I did not anticipate this......

A collaboration between Matthew Richardson, Jackie Chettur, Richard Bevan and Rebecca Spooner. Curated by Anthony Shapland with a new piece of writing commissioned from writer Sian Melangell Dafydd.

The premise for the project was the recognition of strong connections between working practices. One connection was a preoccupation with time, in its broadest sense, and through that to something that might be ‘nostalgic’ and ‘romantic’. In confronting these problematic terms head on, there was a common desire to explore intuitive, ephemeral and emotional aspects through a shared fiction. Siân Melangell Dafydd spun a surreal and sensitive narrative from postcards found in the arcades of Paris. Each artist was given a postcard as a beginning. The visual narrative here began with the image of the soldier carrying a bunch of flowers and then evolved through oblique connections and chance finds, the images arranged to correspond  to the intimacies of the story as well as a larger historical narrative.

Funded by an A-N New Collaborations Bursary

Untitled Story 
(Excerpt) by Siân Melangell Dafydd, 

I think I'll tell the story of a man who hated the pretty, pretty Arcades of Paris but on this day, something had compelled him to go there, regardless.  He saw a deer’s head screwed onto a Martian’s body in a shop window and was so offended; he hoped never to go back there again.  

Or maybe not that story, exactly.  How about this: once, there was this woman.  She sat in her empty shop.  It was late afternoon but the rounded glass roof of the passage kept a certain lofty air of constant daytime, perfection and perfection, still.  She stared out towards the opposite window display which had been making her queasy since the day it was assembled.  She still couldn't make head or tail of it, or why anyone might be made to want to go into the shop after seeing that thing.  A deer's head placed on a bloated makeshift body made of wrapped up cooking foil like a giant butterfly's pupa, an absurd necklace of fuchsia berries choking it.  But it seemed to be saying something.  And it was glowing from the belly upwards because of the spotlights.  That window was the only place in the passage where shadows fell, or in this case, were cast, upwards, onto the shop ceiling so that the deer's squashed outline became a static, thrusting bull in black and yellow.

This was Séverine.  A beautiful name, isn't it?  One that carries with it the flutter and detail of flame.  Anyway, she herself actually was beautiful.  You might say, disturbingly pretty.  She didn't really see it herself, which made her all the more attractive, of course.

© Matthew Richardson 2024