Species of Space by Robert Powell at Edinburgh Printmakers
1 April – 16 July 2016
Species of Space is a solo exhibition by Edinburgh-based artist Robert Powell. A metromanic fantasy of tiny proportions, at the heart of this collection of works is a literal cardboard city clad in screen-printed laser-cut wood veneers, a sculptural piece which takes the form of an ideal and idealised walled city reminiscent of those found in mediaeval paintings and manuscripts, or those Herodotus saw in Egypt ‘which appear very nearly like the islands of the Aegean sea’, cut off from their surroundings and complete in themselves. Through the windows, the doors, the cut away facades of this city we see its inhabitants restaging in their daily lives scenes from history, art, literature and mythology. As with Walter Benjamin’s phantasmagorias of the interior, in which the inhabitant “brings together the far away and the long ago” the living room becomes a box in the theater of the world. Besides the city, Species of Space will contain High Rise, a two meter tall house, comprising of stacked units. Like a modern Babel, the piece ascends through human history and thought, from the feverish chthonic carnivals taking place in the lower apartments to the airy rationalism of the penthouse.
Thus conceived, the city collapses past, present and future, laying claim to all that has been or can be– an ideological topomachy between different visions of utopia.
Species of Space, will be a meditation on the city as an idea and as a physical artefact, its construction and its conservation, it is about the universal city and about Edinburgh in particular and it is about their citizens, the lives and stories of those who live within them.
Species of Space contains work published with Edinburgh Printmakers.