Arnis Residency 2022

Klar zur Wende, Ree presented the works of the artists Diogo Gama, Carl Gent, Gülşah Mursaloğlu and Jenny Steele. It took place in the Otto Eberhardt Water Wharf in Arnis – a building made from wood usually allowing the repair of ships while still in water. For Arnis Residency 2022 its unique architecture and industrial environment came into dialogue with the works of this year’s residents.

Diogo Gama

Diogo Gama (born in Almada, Portugal) lives and works in London.

His artistic practice emerges from questions around the body and identity in relation to immediate surroundings and influences. Working with coarse and large-scale embroideries on canvas, installation, film and sculpture his works show an ever-changing configuration of personal narratives and the exploration of queer identity relating to camp aesthetics, pop culture, and the bizarre.

Diogo’s work ‘Manchmal nur treibend, nogen gange baren drivende’ (German and Danish for ‘Sometimes, just drifting’) reflects his personal impressions of Arnis in association with the region’s history as former Danish territory, where German and Danish used to be equally spoken languages. Installed on an old wooden dinghy cruiser, Diogo’s work and historical reference may also remind of Arnis former relevance as an important Danish trading port in relation to sailing today merely considered as recreational sport.

Carl Gent

Carl Gent (born in Bexhill-on-sea, England) is an artist and writer.

Carl’s artistic practice draws from historical and contemporary aspects such as folk music, the story of Queen Cynethryth, absinthe and the video game series Ecco the Dolphin. Their work employs a variety of media including installation, sculpture, performance, sound and text.

For the past five years leading up to the residency, Carl has been working on retelling the story of Cynethryth, the 8th-century Queen of Mercia and wife of King Offa — a descendant in the 12th generation of Offa, the king of Angels, the region where Arnis is based. During their stay, Carl explored the history of Arnis as the home to the Angels with a particular interest in the myth of the ‘Offa Spring’, culminating in a performance to uncover a submerged narrative through the poetry of folk music, a story of decapitations and the reconfiguration of ancestral understandings.

Gülşah Mursaloğlu

Gülşah Mursaloğlu (born in Istanbul, Turkey) lives and works in Berlin.

Her projects often start with curiosity towards organic and inorganic materials, or questions that pertain to time and temporality. While working with these materials, she spends a lot of time experimenting, observing how they react to time, to other materials and to her actions. After an extensive research process, she choreographs her work according to the behaviour of the materials, whilst treating the artwork as a living organism. The resulting installations do not remain stable in form, but rather manifest as dynamic and fluid systems through their ephemeral nature.

Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Gülşah has been working on a long-term project titled ‘Devouring the Earth, in Perishable Quantities’. The project draws from materials, non-food items humans and other species ingest both intentionally and unintentionally: different clays that were regularly eaten by ancient communities, arsenic that was believed to make people have a better complexion, and bits that make their way into our guts and bodies almost in a clandestine manner: microplastics and pharmaceutical residue.

As part of this project, Gülşah turned towards eggshells as one of the agents often unintentionally becoming part of human digestion. At first sourcing them from local bakeries, she turned them into a ceramic-like material. The process involved mixes the eggs with alginate, allowing them to be moulded and shaped. ‘Primordial Soup’ represents the ephemeral chronicle to her investigation as much as an abstract representation of the regions metabolism at a particular moment in time.

Jenny Steele

Jenny Steele (born in Scotland) is an artist based in Manchester. 

In her artistic practice she seeks to revive the optimistic and restorative qualities of coastal, architectural and rural environments through site-specific artwork, textiles, sculpture, printmaking, and public events. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, she has trained in textile loom and basket weaving, as well as passementerie making, producing works from materials such as plant life, grasses, flowers and seaweed.

During her residency Jenny created a series of woven works using techniques of passementerie (an endangered craft used to create trimmings for upholstery) with local plant life from the peninsula, predominantly rushes from the water’s edge. In combination with these plants, Jenny worked with everyday textiles used in the coastal boating community, nautical ropes and webbing which tether the boats to the land. The textiles were installed upon a series of wooden stands from the local boat builder that are used to dry storage boats on land during the winter for protection. A series of plant tassels were also strung along a boat stored inside the wharf.

The work and its title, which comes from the poem, It Is Born, by Pablo Neruda, reflect on the impact on our wellbeing of being at the edge of, and within the water. Our ongoing experience of the sea is multi-sensory and spiritual; it holds timeless pull, memory and untold stories.