CAMPLE LINE, near Thornhill, is delighted to announce our new exhibition for spring, Kira Freije’s solo presentation river by night, opening 25 March. It will be Freije’s first solo exhibition in Scotland. A talk with the artist will take place on the afternoon of Saturday 13 May.
The exhibition title – river by night – offers a tentative narrative hook, alluding to the presence of the river Cample, just some 15 metres from the gallery building, and imparting a nocturnal register, at once comforting and unnerving. The tall streetlamp from which the exhibition takes its title looms at the head of the gallery – an unlikely beacon, a marker of a dissolving threshold between interior and outer worlds.
Installed across the gallery’s upstairs and downstairs spaces, the exhibition offers a new configuration of recent sculptural work, and includes a group of wall-based works made for the show comprising compressed metal and mouth blown glass forms. It brings together elements that recur in Freije’s wider body of work – the human presence, narrative fragments, evocation of time and place, and references to interior states and to the built and natural worlds – which take on a distinct charge in relation to Cample’s domestic scale and rural setting.
Freije’s sculptures are often described as ‘poetic assemblages.’ Primarily working with metal, Freije employs techniques such as welding and cold forming when working in steel, whilst she casts with aluminium. A number of the sculptures included in river by night also feature glass, mouth blown by a glassblower, filling voids in metal cages with bulging, amorphous shapes. Through bending, casting, tacking and fusing, Freije forms her work through the process of its making, working slowly and intuitively and allowing for ‘the vitality of the accidental.’
Freije has described herself as a ‘gatherer of materials, from many different sources’, referring to the found materials that she amasses (‘a lot from the scrapyard, offcuts from previous works…cam belts that have fallen off mopeds on the street or disused liquor bottles or car coolant parts…’), and to what she calls ‘more premeditated material gathering.’
‘There’s more purposeful gathering or created material, where I might cut down from a stock metal that I get in, cut a tube into very particular angles or pie slices and I’ll repeat that process 80 times…or I’ll repeatedly plasma-cut a leaf shape 200 times. Each one will be different, not necessarily with an exact purpose in mind, but a loose purpose, and those will become part of the grouping of the gathered material,’ says the artist
Likewise, Freije has spoken about an ‘idea of pacing’, a notion of rhythm in relationship to space as informing the way in which she brings groups of works together. At the same time as she is gathering materials for new works, she has said she is also doing the same with words; collecting one-liners that come to mind, or short poetic phrases or sentences which offer pieces of narrative, of mood or atmosphere and often become the titles of works: ‘…the relationship between poetry and sculpture is particularly important to me, increasingly so, and the comparative structures that the two crafts share, especially when I’m thinking about constructing new groups of work.’
At the other end of the gallery, a pair of figures entitled fireworks stand together as if looking out of a window onto CAMPLE LINE’s greenspace below and the river beyond, whilst another, entitled permanence of a sacred tongue, is dropped on one knee with her head back and hands raised as though in a moment of private reverie.
river by night is accompanied by newly commissioned writing by Francesca Wade. Wade has written: ‘Wandering among these enigmatic figures — shards of light glancing off their steel forms — there’s a sense of something otherworldly, something not quite decipherable about their relationships to each other, to time, and to us.’
Light works such as memory of the voyager and Autumn dusk are
interspersed amongst the figures, conjuring a sense of the fading day, of the
journey ending, of one thing becoming another, of the liminal state. Freije has
also included three new wall-based works made for the exhibition, which
feature tightly compressed metal with blown glass lanterns affixed to them.
Recalling the dimensions of an open book as well as of Renaissance relief
panels, they are suggestive of collective experience, of stories to be shared,
of wisdom to be had. In her text, Wade notes: ‘Here, lights make a community
of these separate figures, anchored to the floor, each in their own world, yet
sharing space as if in solidarity.’
river by night
25 March – 10 June 2023
Thursday to Sunday, 11am-4pm
Supported by Creative Scotland, The Elephant Trust and The Henry Moore Foundation.