A Common Place

Martin Lee shares an update on another 26 project which has been going on under the radar, with our friends at Eames Fine Art. Don’t miss the exhibition when it opens in November.

This has been a wonderful project for the 29 writers involved. As we did in 2017, we have collaborated with Eames Fine Art, based in Bermondsey Street in Southwark.

We kicked the project off in the heart of the lockdown with a Zoom meeting with all 29 writers and 29 artists that are part of the Eames community of print makers. The pairing of artists and writers was great fun and entirely random, making for fascinating pairings. The brief was really quite open – the notion of a common place could be interpreted in any way – physical, emotional or metaphorical. In one case it was even interpreted with wordplay, by referencing the commonplace books that women used to keep several centuries ago. Each pair also had freedom to communicate with each other in whatever way was meaningful to them – some had weekly catch ups, others as and when, and in a couple of cases it was swift and decisive, with work completed after no more than a single conversation.

Of course, the pandemic became a backdrop, and several pairs made explicit reference to notions of separation, silence and urban emptiness. Looking now at the body of work that has been submitted, it’s noticeable how often trees feature (such a theme for 26 for a couple of years now), and also stretches of water. Every writer, on submitting their work, has talked about the joy of collaboration, and the creative release that having the chance to speak and work with an artist has been during this complex year. It’s been a piece of therapy, as well as a rich and joyful project.

As of now, the project is in a version of ‘post-production’. There has been a wonderful film made, by the filmmaker Mike Southon, which in its early rough cuts looks stunning and very moving. And Eames are now framing all the work, both the sestudes and the artwork, ready for the exhibition in their gallery, which is due to launch on November 11th. Alas, there is most unlikely to be the big launch that we all hoped for, but their venues are still open, which means that 26ers will be able to visit during the two weeks of the show. There will also be a book made of the project, which will be available for purchase. More of this next month.

Finally, if anyone has media contacts, please let me know, because Eames would be more than happy to exploit any openings that we as a group can provide.

– Martin Lee

If you can help Martin with some media contacts, drop him an email at martinleeuk@gmail.com

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