In June 2009 Dover Pride asked me and my fellow “Dover Visual” artist Jonathan Wright to open their exciting new gallery space with a joint show... which we both happily agreed to!
Three large windows of Dover’s old indoor market (on the ground floor of the local tax office!) have been opened up and a white cube-like situation created inside (2m deep), which can only be viewed from the outside. A really neat idea in so many ways!
I developed the new piece out of the “hoardings-process” and came up with an idea for a mixed-media installation.
The installation will be on show 24/7 until end of August 2009.
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The text-based element in this installation (“We, the People of Dover…”) seeks to play with the immediate expectation of an official public decree or notice by the state – presented by the ornate framing and old-fashioned font – by writing content “of the people for the people”. The large colour image shows an elderly woman wearing a delicate pendant with the words “Someone Special”. This work explores the preconceptions of older members of the community sometimes at odds with their status within society – and also pertains to the overall theme of knitting, in a literal and figurative sense. This woman is part of a group of knitters who made the letters that spell the word “DOVER” displayed below the image and are also used in the slogan “not glosseD OVER” for the hoardings project.
As a child, Jones saw René Magritte’s famous surrealist painting “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, a painting of a tobacco pipe and the words “This is not a pipe”. More recently, she has been inspired by contemporary socio-political work, including the Canadian magazine Adbusters [1], famous for their “subvertisements” (spoof adverts) and of the French art collective Ne Pas Plier (Do Not Bend) [2]. Active in the 90s, the art collective found common phrases to use on public signage (incl. postcards, stickers and placards) and imbued them with a double meaning through a graphic style, font, added image. Jones has also found inspiration in the work of Barbara Kruger: An American conceptual artist, Kruger became known in the 80s for her fine art work incorporating experience in graphic design and picture editing with short direct phrases, such as her piece “I shop therefore I am” (1987).
Jones is currently actively engaged in finding creative ways to deal with the global social, political and economic changes needed to deal with the impacts of climate change.
Edda Venusia Jones was born in London in 1973. After 12 years in Berlin, she now lives and works in Dover.
All content and images copyright © Edda Venusia Jones 2009. All rights reserved.
[1] Adbusters Media Foundation is a not-for-profit, anti-consumerist organisation founded in 1989 by Kalle Lasn and Bill Schmalz in Canada. They describe themselves as “a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age”. The foundation publishes Adbusters, a 120000-circulation, reader-supported activist magazine and has launched international social marketing campaigns, including Buy Nothing Day and TV Turnoff Week .
[2] “Ne pas plier (Do Not Bend) (...) was founded in 1991, at the outset of the long French recession (…), by Gérard Paris-Clavel (graphic designer) and Marc Pataut (photographer). All [their small-scale works] are ways (...) to give as many people as possible the chance to create meaning with signs that are specifically oriented and yet open (…) – the opposite of advertising signs that seek to channel vital energy into unconscious behaviour. Culture as a way for human beings to express their solidarity with each another.” (Text by Brian Holmes published in k-bulletin nr. 3, © 2000 by MvO and
Spinning a Yarn, 2009, mixed media installation (text on vinyl, 120 x 300 cm; digital print on vinyl, 120 x 184 cm; ball of wool, Ø 62 cm; 5 knitted letters, approx. 10 x 10 cm each)
Dover-based artist Edda Venusia Jones has developed this installation in response to the process of creating “minD OVER matter”, a series of slogans for hoardings around various sites in Dover that was commissioned by Dover Pride for the Dover Visuals Project in Spring 2009. The hoardings can be seen on Russell Street (5 min. walk from the Box Gallery).
In the tradition of the situationists’ “turn around” concept (detournement), Jones is interested in subverting messages so that they communicate meanings at variance with their original intention.