A selection of visual documentation from the exhibition Mutter by the artist and writer Kit Poulson, who was the library residency artist during 2016/17 through a collaborative commission platform titled You Must Locate A Fantasy, an initiative for artists to work with libraries, special collections and archives across the UK, organised by Book Works with Chelsea College of Arts Library and Chelsea Space. The exhibition took place from 25 January – 3 March 2017.
Poulson took peculiarities of technology as a starting point for his residency, with the aim to develop from it an idiosyncratic working method to investigate the library at Chelsea as a physical and dynamic space. Using the underlying motif of an analogue synthesizer, the Roland 303, to explore anti-systemic, intuitive and improvisational working methods. The project asked what ‘knowledge’ might be and how it is communicated.
Exhibiting painting, sound works and objects alongside a series of short films, a collaboration with the filmmaker Ben Owen — which explore improvisational practices well understood by musicians, alongside Poulson’s writing, the show explored a different way of thinking about libraries and archives, beyond fixed static spaces, but as dynamic, emotional spaces, sites of chance or extempore encounters. Poulson is interested in books’ materiality; not in the well explored sense of the printed artifact as a structure to be played with but rather in seeing a book as a solidification of the flux of consciousness, that can be explored through a range of mediums, willfully misunderstood and that resists dissolving into ideas.
The exhibition was accompanied by a reading room selected from the library’s archives and collections. A live performance drawn from the forthcoming publication commissioned as part of this project is planned for the opening night, with Kit Poulson, Ben Owen and musicians who have contributed to the film.
Poulson has been worked with librarian Gustavo Grandal Montero and BA Fine Art and MA Curating and Collections students at Chelsea to produce and curate materials that were incorporated into a display in the library and the exhibition at Chelsea space.