EDWIN BURDIS: HOME SERVICE
PRIVATE VIEW TUES 10 MAY, 6:30-8:30PM
EXHIBITION DATES 11 MAY - 13 JUNE
Scroll down for details of the events programme, which features:
Man Like Me / The Gut Club / Deaf School / Longmeg /
Jon Jon the Demigod / Andy Holden + others
This exhibition is a doorway to my body, my home, my mother’s home, my family, my friends, my London, my island, this Britain. – Edwin Burdis
‘Home Service’ is a project by the British artist and musician Edwin Burdis (b. 1974, Newcastle) that explores the notion of home both as a personal refuge and as a collective national experience. Alluding to both the human body (our permanent ‘home’) and Burdis’ former bedroom in his mother’s East London flat (a home that the artist has only recently departed) this evolving installation of drawings and sculptures considers the ties that bind us to family, friends and the wider public realm.
Over Home Service’s five week run, Burdis will be resident in the Hayward Project Space from 10am-6pm, 7 days a week, creating new work in situ. During this time, the Project Space will also function as a venue for performances and gigs by Burdis and his collaborators, and as a place for the artist to discuss the meaning of ‘home’ with visitors to the gallery and a range of invited guests from across British society – from ambulance drivers to commercial gallerists, bike couriers to computer games designers, butchers and tabloid journalists to artists and musicians. Burdis will record his interactions with these visitors and compile them in a weekly ‘radio show’, also entitled ‘Home Service’, which will be broadcast over a set of speakers on the Hayward’s façade and via the website www.home-service.org.uk, developed with Kieron Livingston. The words ‘Home Service’, of course, evoke the BBC radio station that broadcast from 1939 to 1967, providing news, informational programming and drama - a remit now covered by BBC Radio 4. This expression also raises the sticky question of the artist’s social utility, what kind of ‘service’ he or she provides to the wider community (it is no coincidence that Burdis has drawn his daily ‘guests’ from a broad and starkly contrasting set of professions).
Visitors to Burdis’ exhibition enter through a doorway in the shape of a human mouth, made out of painted plywood in the artist’s trademark, cartoon style - part Robert Crumb, part Philip Guston. Near the centre of the space stand two forms which suggest both eyes and the uvula (the two pieces of flesh that dangle down at the back of the human mouth), symbols of looking and speaking, and thus the show’s visual and audio aspects. For Burdis, the body is the only ‘home’ we inhabit for the whole of our lives, and is the basis for thinking about every other kind of ‘home’, from domestic dwellings to nations. Elsewhere in the space, visitors will encounter elements that point to the artist’s bedroom in his mother’s house, including lilac walls, the camp bed on which he slept, and recreations of the wall drawings of cartoonish, organic forms with which he decorated his former home (these drawings have something of the hieroglyph about them, hinting at but never disclosing a linguistic order behind the pictorial). By way of contrast to this humble interior, Burdis also presents a large model of a Georgian townhouse – a home that has been swallowed by the mouth at the Project Space’s entrance, and perhaps metabolised by the people of Britain as a domestic ideal.
While most exhibitions remain static after they first open, ‘Home Service’ will develop across its five week run. Rather than exiting the gallery space the moment the last of the private view drinks have been drained dry, Burdis will make it his temporary home, living with his project, adapting its parameters, and meeting his audience on a daily basis. We might read this through the lens of participatory practice (encounters with visitors will give the project much of its shape), but it is also important to recognise what the artist is giving up by spending his show’s run within the Hayward’s walls. In short, this is opportunity to get a little distance, to turn his back on a failure or to reflect leisurely on a success. Perhaps, though, this always impossible. ‘Home’ is something we carry with us like a snail carries its shell: a shelter, and a burden, that we can’t leave behind.
HOME SERVICE FREE EVENTS
Daily: Visits from invited guests (please see timetable in exhibition space)
Each Sunday: New episode of ‘Home Service’ uploaded to: www.home-service.org.uk
Tues May 10, 6:30-8:30pm: Opening reception and performance of ‘Home’ by Edwin Burdis, 7:45pm
Sat May 28, 6:30pm – 8:30pm: The Sun is Our First Oven – Talk by The Gut Club, and performance by Man Like Me
Sun May 29, 3pm-5pm: Andy Holden and Deaf School - Film, archive and performance event featuring artist Andy Holden and seminal Liverpool band Deaf School
Sun June 12, 3pm – 5pm: Longmeg and Jon Jon the Demigod - Performance and talk.
Curator: Tom Morton
Exhibition Assistant: Jessica Cerasi
Links:Deaf School perform Taxi and What a Way to End it All
Longmeg Live at Tate Modern