Duncan Higgins: Unloud
The fifth edition in the Sensuous Knowledge series is written by the UK-based artist Duncan Higgins and describes a project he undertook on the island of Solovki in the remote parts of in North Russia. It is known as the site of Stalin’s first and largest gulag complex made famous by Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago”.
Duncan Higgins (2009)
Price: EUR 10 / NOK 80
The fifth edition in the Sensuous Knowledge series is written by the UK-based artist Duncan Higgins and describes a project he undertook on the island of Solovki in the remote parts of in North Russia. It is known as the site of Stalin's first and largest gulag complex made famous by Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago".
This publication is the development of a presentation titled "What is Unloud?" that Higgins held at the fourth Sensuous Knowledge conference in November 2007.
Excerts from the edition:
Since December 2004 I have been visiting Solovki in winter and summer developing a body of work collectively titled unloud. I see this as an interrelated set of activities consisting of painting, drawing, texts and video. These elements are further explored through events: exhibition, talks, workshops, teaching and publication.
I see Unloud as part love story, part ghost story, part fact, part fiction, part narrative, part reportage and almost a painted film, something that might be linking fact or the imaginary, creating conditions that perhaps temporarily suspends us between those two poles.
The whole activity is lead by three prosaic questions: What is painting? What is a painting? What do I need in order to make a painting? I see painting as my most relevant language of creative invention, a marriage of craft and imagination, thought and action, an activity of imaginative possibilities inscribed with the autobiographical. The current series of 1600 paintings form a collective sequence, each painting measuring 10 x 7 cm. The use of video acts as both information for the paintings and also as potential time based reportage filmed on Solovki since 2004.
I see drawing as a testing ground and activity of accumulated touches, currently informed by archival material from Solovki State Museum Reserve Archive. Finally, I see the use of text as an exploration of ideas and narratives that exists in the gaps between the paintings, drawings and video.
About the author
Duncan Higgins (1963) has lived and worked as an artist in Sheffield, UK, since 1990. He has been exhibiting in an ongoing programme of individual, group and curated exhibitions nationally and internationally. Higgins is currently undertaking a three year NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) fellowship and is on sabbatical leave from Nottingham Trent University School of Art and Design, UK, where he was joint course leader of the BA Hons Fine Art programme.
Focus on Artistic Research and Development Sensuous Knowledge: Focus on Artistic Research and Development is an international series of peer reviewed shorter publications presenting finished or ongoing artistic research projects of high and exemplary value, alternating with papers of the same high quality with analytical, theoretical, or didactic
themes related to artistic research. The series is published in Norway by the Bergen National Academy of the Arts (Kunsthøgskolen i Bergen, KHiB) as part of the Sensuous Knowledge Project: Conferences, Publications, Website (see www.sensuousknowledge.org).
The aim of the series is to contribute to the development of elevated standards for presentation of and reflection on artistic research in print media. It is primarily addressed to practitioners from all art disciplines (including design and performative arts), and academic staff and students in higher education in the arts.
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