LONDON BASED ARCHITECTS, HAWORTH TOMPKINS, HAVE COMMISSIONED ARTIST JAKE TILSON AS PART OF THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO THIS YEAR'S BIENNALE EXHIBITION, COMMON GROUND, CURATED BY DAVID CHIPPERFIELD.

TILSON HAS 5 WORKS IN THE CORDERIE SECTION OF BIENNALE, 17 HIDDEN PHOTO-WORKS IN VENICE AND 7 AUDIO WORKS AVAILABLE HERE FOR FREE ON THE ITUNES STORE.


PHOTO: Atlas, 2012:

The Italian art critic Gabriella Bassano caught up with Jake Tilson in Venice during installation.
Bassano is currently writing a book on Tilson’s work entitled
"Art Works in the Third Person - Cryptic Narratives and Hidden Histories"
, to be published by the Tokyo Urban Press.


" It’s disconcerting to step off the number 6 vaporetto, enter the long rope-making hall of the Corderie in the Arsenale and find yourself in black space - infront of a long illuminated cabinet filled with what at first appears to be rubbish found on two South London streets – Lower Marsh and The Cut. Looking closer I find these objects to have been bagged, bar-coded, fixed with Evidence Tags and wrapped with Venice Airport customs bands. Evidence of what is a harder question to answer. Above the glow of the cabinet rises a series of black shelves on which sit rows of photographs. Streets, facades, details and doorways from the two streets, and the Young Vic theatre, also on The Cut, a building with an assured sense of it’s physical history. A vertical monitor plays back a slow moving view of facades that shift and change like architectural cadavre exquis. Roughly pasted onto the vast back wall of this cabinet are 300 additional photographs. In all, Tilson has created a rich collage in which narratives and spaces unfold and histories are partially revealed.

Haworth Tompkins choice of using Tilson as the lens with which to view these two streets is to instigate what the writer William Burroughs called creative viewing.

“Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it creative observation. Creative viewing.” 


William S Burroughs.
Ports of Entry: William S. Burroughs and the Arts, (1996).


It’s a deft choice by Haworth Tompkins to entrust this part of their exhibition to someone else’s eyes, although Tilson comes with no architectural-world axe to grind and no professional vested interest to support. Tilson does have a long standing working relationship with Haworth Tompkins and I can see echoes of this shared past in these new works. Some echoes might seem obscure, such as the blue pointing foam hand, reminding me of the hand-painted signage Tilson found whilst undertaking typographic reconnaissance in the submarine-like stacks at The London Library. The photographs Tilson has taken of the back offices of the Young Vic are reminiscent of images he took of Haworth Tompkins offices in 1998. Details of everyday working life brought into focus. When Tilson was asked to produce a documentary exhibition to commemorate the celebrated transformation of the Royal Court Theatre in 1999, part of his response was to make audio recordings of the building. Works such as: "Rehearsal room, Plastering. 12.36". So when asked to survey and explore The Cut and Lower Marsh, Tilson took audio equipment with him producing several field recordings. One of which will be heard in the Corderie, the solemn overhead rumble of passenger trains heading south out of Waterloo. The other audio works are available free from iTunes.

I escorted Tilson on one his foraging trips to Lower Marsh in the Spring and asked him about what influenced his view of the city. I was surprised by his response that writers play an important role is his urban interpretations. The '3-Bs', as he refers to them; Burroughs, Ballard and Borges. I would perhaps add a further B to his list, the film Blade Runner, (Ridley Scott 1982).

“Given that external reality is a fiction, the writer's role is almost superfluous. He does not need to invent the fiction because it is already there. The writer's task is to invent the reality”
J.G. Ballard, Re/Search, no. 8/9 (San Francisco, 1984).
Interview in Friends (London, Oct. 30, 1970)
.

“Every novel is an ideal plane inserted into the realm of reality.”
Jorge Luis Borges, 
from the essay: Partial Magic in the Quixote, in Labyrinths (1964)
.

Which brings me back to the illuminated cabinet of forensic objects. A slice of London’s reality transported to Venice. Some objects appear directly related to the streets; menus, theatre ticket stubs, market detritus – whereas others could be the effects of an individual - a single shoe, spectacles, cycle helmet and identification papers. Others are more abstract, such as a wall calendar set at the opening date of the Biennale. The Evidence Tags are dated from 2006 to 2012, and all bare the same case number; SE18LZ. Past works by Tilson share similar characteristics, such as Christies Tribal Auction Lot 369 (1992), which makes me wonder if this entire cabinet of bagged objects has also been found by the artist "as is", and the Venice Customs bands finish off the "chain of custody" labeling as they passed through Marco Polo Airport. It also closes the circle of "creative observation" as Burroughs called it, to "creative viewing " all the Corderie needs is an audience to finish the story.”

Gabriella Bassano
Venezia, 2012


CITY SOUNDS OF THE EVERYDAY
Venezia, 2012



City Picture Fiction no.159
17 photographs, left in Venice, 2012




PHOTO: Jake Tilson Studio, 2012:

JAKE TILSON STUDIO
IS AN OFFICAL SPONSOR
OF THE BIENNALE



LINKS
Haworth Tompkins
Jake Tilson Studio
Venice Biennale

"The three façade reproductions assembled by Eric Parry, Lynch Architects and Haworth Tompkins were ambitiously realised and backed-up with strong material, including an installation by Jake Tilson, grainy enough to make one nostalgic for South London."
WALLPAPER magazine



PHOTO: Atlas, 2012:

Inhabitable Models presents the work of three practices – Eric Parry Architects, Haworth Tompkins, Lynch Architects – exploring fragments of three distinct areas of London.

Other contributors to the Haworth Tompkins section alongside Jake Tilson include: artist Clem Crosby, film makers Sue Barr and David Heathcote, photographer Andy Chopping, dramaturg Zoe Svendsen, academic Juliet Rufford and digital artists Scanlab.

HAWORTH TOMPKINS
AT THE BIENNALE website


Tilson worked closely with Dan Tassell from Haworth Tompkins and joiner Lars Wagner who built and installed the cabinet, along with the rest of the installation.



PHOTO: Jake Tilson Studio, 2012:

Above: detail photos of the works in progress.

LIST OF WORKS:

FRONT OF CABINET:
Title: Core Sample
Media: Single-screen, 50-image photowork 
Duration: 5 mins loop (approx).
Courtesy of Joachim Ackersohn Kunst Galerie

Title: City Picture Fiction no.156 (Lower Marsh and The Cut)
Media: Mixed media objects, rubber stamped tags, polythene bags, tyvek customs-clearance bands, barcodes, aluminium mapping pins - on black stained plywood.
Size: W360 x H70 x D26 cms
Courtesy of Joachim Ackersohn Kunst Galerie

Title: City Picture Fiction no.157 (Lower Marsh and The Cut)
Media: 52 photographs, mounted on stove-enamelled aluminium.
Various sizes.
Courtesy of Joachim Ackersohn Kunst Galerie

BACK OF CABINET:
Title: City Picture Fiction no.158 (Lower Marsh and The Cut)
Size: 360 X 333 cms
Media: 200 colour photo copies, wallpaper paste.
Courtesy of Joachim Ackersohn Kunst Galerie

AUDIO:
Title: Carlisle Lane, 9pm
City Sounds of the Everyday no.19
Media: 2 channel audio.
Duration: 12.14 mins.
Published by Atlas, London, available as a podcast.

OUT IN THE CITY:
Title: City Picture Fiction no.159 (Lower Marsh and The Cut)
Media: 17 photographs, mounted on stove-enamelled aluminium, evidence stickers, customs-clearance bands.
Various sizes.
Left in various sites in Venice.
Courtesy of Joachim Ackersohn Kunst Galerie



PHOTO: Atlas, 2012: