Limen Locale is a solo commission where Thomas-Irvine are pushing the idea of ‘charged materials’ onto an architectural scale to create a “superimposed situation”.
Amy Thomas & Oliver Irvine
16 April – 25 June 2016
Limen Locale at g39 is an ambitious new solo commission by collaborative duo Thomas-Irvine who work in sculpture, photography and choreographed live scenarios.
Thomas-Irvine have taken ‘Forensic Architecture’ as a starting point for Limen Locale. Forensic Architecture is spatial and architectural evidence, a sort of archaeology that is used to analyse the impacts of urban warfare for clues about the crimes that were perpetrated there.
Over a year ago the duo discovered a set of concrete structures that resemble minimalist sculpture and architecture, sitting empty in a field in Portreath, Cornwall. They discovered that the site belongs to RRH Portreath, previously known as Nancekuke, a chemical defense establishment. Nancekuke was a key nuclear production facility that manufactured and distributed twenty tons of the nerve agent Sarin, a lethal poison that has been used in chemical warfare across the world e.g. WW2, Tokyo 1995 and Syria 2013. Sarin is a schedule 1 substance, has no smell or taste and is colourless, making it one of the most deadliest and restricted chemicals in existence. After its closure in 1970s its nuclear chambers were buried on the cliffs and chemical waste dumped into the nearby ocean.
The site is now grotty and dilapidated, used as shelter by homeless people or for parties and fires. At g39 Thomas-Irvine have inverted the spaces to create a clinical and imposing minimalist structure that gives a sense of the regimented physicality of the original site but subverting it to resemble the ‘white cube’ cleanliness of art fair booths.
Thomas-Irvine are interested in how architecture hints at what goes on in a space, focusing on the Liminal point; the point where something can happen that is barely perceptible but creates a physiological or psychological response.
Limen Locale is an installation that “superimposes” elements from Nancekuke, blurring them onto the context of the industrial space at g39. This work layers Thomas-Irvine’s fascination with gallery architecture, how they are designed to house works and the implications of these spaces. Inside the stark white installation the artists have placed heavy minimalist sculptures and images that blur and invert references to the derelict site. They have overlaid this with the idea of the inherent expectations of contemporary gallery interior design.
Throughout Limen Locale the artists are paying homage to minimalist aesthetics and social contexts of architecture. They have created a multi-faceted installation that explores “a sense of unease in the everyday”.
Thomas-Irvine have recently undertaken a residency at Still House Group NYC. They have constructed live events at The Garage CCC Moscow over two years, The Tate Tanks, The Tate Britain and founded a sculptural site in Deptford: ATOI & CULL. ATOI have had notable solo shows at Karst-Plymouth, Aid&Abet- Cambridge, Anarch- London, La Fragua-Spain and The Chinese European Art Centre- China. They currently live and work in Cornwall