Les Bicknell’s Talking City Com:mission

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Updated on April 2nd, 2010


Les Bicknell has been selected for the Talking City Com:mission Action Research.

The Com:missions explore the impact that one artist can make in one place, in one day. The com:missions are designed to investigate the impact of short, sharp interventions within the public realm, and question how working quickly and responsively feels for the artist.

Artist Statement:

An exploration of the ideas around a sense of place has been at the core of my practice. This could be a personal mapping of my surroundings, working with a Parish Council to celebrate its specialness or researching the history of a specific space to create appropriate and meaningful pieces of public art. The use of the book form has developed my connection to and an understanding of audience and heightened my understanding of the idea of communication. These ideas around the book manifest themselves as form as content and manipulation as narrative.

Current relationships with government administrations on the development of spaces for the public have strengthened my interest in the role of the artist in society. This connects with the exploring reflective practice through a virtual learning environment in my role as Senior Lecturer at Norwich University College of the Arts.

My practice in general explores the idea of the book; specifically this body of work is an exploration of ideas around a sense of place.

The book as a symbol of power and knowledge can be a vehicle to communicate directly; it is a form that is understood in these terms but repositioning its context and purpose challenges these very notions. The work becomes a question rather than an answer, a collaboration between maker and reader/viewer. The practical aspects of the book form, of disseminating information; of making things clearer is an interesting idea to question.

The sculptural forms are derived from and examine the book form. The work explores the idea of form as a content and manipulation as the narrative.

The work positions itself conceptually and physically between and within the idea of both sculpture and book. The hybrid nature of the work finds its roots in both forms – exploring and challenging both genres.

The idea of a sense of place comes from stillness and silence, a reflective experience of taking time to look, listen and consider the spaces I find myself in and my connection to them. The immediate landscape around my house and the walks I undertake provide a starting point for the work, the unseen and the seen have equal worth when making the work.



TALKING CITY is Anna Francis’ Longhouse Guest Editor project, for March 2010.

Click here to go to the project page.


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