions over this time.
Coronet Cinema, Mile End, London, organised by Artangel 1993
Matt’s Gallery, London 1995
Lutecia, Works|Projects, Bristol 2011
Part-Time Lecturer in Undergraduate Sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art
External Examiner for Undergraduate Sculpture, Edinburgh College of Art
My teaching career started in France in 1993 at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and Ecole de Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux. Over the years I have visited many of the U.K’s art schools and colleges as well as visiting several European schools, for example: Oslo, Karlsruhe and Maastricht.
My approach and engagement is towards an experimental, developmental and diverse teaching of sculpture, within the academic framework of the Undergraduate Fine Art Course and Sculpture Area. This is mainly manifested and directed through the 1 to 1 tutorial system, through seminars, and critiques and workshops. I am part of a teaching team continually responding to the rapidly changing interests and preoccupations of 18 to 24 year old students and rapidly changing technologies, media and trends in making and disseminating.
the tongue shapes words all too quickly2014
MOSTYN | Wales, Llandudno
Return Journey is an exhibition that functions as a unique journey around the United Kingdom. It presents artworks, by artists from the UK, which all address, and refer to, the various places in which the artist was born or raised. While looking at the land through artists’ eyes, the exhibition reflects upon ideas of childhood, biography, place, time and artistic development as well as upon the production and the language of art itself.
Cairn Gallery, Fife, Scotland2013
some undisclosed points of remove2013
Old College Library, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London UK
An exhibition of work by five artists based in the UK and Europe, all of whom are represented in the collection of artists’ books at Chelsea College of Art & Design. Taking place in Chelsea’s Old College Library, the project’s starting point was a selection of publications with each artist invited to contribute an additional work, to be installed in the space together. 'some undisclosed points of remove' is the result of that invitation and includes several pieces made specifically for the occasion. The selection of these five artists is but a fraction of all those represented in Chelsea’s Special Collections, yet it is a grouping that quietly demanded to be seen together. Several comparable interests run through their respective practices: the specifics of space, with its ‘languages’ and temporal dimensions; the conditions of viewing; and modes of dissemination and display. In the exploration of these ideas, each of the artists draws on a sensibility that combines an intuitive, associative approach with a distinct formal precision and material economy. Together the works in this project mark out a dialogue, both assured and tacit, with the Old College Library space itself: a paneled, balconied room and the original library of the military medical college, built 1904, whose extended buildings Chelsea occupies today. Offering an insight into five artistic practices, the exhibition prompts questions about the nature of site-responsivity and contemporary readings of institutional/spatial critique. And, against a backdrop of a resurgent interest in artists’ publications, the show invites a discursive look at the relationship between books and wider creative practice.
In All Ways and Places - Ollerplex Un-plex2011
Oriel Sycharth Gallery, Glyndŵr University
The title of the exhibition, IN ALL WAYS OR PLACES / OLLERPLEX UN-PLEX, playfully acknowledges the remote location of Oriel Sycharth Gallery at Glyndŵr University in Wrexam, North Wales. Its geographic position gets taken as a plus point by Melanie Counsell who brings together a diverse and varied group of artists based in Wales, Scotland, England and France, offering them a unique opportunity to throw caution to the wind and try out untested, unresolved or as yet unseen art work. The exhibition includes photographs, sculpture, music, audio works, and performance from artists working in a variety of ways and at different stages of their careers, each offering a sample of their present practice.
Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff
Chapter Arts Centre Lightbox Commission 2011 A site-specific installation by the Cardiff-born artist, exploring ways of manipulating time, space, architecture and objects.
Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff
LUTECIA is Melanie Counsell’s first solo exhibition in the UK for six years. During this period Counsell’s work has undergone an intense period of experimentation that has witnessed the diversification of her distinctive aesthetic to encompass abstract prints and wall paintings, evocative 16mm film and both monumental and intimate, discrete sculpture using materials as diverse as coloured perspex, extruded porcelain and structural timber.
All That Is Solid Melts into Air2006
FRAC de la Pays Loire, Nantes
Face Contre Terre2005
Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris, France
Program Gallery, London
From Nowhere to Somewhere Without Return2004
Change and Partner, Rome, Italy
Generator Projects, Dundee
From Nowhere to Somewhere Without return: The Knowledge2004
Art Space, Imperial College London
On-Off (Melanie Counsell, Huges Reip)2003
Centre Regional d'Art Contemporain Languedoc-Roussillon, Sete, F
Galerie Jennifer Flay, Paris, France
Attitudes, Espace D'Arts Contemporains, Geneva, Switzerland
Century City, Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis2001
Tate modern, London
La Repetition, La Tete Dans Les Nuages2000
Villa Arson, Nice, France
Galerie Jennifer Flay, Paris, France
Trace, Liverpool Biennial1999
Word Enough to Take a Life, Word Enough to Save a Life1999
Clare College Mission Church, London
The Pit, Toronto, Canada.
Le Creux de l'Enfer, Centre d'Art Contemporain, Thiers, France.
In autumn of 2011 fifteen artists were invited to design a poster, post it somewhere and document the piece in its chosen location.
Over recent years a greater diversity of spaces has opened up worldwide for the making and display of art beyond the gallery. A new ‘space consciousness’ has developed, with an emphasis on the significance of the spatial. Judith Rugg takes up a range of site-specific artworks internationally located in countries ranging from China to France, Italy and the UK, Argentina and Canada to Australia, Poland and the Netherlands to explore the relationships between site-specific art and space set within its globalising contexts. Through close inspection of works such artists as Doris Salcedo, Langlands and Bell, Phyllida Barlow and Vong Phaophanit, Rugg considers how an interdisplinary spatial theory can inform many elements of contemporary art. In clear, illustrated chapters, she engages with very contemporary spatial issues, including those of the environment, cultural identity and belonging, as well as experiences of displacement, migration and marginalisation and the effects of urbanization and tourism. For students and practitioners of fine arts, art theory and history, as well as those who are fascinated by site-specific art, this is an original and challenging guide. Judith Rugg is an artist and art theorist and Reader in Critical and Cultural Theory at the University for the Creative Arts. She is co-editor of Advances in Art and Urban Futures (2002) and of Issues in Curating: Contemporary Art and Performance (2007).