Saturday 20 June, 2-4pm
Please join us at a special event to launch two new permanent works for Wysing’s site, The Peterborough Child by Joanna Rajkowska and Beach by Rupert Norfolk.
The Peterborough Child by Polish artist Joanna Rajkowska is a work that has had a long and fraught journey to Wysing. Commissioned in 2012 as part of Citizen Power Peterborough; a collaboration between The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, Peterborough City Council and Arts Council England, the work has travelled to Poland and back again and inspired both a film and a great deal of unwonted controversy.
The work has the appearance of a staged archaeological dig. However, Rajkowska has described it as ‘a chakra – a place of focussed, accumulated energy’. At the centre of that energy is a tiny replica skeleton of a thirty week old foetus. An emotive image, but one intended as a response to the location of Peterborough as a site of ancient graves, some dating back to the Neolithic period. This narrative for the work however became woven into the experience of Rajkowska herself who was living and working in Peterborough on the commission and whose own young child, Rosa, had at the time been diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer.
The controversy emerged when the work started to be viewed as a grave and not a re-enactment of an archaeological dig; when private experience met a collective un-comfortableness with potential immediate, rather than historic, death.
Wysing has been given custodianship of The Peterborough Child and we welcome the opportunity to reclaim it as both a work of art, and a chakra.
The Peterborough Child has been realised with funding from Arts Council England and the Polish Cultural Institute in London and with the support of The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, Peterborough City Council, culture.pl and T.A.D. Precision Sheet Metal Engineers Ltd.
Beach by UK artist Rupert Norfolk was originally commissioned in 2011 by the Fundament Foundation in Tilburg, The Netherlands. As with Rajkowska’s work, Beach apparently reveals an unexpected and previously hidden history; in a clearing in the woods to the back of Wysing’s site the disconcerting image of a sandy beach appears. Dappled sunlight filtering through trees further adds to the sense of disorientation of seeing a natural image transposed to an unnatural location.
To create the work Norfolk cast at the Solway Firth, at winter low-tide, from which he created 480 interlocking parts. Much of Norfolk’s work involves the use of multiple components to generate dissonance.
Rupert Norfolk was in-residence at Wysing during 2013, during which time he explored hidden systems and structures alongside fellow residency artists James Beckett, Cécile B. Evans, Michael Dean and Seb Patane. Norfolk has generously given Beach to Wysing on long-term loan.
Beach has been realised with funding from Arts Council England through an initiative to support the development of crafts in the East and South East of England.