Transience - Susan Aldworth

GV Art
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Event details

Event date: 
18 June
19 June
20 June
21 June
22 June
Event duration: 
6 Hours
Type of event: 
All ages
Venue name: 
GV Art
49 Chiltern Street

About the event

Could I translate the physicality of the brain into an artwork? It would be the ultimate portrait of someone – made from the authentic marks of the physical brain itself. Susan Aldworth 2013

This solo exhibition, Transience, presented by GV Art gallery, London, includes ground-breaking work by the artist Susan Aldworth as she continues her investigations into the relationship between mind and body. Since 1999, Aldworth, an experimental print and film maker who combines digital photography and state-of-the-art medical imagery in her work, has explored the depths of consciousness and the transience of self. Her persistent fascination with the physical brain has led to a new body of work which has evolved using techniques from the most traditional to the more radical, as shown in this exhibition. In Transience Aldworth explores the brain as matter and has made a suite of prints – a historical first - etching directly from human brain tissue.

Susan Aldworth has spent time in operating theatres and dissecting rooms, watching the most delicate medical procedures from which she has drawn inspiration — painting and sketching in a way similar to how we imagine the Old Masters discovered more about human anatomy. Her residency at the Royal London Hospital, where she observed brain scans and other digital imaging processes, has led to her work focusing on the brain which, for the last twelve years has been the starting point for much of her work. “Adapting imagery from scans and EEGs, Susan Aldworth has sought to picture this idea of self, and to give us illuminating visual metaphors for the unfathomable mysteries of human consciousness”.(Gill Saunders, Senior Curator (Prints) Victoria & Albert Museum. Catalogue: Susan Aldworth The Portrait Anatomised 2013)

Aldworth has further explored the relationship between the self and the physical brain by working on a series of challenging portraits of people with dementia, schizophrenia, epilepsy and Down’s syndrome. This exhibition, which coincides with The Portrait Anatomised, her display at the National Portrait Gallery, London, takes portraiture into new territory.

Aldworth has developed unique methodologies and has worked with two of the most eminent printmakers in this country, Stanley Jones and Nigel Oxley. Oxley has long been a collaborator, experimenting with etching techniques which have pushed the boundaries of this medium to new limits. Aldworth wanted to explore the brain as an object - would it be possible to translate the physicality of the brain into an etching? Would it be the ultimate portrait of someone? In partnership with the Parkinson’s Brain Bank at Hammersmith Hospital, Aldworth and Oxley developed a technique whereby they could capture the authentic marks of the brain on an etching plate. Working with a human brain was a transformative and emotional experience; the images revealed themselves gradually through this very ancient process and the prints, although taken from a cross-section, unexpectedly seemed to expose a consciousness at work. Passing Thoughts, the digital prints of the brain which are also included in this show, were serendipitous - they captured a transient image which existed momentarily and then disappeared like a thought.

Susan Aldworth is an artist working primarily with portraiture using print, film, drawing, photography and collage. She has held a residency at the Gordon Museum of Pathology, is currently artist-in-residence at the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University and teaches at Norwich University of the Arts. Aldworth has exhibited and lectured internationally and her work is held in public and private collections, including the V & A, The British Museum and The Wellcome Collection Library.


GV Art
020 8408 9800


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