Anyone who has seen the opening weeks of Fotofringe 2014 as it’s kicked off it’s second year – whether in some of the events in CardiffMade or just in cursory glances at some of the startling, often haunting images from Photographers such as Lucy Purrington should be left in no doubt of the superb, often singular aesthetic quality that many of the artists chosen have had.
It should be no surprise then that their upcoming show, held in typically unconventional surroundings in a back lane off City Rd offers an exciting insight into the work of an artist whose work has been variously described as “Nebulous, subversive and unquantifiable” by Dazed and Confused.
Manuel Vason, who has shown work in Greece, Australia, Brazil and Italy will be creating an installation as part of the Fotofringe festival, entitled ‘The Angel of Hafodunos’. Google-ing Hafodunos presents largely, a series of mournful pictures of a ruined estate in North Wales – of the type that you may see many of across the internet – whether of abandoned theme parks, hospitals or in this case, houses.
This particular house was that of Margaret Sandbach, whose long-forgotten story will be accompanied by the photographs in a book, Margaret Sandbach- ‘A Tragedy in Marble and Ink’, by Mark Baker and Dewi Gregory. Sandbach, described as a ‘lost heroine of the Victorian age’ was a poet, surviving breast cancer and a mastectomy in an age before sophisticated surgery. Her poetry was ‘shot through with visions of angels and death’ and that, as well as her her intense creative bond with sculptor John Gibson are what Vason has tried to explore. The work, referencing Victorian painting styles, retells her story in a series of beautiful, intricate images.
Looking at how Vason has produced images within and around the derelict building in such a idiosyncratic way – using performative gestures from his subjects to explore the story of Sandbach and perhaps even playing on the ideas of the liminal and lost history that derelict buildings seem to conjure, it is set to be a fascinating installation and one that lives up to the words of Fotofringe organiser Jon Pountney, that it “cements our capacity for attracting exciting, challenging work”.
Rebecca Wyn Kelly, Art in the Warehouse curator says “I am a massive fan of Manuel’s earlier work with artists like Franko B, and I couldn’t believe it when I heard we would be hosting him in our humble warehouse!”.
The show will start on Friday 20th June, at 7pm, behind Milgi, at 213 City Rd. It will then be open from 2-6pm and Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd .