Slade School of Fine Art UCL
Gower Street London WC1E 6BT
Melanie Counsell works across a variety of media, materials and processes including film, sculpture, drawing and printmaking. Past exhibitions and commissions include; TSWA Four Cities Project Derry, Artangel, London, Galerie Jennifer Flay Paris, Matt’s Gallery London, Chapter Arts Centre Light Box Commission Cardiff, Sydney Biennale and Liverpool Biennale. In 2007 Melanie Counsell was awarded the Sargant Fellowship at the British School at Rome, and has undertaken residencies at Frac Corsica (2008) and Cove Park, Scotland (2009). Counsell has works in collections in the UK, France and Germany. In 2017 d_a_n_k away to go was published with Matt’s Gallery London.
The central preoccupation of my work over the last 30 years has been working with and considering space – not as a fixed or definable subject, but a physical and flexible reality that defines the sculptural problem. Placing a of work (art) in space defines the work. Working with sculpture and installation, drawings, film and printed matter, text, and with space as the context. It’s where the work ends up, whether on the wall of a commercial gallery space, a disused vacant property, digital space or the infinite space of the mind.
1994-1998 École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, France.
1994-1997 École Supérieur d’Art de Bordeaux, France.
1998- on-going Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, UK.
2009-2013 External Examiner Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, UK
2015 External Examiner University of Gloucester, UK - BA Fine Art
Centre Régionale d’Art Contemporain Occitanie/Pyrénées-Méditerranée Sète, France
William Shakespeare needs only these few words to evoke the violence of the storm that he camps at the opening of his eponymous play. Resound then we fascination mingled fear we experience face the elements who suddenly is déchaînent. La storm is an internal contradiction. We naturally keep safe from lightning, wind, thunder, rain ... but demeuront subjugated by the power at work. It is a subject on which, for a long time, many artists and authors have studied. In Giorgione's formidable painting (3), The storm is the central "character": "... there is in this painting an event that does not occur, a threat that remains unresolved, a flash that does not provoke downpour. The characters of La Tempête do not seem to care, nothing dares their indifference, nothing makes them lose countenance ... the elements can not run wild, life hangs by a thread, it challenges the the laws of physics, and the imminence of this indefinable event arouses fear and anxiety. "(2) The storm in a skull, in a glass of water, dazzling, intimate, overwhelming, destructive, source of life, desires and fears ... It is around these few notions that the choice of artists, their works, was made to make this exhibition an "indefinable event" .Hugues Reip
tout le monde2015
http://credac.fr/v3/files/pdf/DP%20tout%20le%20monde.pdf Cette exposition est un inventaire modeste, conçu à la manière d’un herbier plutôt que d’un atlas. Poétiques et parfois politiques, ces œuvres placées à la portée de tout le monde ne tendent ni vers l’héroïsme, ni vers le spectaculaire ; elles sont cependant extraordinaires par la réflexion qu’elles déclenchent ou par la position qu’elles adoptent.
Marksbury Road Primary School Commission http://www.aprb.co.uk http://foregroundprojects.org.uk/projects/primary-bristol/2015
Oasis Academy Marksbury Road, Bristol.
commission by Foreground in the Primary/Bristol programme – 2 new works made by Melanie Counsell for Oasis Academy Marksbury Road, Bristol.
South Wales Echo
'Echo' is a series of six solo 'exhibitions' across the pages of the South Wales Echo for the duration of Cardiff Contemporary. Appearing as an advert on each Friday of the festival, starting 3rd October, the newspaper will become a space in the city for the presentation of newly commissioned art works. As the local newspaper for Cardiff and the surrounding area the South Wales Echo has a daily circulation of approximately 60,000. Acting like a Trojan Horse the six 'insertions', created by artist's with a historic relationship to Cardiff and others with a contemporary relationship to the capital city, will range from full colour advertisements to small classified ads. Commissioned Artist's James Richards, Melanie Counsell, Laura Reeves, George Henry Longly, Joanne Masding and Richard Bevan. 'Echo' is a curatorial project commissioned by Cardiff Contemporary. Cardiff Contemporary is a Cardiff Council initiative co-funded by the Arts Council of Wales, developed in partnership with Cardiff’s visual art, design and architecture communities.
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
Generator Projects, Dundee
From Nowhere to Somewhere Without Return2004
Change and Partner, Rome, Italy
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.
Usine FremauxUsine Fremaux, Amiens, France
Ephemeral State Commission, Minstère de la Culture, 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).