UR Feeling - Camden Art Centre

British artist Simon Martin presented UR Feeling – a new film and a poster.

In his previous work, Martin focused on isolated objects such as the Louis Ghost Chair designed by Philippe Starck, a Donald Judd sculpture and a room divider by post-modern design group Memphis, to examine how we look at things and their representations. In this film, he collaborated with performers for the first time, to consider how people feel in response to the inherent architectural codes of the built environment and how the social history of a place can produce particular affects.

Moving away from an explanatory or analytical mode of address, this film was wordless and did not set out to convey meaning through representation, but to illuminate experience through the senses. Placing emphasis on mood and embodiment, an immersive soundscape included field recordings from the Wapping Old Stair on the River Thames and samples of a reconstructed Lyre – thought to be the oldest stringed instrument, excavated from the ancient site of the Mesopotamian city Ur.

The performers responded to a number of scenarios which were proposed as image-based exercises, visual ‘clues’, forming the basis of a choreography. These images are derived from ideas about the body in relationship to situation, apprehension of context, buildings or objects. They are named: Site 01, Site 02, River, Portrait, and Corner. Working with artist and Butoh-trained dancer Nissa Nishikawa and Martin Tomlinson, these commands were actualised in improvisatory performances in which their bodies are moved by images in the mind’s eye, taking their cue from imagined environments and the reciprocal landscapes of affects and sensations they evoke.

In 2012 Simon Martin had a solo show at Camden Art Centre that was also called UR Feeling. In it he brought together objects and images by artists and designers including Ettore Sottsass, Richard Artschwager and Stephen Shore. That exhibition might be seen as a ‘preview’ or speculative exploration of ideas from which this new film has emerged.

UR Feeling takes its direction from a quote by architect Peter Eisenman in conversation with Charles Jencks. In it he outlines a situation in which a human subject might feel something unfamiliar or uncanny. A site such as Paternoster Square (the area surrounding St. Paul’s Cathedral), has been continuously occupied for centuries yet in spite of perpetual cycles of demolition and redevelopment it still retains the narrow passageways of a medieval city plan and somehow evokes the feeling of a medieval situation in the present day. UR Feeling emerges from this ambiguous state between knowing and sensing, drawing attention from the mind to the body as it experiences the persuasions of its situation.

They will feel in the alleyways something, but it’s not quite medieval and it’s not quite modern. It’s something else. In other words, my whole idea of affect is that you experience something, you feel something, you see something, but you can’t quite explain it. It has an Ur-dimension to it… something between understanding and not, let’s say.’  Peter Eisenman

Producer: Tracy Bass
Cinematographer: Martin Testar
Editor: Daniel Goddard

This exhibition coincided with a new monograph which spans the trilogy of film works that began with Carlton, including Louis Ghost Chair, and concludes with this new film UR Feeling.

Images The Artist Supporters Events

The Artist

Simon Martin (b.1965) lives and works in London. His solo exhibitions include Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland (2013); Camden Arts Centre, London (2012); Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Chisenhale Gallery, London; and Lightbox, Tate Britain, London (all 2008). Recent group exhibitions include The Parliament of Things, First Site, Colchester (2015); The Event Sculpture, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2014-15); Glasgow International, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow (2014); The Imaginary Museum, (with Ed Atkins), Kunstverein Munich; and How to Look at Everything, The Common Guild, Glasgow (both 2012); British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet, Hayward Gallery and CCA Glasgow / Tramway; and This is Sculpture, Tate Liverpool (both 2011). He was the recipient of a Paul Hamlyn Award (2008) and shortlisted for the Jarman Award (2009).

Teachers' Exhibition Tour

Wednesday 22 April
6.00 – 7.00pm
A chance to look at the Jo Baer and Simon Martin exhibitions and the new teachers’ guide with Camden Arts Centre’s Education and Exhibitions teams.

Camden Arts Centre produces a teachers’ guide for each exhibition, available as soon as the exhibition commences. The guide contains activities for students at Key Stage levels 1 – 4 and for SEN students and is offered as a way for school groups to come into the galleries independently.

Film Screenings and Book Launch: Simon Martin

Wednesday 29 April
7.00 – 9.00pm 

Three Simon Martin films are screened and a new publication is launched by Camden Arts Centre and Film and Video Umbrella. Simon Martin’s new publication, Simon Martin, examines his trilogy of films – Carlton (2006), Louis Ghost Chair (2012) and UR Feeling (2015). Come along to watch the films and get a copy of the book, which includes contributions from Melissa Gronlund, Dan Fox, Neil Mulholland and Steven Bode, and is designed by Fraser Muggeridge Studio.

The book was commissioned and published by Film and Video Umbrella and Elena Hill.

Screenings of Carlton and Louis Ghost Chair take place at 7.00pm and will be repeated at 8.00pm. UR Feeling plays continuously in Gallery 3 and Steven Bode will give a short introduction at 7.30pm.

Introduction to Exploring the Built Environment - Judith Brocklehurst

2 – 16 May 2015
Taking Simon Martin’s exhibition UR Feeling as a starting point we will consider the urban environment, how it makes us ‘feel’ or behave, the histories embedded in places and whether we change the city by the way we behave and move through it. Our active discussion will include exploration of key philosophical and  theoretical texts and specific works by performance based contemporary artists. Led by Judith Brocklehurst.

Judith Brocklehurst is in the final year of a practice based PhD at the Institute of Education, researching dominated urban spaces through social media photography.

Gallery Tours

2 May – 20 June 2015
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 12.00pm and 4.00pm / free
Join us for a short tour of the Jo Baer and Simon Martin exhibitions, led by a Camden Arts Centre volunteer. The tours take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 12.00pm and 4.00pm and begin in the Central Space. No booking is required.

Exhibition Talk: Agnieszka Gratza

Wednesday 13 May
7.00 – 7.45pm
Writer Agnieszka Gratza leads a talk on Simon Martin’s exhibition, UR Feeling. Gratza has written an essay in the Simon Martin File Note which accompanies the exhibition, and has written for The Guardian, the Observer, New Statesman, Frieze, Art Review, Artforum, FlashArt, Sight&Sound, PAJ and murmurART.

For his second solo exhibition at Camden Arts Centre, British artist Simon Martin (b. 1965) presents a new film, UR Feeling. Martin is interested in how we understand ourselves through social structures, mythologies and collective memory evidenced in art objects, mass media and popular culture.

Performance: Altered States

Wednesday 27 May
7.00 – 9.00pm

Students from Central Saint Martins present a series of live works responding to the current exhibitions by Jo Baer and Simon Martin.

Jo Baer’s first major show in a UK public gallery centres around her most recent series of paintings, In the Land of the Giants. This series, developed since 2009, reflects on her life-long interest in history and science. For his second solo exhibition at Camden Arts Centre, British artist Simon Martin (b. 1965) presents a new film, UR Feeling.

Exhibition Talk: Sophie Williamson

Sunday 21 June
3.00 – 3.45pm 

Camden Arts Centre Exhibitions Organiser Sophie Williamson gives a free walking tour of both exhibitions on the final day.

Jo Baer’s first major show in a UK public gallery centres around her most recent series of paintings, In the Land of the Giants. This series, developed since 2009, reflects on her life-long interest in history and science. For his second solo exhibition at Camden Arts Centre, British artist Simon Martin (b. 1965) presents a new film, UR Feeling.