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Victoria Adam, middens ❧



21 November 2015 - 16 January 2016

PV Friday 20 November, 6-9pm

She is not very happy with life. Anne tends to feel trapped and insecure about herself and her ideas. Her income and education are below average. She is from the South. Typically, Annes are under 25 or over 50, the ‘ages of anxiety’. Anne is highly conscious of the appearance of others and of being feminine in the traditional sense. Therefore, she has a high discernment of smell and a liking for highly perfumed products and fragrances that last. Perfume and fragrance brighten Anne’s day [1]


[1]  Consumer profiling by Quest International reproduced in J. Byrne-Quinn, Perfume, People, Perceptions and Products in eds Steve Van Toller and George H Dodd, Perfumery: The Psychology and Biology of Fragrance, 1994



Victoria Adam’s first solo exhibition in London was a collection of new works formed through a six month Materials Residency with a focus on clay and ceramics.  Set within Kingsgate Workshops, where artists and craftspeople converge; Adam was invited to explore and test new media and methods and how they might extend her practice.


Victoria Adam collects obsolescence.  A midden (from the early Scandinavian mødding) is essentially an ancient refuse container.  Materials that, once exhausted, found themselves cast aside are now routinely excavated and examined by archaeologists.  They provide an accumulated image of leftovers that point to routine; the day-in-day-out of ancestors.  Shells, vessels, botanical material, vermin, artefacts and ecofacts, all lay in wait in the old dumps. Over the last six months, the artist has been wandering around the locale of Kingsgate, picking up dog-eared ring-stained copies of ‘70s bathroom design books, outdated wine guides,  Kim and Aggie’s How Clean Is Your House?, and a Vogue manual from the early ‘80s.


Intuitively feeling her way through the texture, shape, slipperiness, Adam enfolds herself within the production of desire.  A vessel with finger marks fired, scattered with grains and coated with water.  Familiarity breeds indifference, and these substances - building materials and scented toiletries - at once cared for, copied, restaged are also engaged in self-critique.  They are mismanaged.  The cotton wool bud is confused by its sudden redundancy as a tool and new life as a prop, a visual object in a sequence of almost-products made object. Fragrances that once existed in nature are made anew in synthetic form, as 'tropical breezes’ or 'morning dew'.


Adam’s embodied materialism appears as a coping method for being in the world.  To re-produce and re-present these objects that have been sold, and understand them better through co-option, bringing them closer in aggressive compliance.  The Medusa shield reflects rather than confronts.


These sculptural forms are not a celebration of consumerism, they are not the bright and bouncy aesthetics of Coke commerce, they are fragile and introspective; they hold time as deferred touch.  Fragments that point to the civilisation, as Virginia Woolf writes in Mrs. Dalloway, “...when London is a grass-grown path and all those hurrying along the pavement this Wednesday morning are but bones with a few wedding rings mixed up in their dust and the gold stoppings of innumerable decayed teeth”.






Closing Event | With regards to Anne who is not happy… | Saturday 16 January 2-5pm


An intimate event set within Victoria Adam’s residency exhibition at Kingsgate Project Space, five invited artists, academics, curators and writers will consider scent, cleanliness and commercialism tangentially, and in relation to the research and work of Kingsgate residency artist Victoria Adam.








Victoria Adam (b. 1983, Somerset) graduated from the Royal Academy of Art in 2015 and previously attended the Slade. Recent exhibitions include ( ゜_゜)彡 at Caustic Coastal, Manchester, 2014, Chalk Blush at Kinman, London, 2014 and Amsterdam Art Weekend at Marian Cramer Projects, Amsterdam, 2015.


Nacre by Gareth Bell-Jones was a text commissioned on the occasion of middens ❧ and accompanied the exhibition. 


Adam has created a series of 50 signed limited edition risograph prints on paper. Working with artist framers Lord and Duplooy, the artist has selected a frame specifically for this print. Buy the print here


* The exhibition was be closed between 20 December 2015 - 6 January 2016





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