Rhiannon Inman-Simpson is an artist from the UK currently based in Bergen, Norway. Her practice focuses on the physical and the imaginative experience of landscape, involving ideas concerning the body, language and memory. Painting is at the core of her practice, although her work spans media encompassing writing, drawing and object based work. She completed her Masters at Bergen Academy of Art and Design in 2016, and has previously studied at The Glasgow School of Art (Scotland), Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Canada), and Camberwell College of Arts (London).
During the residency, we, Rhiannon Inman-Simpson and Johanna Lettmayer, continued a conversation that we have established between our artistic practices since 2015.
The starting point for our project was our text-production. We both experiment with narration as a means to note and merge the relationship between our surroundings and personal observations. In each other's work we recognize a similar intense engagement with daily practices and methods of registering - but with very different interests and outcomes. While Rhiannon is fascinated by wide open landscapes, mapping and solitude, Johanna is drawn to intimate, closed spaces. One is stretching out the narrative, evoking a feeling for the passing of time and spacial distances. The other operates in a claustrophobic mind set, in spaces where not only things but also language is piling up and accumulates into piles and dense rhythms. Collecting, list making and a play with fragmented language are important in both practices.
We continued our conversation through the mediums monoprinting and letterpress. We consider both techniques specifically valuable to our project as they mirror the similarities and differences we find in our artistic approaches.
Monoprinting relates to Rhiannon's practice through its closeness to painting, allowing a quick and playful exploration of colour and form. The letterpress evokes a dynamic between order and chaos, as it can both be used with great spacial and linguistic fragmentation and freedom or in an obsessively precise manner. Johanna's writing method is based on similar aspects: strict rules on the one hand, and a constant transgression of grammar and syntax on the other hand.
In the Residency we formed Johanna’s text ‘Octopus Office’ by chronologically using the entire wooden letterpress font collection of the Frans Masereel Centre and establish a dialogue between the text and Rhiannon’s monoprints. We printed a large format book whose composition, size and rhythm is in large parts decided by the restrictions of the letterpress (not so many wooden letters, very different sizes), of monoprinting (in a challenging large format and an edition of 5) and of the printing schedule (printing once or twice on 40 pages in 10 sheets within 2,5 production weeks).
The project was presented in an exhibition at Lydgalleriet in Bergen in October 2017. It included the original book and Rhiannon’s voice-recording of the text as well as a video showing the pages of the book as a slideshow.
excerpt of the video: https://vimeo.com/209722467
06.02.2017 - 03.03.2017