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Launch event: Saturday 13 February, 6-8pm. To book free transport to the launch, click here.

The Practice of Theories is a group exhibition of work by artists with a connection to Wysing who seek to make visible the intangible, or share knowledge or complex theories through their work and working methods. With Andrea Büttner, Ami Clarke, Andy Holden, David Osbaldeston, Yuri Pattison, Heather Phillipson, Takeshi Shiomitsu, Erica Scourti, Cally Spooner and David Toop.

The Practice of Theories

Andrea Büttner’s contribution to the exhibition is a print that itself is an extract of a larger body of work, comprising photographs, diagrams and drawings, that together aim to represent images or figures of speech employed by the philosopher Immanuel Kant in his theory of aesthetics, Critique of the Power of Judgement (1790). The images have been sourced from books in Kant’s personal library, alongside images found online, and attempt to unfold the philosopher’s argument in the manner of ‘a new layer of footnotes.’

Ami Clarke brings together several works that inform her ongoing script Error-Correction: an introduction to future diagrams, that include video animation, collage, and prints; both serial and appropriated. The title to the ongoing work stems from the ideas of the German physician and physicist Herman von Helmholtz, who's research into mathematics of the eye brought him to the conclusion that they were exceptionally prone to error, an approximation at best, that 'operate(s) within the protocols of instruments(i)' - an 'error-correction' of sorts. These ideas led to probability theory and the abstract language of mathematical analysis in celestial mechanics and situated theory as the engine to extend enquiry into domains beyond the human sensorium and beyond visual representation.

Occupying the centre of the gallery is Andy Holden’s work The Dan Cox Library for the Unfinished Concept of Thingly Time (2011); a space containing books owned by Dan Cox, a close friend and collaborator of Holden's who passed away in 2011. The books are placed in relation to fragments from Holden's sculptural projects and together aim to explain the theory of ‘thingly time’; a theory that the pair had begun to develop. In the spirit of their friendship and collaboration, the library is a space for dialogue, between ideas and words, things and art-objects. To expand the theory of thingly time, Holden is hosting a live reading and performance event within the library, on 20 February, with invited artists and poets Steve Roggenbuck, Heather Phillipson and Erica Scourti.

David Osbaldeston has created five new drawings entitled Incomplete Scenarios for an Unwritten Present (2016) in response to the theme of Wysing Poly. The drawings propose fantastical storage systems for works that have the potential to be produced in the future, with the form of each system modelled on five of the seven structures found in crystalline forms. The drawings, which have an anachronistic drawing style of intense notational writing with speech-bubbled text and pseudo-scientific diagrams of theories, present parallels between the past, present and future.

Yuri Pattison’s new work, overflow study (2016) explores the increasing levels of information flow, consumption and financial change in relation to time. The new installation attempts to look at representative objects of rapid economic growth and inflation. A video depicts The Durst Debt Clock, originally erected in 1989 by Seymour Durst of The Durst Organisation, a prominent family-owned property development and real estate Company in New York. The clock shows the numerical debt value occurring in present and future time. Alongside the video, Pattison has made an unfolded screen structure reminiscent of skyline buildings as well as internal office dividers. The structure acts as a support for the presentation of numerous images the artist obtained of the Durst Organisation's building interiors; from strangely familiar snapshots to the unseen service areas of their properties.

Heather Phillipson’s audio work splashy phasings (2013) is broadcast throughout the gallery space every 20 minutes. Originally commissioned for Channel 4’s Random Acts series, splashy phasings is a plunge into a deluged universe: information, news items and emotions overflow. Part-poem, part-song, splashy phasings compounds the language of reportage, advertising, overhead conversation and interior monologue into a digressive musical interlude.

Takeshi Shiomitsu’s work Landscape Array #3 (2016) is a painting from a new series constructed from an arrangement of stressed & painted plywood and aluminium panels. His work stems from an ongoing concern into the ways that power and ideology affect our intuitive interactions with the world. The paintings are produced by a process of recursive construction and de-construction, built in layers of material and meaning over time. In the Landscape Array series, multiple components are arranged with spaces between them but suggest an overall singular frame.

Erica Scourti has created a number of new works for the exhibition. For Residuals (2016) Scourti cleaned the screens and monitors in daily use by Wysing staff, capturing the dust on microfibre cloths that she has then traced through embroidery. In Secondary Sources (2016) Scourti has expanded on an existing work, Wish List (2015), which she performed at Wysing during her residency in 2015. In this more personal version, she has shared readings from her sketch and notebooks from 2003-2015 on YouTube, generating automatic subtitles, which have been partially rewritten. In another form of translation, Scourti’s reading of the texts has been made visible by strobe lighting software that responds to her voice.

As her contribution to the exhibition, Cally Spooner has devised a Study Week for eight participants selected through an Open Call. Spooner will lead an immersive experience over the four days, addressing new forms of management (of self and others), the internalisation of institutions, and the concept of the 'exhibitionary complex’. The Study Week is structured with reading groups, film screenings and group practicalities, punctuated with invited speakers and walkers. Full details here.

David Toop’s archive of nearly 200 audio tapes, dating from 1973 to 1995, forms a ‘sonic diary’ of the artist’s musical interests and relationships across a twenty-year period. The archive, shown together publicly for the first time, encompasses rare material sourced from the BBC’s vinyl archives, field recordings, interviews with fellow musicians, rehearsal tapes of Toop’s own work, and a myriad of sound and musical references. Handwritten annotations on the tape sleeves imply a hasty, sketchy gathering of material as thought process, while later recordings seem more ordered and carefully grouped; with their typed covers. Three listening stations next to the archive offer an insight into the diversity of material gathered by Toop. 

The Practice of Theories launches Wysing’s over-arching programme for 2016, Wysing Poly, which will provide an environment where diverse practices and theory come together to support the development of new work, with a focus on the practical application of ideas.