Mark Hutchinson

Escape from Studio Voltaire

Studio Voltaire presents Escape from Studio Voltaire, the first solo exhibition in London by Mark Hutchinson. The project consists of two parts: an installation in the gallery and a booklet to be taken away.

“The claustrophobic is […] an amateur escape artist. He needs in order to physically survive, to be ingenious about his exits and entrances.” – Adam Philips

The scene in the gallery is chaotic and interrupted: it is full of tables and chairs, there is barely enough space to walk amongst them. The tables are laden with large sheets of paper. These overlap and overflow, some have fallen to the floor. These papers are drawings, diagrams and information suggesting how one might leave the gallery, should the door prove inadequate. The plans of escape range from the simple and practical–routes through neighbouring streets – to the elaborate and fanciful-escaping from the roof in a hot air balloon.

The second part of the project, a booklet, is available at the entrance to the gallery. It contains two writings: one is an extract from an old case history of a self-declared claustrophobic artist by New York-based analyst Jennifer Bird, the second is an essay in which Hutchinson uses the symptoms of claustrophobia to elaborate on the difficulties of being a critically and politically engaged artist. The artist, like the claustrophobic person, can feel constricted by surrounding structures. It is the possibility of escape, however unlikely in practice, that needs to be kept alive through a process of vigilance and imagination.

In recent work, Mark Hutchinson has set up reflexive relationships between elements of installation and text. This stems from a wish to dramatise the relationships between art, spectator and gallery, as well as to implicate reading in the process of looking.

Supported by Arts Council England, London and Roger Le Borde.

  1. Mark Hutchinson is a nominated artist for Pilot London and will also be showing at Ship Gallery, Cable Street, in November 2004. He has previously exhibited at Collective Gallery, Edinburgh; ICA, London, Chisenhale Gallery and at Bank’s gallery Poo Poo. Curatorial projects have taken place at the Chisenhale Gallery; Djanology Gallery, Nottingham and London Print Studio.

  2. Mark Hutchinson, Escape from Studio Voltaire, 2004. Installation View, Studio Voltaire, London. Courtesy of the artist and Studio Voltaire, London.

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