Spike Island: Alex Cecchetti, Zoë Paul and Andrew Mania

Alex Cecchetti: At the Gates of the Music Palace. “The molecules in rocks, plants, and water, those in a glass, in a table, or in a hand, all of them are instantly vibrating.  Light vibrates too.  If something vibrates it has to make a sound.  And if everything has a sound, then the universe is an orchestra, happiness must be a form of accord, a note we get all together.” (From the exhibition brochure)

Curator: Vanessa Boni: focus on the relationship between storytelling, gesture and sound.

Venue: Spike Island: This is an enormous exhibition requiring chambers which will do justice to the sound generated by visitors to the spaces.  Colour and music are important in the exhibition and are catered for well.   There was only 1 thing I would have liked to have seen = some signage at the lines installation – there were explanations at all sections leading up to the ‘erotic cabinet’ but beyond that, at the lines and sound, there was no explanation or introduction.


Singing line (2018) Alcantra, glass, metal, copper, story, wind chimes.

IMG_1721.jpgAs an installation this had a superb rhythm and life of its own. “A ribbon is hanging from the ceiling and resting on top of copper strips.  When a breeze blows in, or you walk by, the ribbon swings and sings.  If you wait long enough a bird will come to tell you a story or a poem and reveal the secrets of the curves.” (Exhibition brochure)



The glass bird beaks make superb, fragile sound chambers, and the water phone – the rods at the top of the chandelier – is mesmerising.

Highlights:  The highlights for me were the chandelier and the lines.  The others were perhaps a little gimmicky.  The 8 channel sound system is great if you like technology, and relaxing on the ‘sea bed’ was interesting but I felt self-conscious with all the other visitors coming in and out.

I like the idea of sound reacting to the movement of the visitors.

What I took away with me about the work:

I love the cross-discipline aspect of the work: sound, light & movement interact together really well.  You have to know your media well or you need to have access to people who know how to make it work to your advantage.

The line drawings have given me the courage to use my rock fault lines as images in their own right for the exhibition.

What I took away with me about myself:

That I also respond well to a cross-discipline approach.  Cecchetti the artist (is he related to the ballet dancer, I wonder) worked from a principle that movement and therefore music / sound is basic to existence and his work demonstrates it all very well.  Had the exhibition  been about just one of the elements, it would not have had the same impact or held my interest.


Get to an allotment, perhaps, and record people working since I can’t record prisoners working, & use it as a sound track for my projected image installation.

Rate the exhibition: 4.5*


Andrew Mania: Snapshot of a Collection.

“Mania explores identity, sexuality and nostalgia through portrait drawing.  he juxtaposes vintage photos (1923 – 48) selected for their aesthetic or mystery, with sensual drawings of Mania’s friends and acquaintances.”(Brochure)

Curator: None given.

Venue: The room was the smallest space in the complex and seemed to diminish the value attributed to the collection by the centre.  Who decided on the size, position, access?


Given my idea to make a quilt for my exhibition, I really enjoyed seeing the quilt.

IMG_1702.jpg        IMG_1703.jpg


Unlike the different elements of Cecchetti’s work which appeared to have been made by experts in their field, Mania did not appear to have the same ethic in his work: the quilt was badly finished: the edges did not match and the corner badly finished.

What I took away with me about the work:

Mania lives with his vast collections and the quilt is one of the items.  “He makes frequent use of fabrics, second-hand frames, interior objects and backdrops; in this he conjures an intimate, decadent aesthetic that nods to the tradition of the aesthete.”(Exhibition guide)  I don’t know if I agree that there is sufficient justification for the exhibition to exist other than pandering to the self-indulgence of the artist.

What I took away from the work about me:













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