Dolls’ hair sculptures; suspended internally lit spheres; spectral shapes in glass; spaces in which to reflect on witch-hunts of centuries gone by…..
Though these may sound like the stuff of nightmares, these are in fact, just some of the art works set to be on display in the woodlands of this year’s Latitude Festival, which takes place in leafy Suffolk this summer.
Strengthening its arty credentials even further, last year, Latitude launched its Latitude Contemporary Art Exhibition (LCA) Award, which sees the winner awarded with the healthy sum of £10,000 to cover research, development, production costs and artist fees for a new piece for the LCA Exhibition at the following year’s Latitude Festival.
One of Latitude’s curators, art writer Louise Gray, says, ‘Latitude’s been going for some years now, and it’s always historically had a visual arts component but it’s always been much more ad hoc.
‘Melvin Benn [managing director of Festival Republic and creator of Latitude] had been aware that while there was a very strong commitment to other kinds of arts, contemporary visual art wasn’t being represented.’
The artists are selected by Benn, Gray, former Tate Modern curator Ben Borthwick, curator and deputy editor of The Wire Anne Hilde Neset and managing director of Lavish show producers Ami Jade Cadillac.
For the 2011 Latitude Contemporary Art programme, five artists have been commissioned – Graham Dolphin, Delaine Le Bas, Alice Anderson, Maslen and Mehra and Andy Harper – to exhibit outdoors in the Latitude Festival’s woodland site.
Graeme Miller, the artist who won last year’s inaugural LCA prize, will be returning with a new work. The winner of the 2011 prize will be judged during the festival itself.
The entries this year include Alice Anderson’s rather Grimm Fairytale-esque sculpture made of dolls’ hair and wax, Follow Me, which invites participants to follow a metamorphosing hair rope through the woods in order to discover what is at the other end.
An equally terrifying prospect will be on offer from London-based collaborative duo Maslen & Mehra with their creation, Common Ground, which comprises figures from different historical periods and cultures made from hand-made mirrored sculptures and drawing. The resulting work means that spectral figures appear on the mirrored surfaces through the reflected light.
Gray adds, ‘As curators, we’re learning how to use the woods. You’re never far away form the sounds of the stages – we’re aware that subtlety doesn’t work.’
Latitude Festival takes place from 14 – 17 July.