A new work - A Simple Act of Wonder - by artists Walter & Zoniel celebrates human connection and our experiences of joy in unprecedented times. Audiences can now see it unfold across a series of outdoor spaces across the suburbs of Brighton (Moulsecoomb and Bevendean) and via a city centre exhibition that is now installed but which will never be seen in real life by the public but can be viewed by a series of digital initiatives online
Colourful, outdoor artworks are now displayed in the Brighton suburbs of Moulsecoomb and Bevendean - these can be seen painted on peoples homes, on The Bevvy community pub, on a shop (The Good News Brighton) and St Georges Hall. A large painting also now sits on the grass of The Green, stretching out across this popular leisure area.
The artists have used brightly coloured house paint, grass paint and gels to create interventions on these community spaces and streets, bringing a rich palette of colour to the residential areas. With a mix of colour, photography, humour, meditation, heritage and geography, Walter & Zoniel forge a tender connection between people and communities. Plaques have also been installed in the neighbourhood, telling the stories of community members the artists worked with to create the project.
Walter & Zoniel spent the early part of 2020 getting to know the communities of Moulsecoomb and Bevendean to develop the series of collaborative interventions. All of the works respond to the stories that they gathered from the residents they met and the architectural character and history of the place. The work creates a temporary transformation of the neighbourhood through a new aesthetic that teases out a different story about the locations, a story that complicates and contradicts the prevailing narrative of this area. Objects from residents - a troll, a photograph, a small ship and an oral history via a VR headset - all sit in the gallery at Fabrica, connecting the two spaces further.
At Fabrica, Walter & Zoniel have applied an equally bright treatment to the gallery space, creating a large floor piece that echoes the interventions at Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, whilst playing off interior details, such as the stained glass windows, steep curves and tall ceilings. A new series of Walter & Zoniels over-painted photographic portraits - which remove the visual identity of their subject whilst leaving their settings intact - are also featured in the exhibition.
Liz Whitehead, Fabricas Director, curator of the project said, For Fabrica, A Simple Act of Wonder is the first in what we hope will become a longer term programme of opportunities for artists that link to the Moulsecoomb and Bevendean communities through the visual arts. We are excited to begin this journey, with such colourful and joyful artwork, that so many people can see and that so many took part in making. We wanted to highlight it now, for the communities that helped bring it to life and who are able to experience the works at a safe distance, whether that be on their daily outdoor time or to brighten the journey of one of our valued key workers. We hope once it is safe to do so we can work to create new connections across the city as planned and use this work to do so.
The artists added, The outdoor works in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean celebrate areas of the city that have a wealth of fascinating stories, which we have drawn inspiration from in creating a new narrative whilst exploring the nature of connectedness and concept of representation. We have used our favourite tools of playfulness and surrealism on a large scale to engage people in the wonder that is naturally present around us, but maybe less often observed. We hope that the communities in these areas we have created the works will enjoy them for now and others can visit when they are able.
During lockdown, the artists have been making a series of video diaries to record the project and giving an insight into their process of making the work.