Wednesday, 30 September 2015

"Memoria: Memories of light" an exhibition by David Bridges at Armley Mills

Thanks to my volunteer role at Leeds Art Gallery, I went to visit another site of Leeds Museums and Galleries: Armley Mills. I have heard about this industrial museum but I was not able to visit until a few days ago while attending an exhibition opening, Common Threads 2 an exhibition about (art)works made by volunteers in the community (I posted a few pictures on Twitter)

The day before my visit I followed a Twitter Tour of the exhibition and fall in love with the new exhibition: Memoria: Memories of Light by David Bridges. The artist is based in Bradford, where he studied, and works with different media including steel, porcelain and light. 

Waves by David Bridges (2015)

The exhibition takes part in several parts of the museum and has four sculptures in total. David Bridges created sculptures which reflects the everyday life, sensorial life, of the mill's workers. He was helped by volunteers to find and interview workers, then he played the interview and music while seating in the mill, waiting for an idea to emerge from the dark (literally as the mill is a damp and dark place!).  He also wanted to create a new archive and contacted the  descendant of the last owner of the mill and found his granddaughter in New Zealand. She agreed to participate to the project and gave her collection of photographs and documents to the museum. 

Wing by David Bridges (2015)

What is really interesting in this exhibition is how it works, on a visual and on an emotional level. The sculptures are placed at different places in the museum and the visitor is surprised by their presence in the middle of old machinery. Nevertheless, the beauty of the pieces and their poetic language bring life to the place. The light is really the memory of the workers, the artist talks about "filming sculpture", he recreates a memory. By looking and admiring these artworks you pay tribute to the past. 

Aerial by David Bridges (2015)

One sculpture, Aerial, is situated on a damp and dark wall which has some water running on it, the anecdote says that no one knows where the water comes from and where it goes. It has an aura of magic to the sculpture. 

Gleam by David Bridges (2015)

The last piece, Gleam, is a full immersion into the mill's world, you have to wear an helmet and the guide (a volunteer) closes the door behind you. You are left on your own in a cold and damp space but the feeling is amazing. You look at the sculpture which follows the form of the tank and brings light to the place. 

Gleam by David Bridges (2015) (detail) 

The exhibition is running until 3rd October and I couldn't recommend it enough! Thank you Leeds Museums and Galleries for this experience. 

Have a look at the artist's blog! 

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