Friday, February 17, 2017

The Lurky Place, 1978

Patrick Dreher
Brazilian agate
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Texts below are from "Statement on The Lurky Place (1977-78)" in Stephen Willats : Concerning Our Present Way of Life (London : Whitechapel Gallery, 1979) 

"Not far from the busy shopping centre of Hayes in West London, there exists a large, seemingly abandoned area of land known to the residents of surrounding housing estates as the 'Lurky Place'.  Completely hemmed in by various manifestations of institutional society, the Lurky Place is a waste land, isolated and contained.  It is this symbolic separation from an institutionalized society that gives the Lurky Place its value for local inhabitants.  While the Lurky Place is, of course, actually dependent on society for its existence, the local inhabitants view it as being outside the norms and stereotypes of everyday life.  It has become a territory for pursuits which cannot be undertaken within institutional society, and, as such, is a symbol of a consciousness counter to the dominant authoritative consciousness."

Branch of Coral as Netsuke 
early 19th century
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

"In the work The Lurky Place, the waste land is seen as a vehicle for a 'counter-consciousness', which takes the form of self-determined behaviors.  The determinism of the dominant culture is inferred in the work by the objects transported into the 'Lurky Place' by people engaging in various pursuits.  I photographed these items in situ and used them as triggers for making connections back into the institutionalized society from which they originated and from which they have been freed.  The manufacture of an item, and its decomposition in the Lurky Place represent two totally different value structures which  while existing in a state of alienation from each other  are nevertheless linked by a linear path of events through time.  The movement of an item from location to location represents a point of change in the way that item's function is perceived.  In the linear system: A. Factory, B. Home, C. Lurky Place, three points are represented which transform the perception of the item's function.  There can  therefore be quite a clear distinction between an item's assumed function in manufacture and its subsequent function in the Lurky Place."

Seal of Princes Paskevich and Volkonsky
coral, gold, chalcedony
ca. 1850
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

"The transportation of an item into the Lurky Place represents a fundamental point of transformation.  Two types of transformation occur: 1. an article is given a use other than that intended at its manufacture; and 2. the intended use of certain items can only be fulfilled by being freed from the constraining conventions of everyday life.  In both cases the transformation of the item also frees the persons who vest in it changes of function.  For these persons, the article becomes an agent for manifesting a consciousness counter to that of the institutional society from which they are escaping.  The mundane routines of the day are relieved by pursuits in the Lurky Place, the key to which lies in the transportation of items."

Francesco Bertos
Lapiths and Centaur
early 18th century
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg