20 August 2015 // X-Church, Ashcroft Road, Gainsborough, UK 

curated by Nick Simpson

An extension of curio the case of curio is mobile exhibition based on the theme of 19th century cabinets of curiosities, using interesting aesthetics of cases as vehicle to house new works. At the heart of all Curio projects is accessibility, and in light of this Curio invites artists to explore the subject of curiosity, and to explore how the notion of curiosity can be interpreted, in a form that is able to exist in a traditional and non-traditional exhibition environments.

Artists showing

Amy Hewitt Kate Buckley (KAC), Ross Oliver, G Â S T, Ellen Astrid Brady, Fiona Parkinson, Amir Ghazi-Noory, James Richardson, Dawn Richmond-Gordon, Rob Britt, Nicholas Simpson, Alec Shepley, Flic, Elizabeth Wright, FBI, John Stocker and Ian Manicom.


x church

The Exes – is piece was created for the Case of Curio.

It consists of a dead elm tree and 30 metres of rope.

The elm first appeared 20 million years ago.

This tree died from Dutch Elm Disease, a  fungi spread by elm bark beetle which first appears in the early 1900’s but becomes virulent and devastating during the 1960’s.

The Elm was traditionally used as timber for wagons, domestic furniture and coffin planks. These elms were taken from Pitt Hill Woods in Gainsborough a few miles from X-Church and cut down by David who leads the TCV ( The Conservation Volunteers).

The idea was to install 2 trees facing each other standing within their respective cases.

Inspired by my research into loss and mourning these trees were ex trees in an ex church, hence the name ‘the exes’. They are representations of the past and I wanted to use them to celebrate the future by creating something joyous but this didn’t transpire.

I want to look towards painting and adornment of the trees with reference to the green man tradition,maypoles and looking into the visual representation of fertility and new beginnings. I found resonance with the Aboriginal grave posts at Pitt Rivers amongst many other natural objects which had had human creative intervention. I am looking into the ritual of the Clootie tree, and decorating trees for other celebrations and festivals. I am particularly interested in a local orchard.

The install of the first tree proved to be more challenging than expected and the work was limited to the one tree on this occasion.

The hope was to ensure the curatorial conceit of curiosity within the space of a case, however it became impossible to stand the tree within the suitcase at install.

The rope did come out of the case….

The work inspired curiosity as to how the tree appeared and how it came to be held upright.

Whilst it did not meet my expectations it has allowed me to view the ‘tree‘ as a visual language outside of the institution of the university and my theoretical ideas and to experience the ideas at a scale and space appropriate to them. I now want to work to adorn, or work into, or paint on the tree.


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