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Blackpool’s Abingdon Studios (ABS) hosts an international collaboration with links very close to home.

The upcoming exhibition ROCKIFIED is the culmination of a 9 month residency at ABS for Brazilian artist Gustavo Ferro who has collaborated with London-based visual artist Sam Meredith.

Gustavo’s recent work comes from an investigation into artificial landscapes built with pulhamite, a material that resembles natural rock created by Pulham & Son and used to ‘rockify’ the cliffs in the North Shore of Blackpool in 1923. He says, “Recently I’ve been researching man-made objects and materials used to create artificial landscapes such as rock gardens.” During lockdown Gustavo started to visit these ‘rockified’ sites, researching their history and the techniques used to create them. This in turn led him to Sam’s work and they a remote collaboration between the two artists began.

Gustavo started developing homemade recipes,  mix designs to try and simulate the effect of pulhamite:
“In the studio, I’m experimenting with glass fibre reinforced concrete, combined with fragments of crowd control barriers, metal chains, cable ties and sand bags to develop a series of sculptures. They are ‘rockified’ anthropomorphic objects that relate to each other and the space to create their own harmony and state of being.”

Gustavo and Sam first met as part of the School of the Damned Cohort in 2018. During this time they began a conversation surrounding the materiality of objects and the process of making sculptures, travelling from city to city in the UK and engaging with each other by exploring their practices within different contexts.

During the exhibition ABS will act as a laboratory and workshop, allowing for the experimentation with glass fibre reinforced concrete to continue to unravel, exploring possibilities of working together through creating a site-responsive installation. For both artists tactility is important, their work is a collaboration with materials that demands kinship and presence, acknowledging the waste, sweat, labour, and love that goes into creation.

ROCKIFIED

Gustavo Ferro (São Paulo/Blackpool) in collaboration with Sam Meredith (London)

18 JUNE – 10 JULY
Open Wed – Sat: 11am – 4pm

Abingdon Studios, Project Space & Window Gallery, 14 Abingdon Street, Blackpool, FY1 1DE

This exhibition is accessible via stairs only at this time and the main doors will be locked.
To enter the building, ring the bell within opening hours and an invigilator will let you in.

About the artists

Gustavo Ferro (b.1988) is a visual artist based between Brazil and the United Kingdom. He is interested in the urban environment and the relationship between the human body and man-made objects. His approach to materials is experimental, working across different media such as sculpture, drawing, video and photography.

Sam Meredith (b.1991) is a visual artist based in London. Sam’s work arrives through the process of construction, unpicking objects he encounters by making moulds and casting multiples, then slowly assembling them into new hybrids. Sam enjoys documenting the pre-life of his sculptures, filming videos to elaborate on the experience of them being made.

This exhibition makes use of Abingdon Studios’ new Window Gallery which is a new partnership between Abingdon Studio and Blackpool Council. It builds on the former Culture Shops Project (est. 2013/14) and is supported by Heritage Action Zone funding.

This project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England with additional support from Abingdon Studios.

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