Ill communication. New art exhibition at Castlefield.

Creative Tourist

Leo Fitzmaurice and Kim Rugg bring their communication art to Castlefield Gallery

The subjects of a new two-person exhibition at Castlefield Gallery, Leo Fitzmaurice and Kim Rugg are an inspired pairing. Both artists work with mass-media print – books, newspapers, magazines, comics and signs, although they take very different approaches to the material. Director Kwong Lee, who curated the exhibition with Clarissa Corfe, describes what the artists do as “creating a dialogue between the information age and the physical world.”

“We’re very excited by making links between these two artists because both use mass-produced printed materials and deconstruct them in a way that makes you look at them differently,” Lee said. “It’s a very fundamental transformation; it’s not alchemy, not changing water into wine, but more like excavating meaning and symbols. It’s interesting how they can clarify what you see by removing things, and in doing so question how we recieve information.”

Liverpool-based Leo Fitzmaurice takes printed materials found in our everyday enviroment, including packaging, advertising and signage, playing with the information it offers to create new messages. Past projects have seen him manufacture intricate artworks from stacks of leftover flyers, or remove all text from commerical packaging to create oddly compelling mini-structures, even arranging them into cities. The Detourist project has seen him use these materials to create fascinating, temporary interventions in public spaces all over the world – in one example, the instantly-recognisable red cardboard pouches that hold McDonald’s french fries were arranged over a Shanghai pole to create a makeshift loudspeaker; in another, he arranged plastic bag “rabbits” around the steps of a derelict building in Liverpool.

Kim Rugg, a Canadian artist working in London, is probably best known for her work with newspapers. She has taken front pages of newspapers such as The Daily Mail and The New York Times on days that were historically significant and painstakingly cut out and rearranged the letters into alphabetical order, all while keeping the overall design of the page intact. The images are separated into pixels and re-ordered by colour. With original meaning removed and a new system imposed on it, the newspaper becomes something else entirely. Postage stamps are dissected into tiny pieces, rearranged and sent through the mail on a letter. Other projects have seen Rugg put comic books, wallpaper and striped sweaters through a similar reconditioning, creating new and strange objects out of the most unremarkable of things.


Leo Fitzmaurice and Kim Rugg at Castlefield Gallery, 19 February- 3 April.  Free entry. Images (top to bottom): both Leo Fitzmaurice, courtesy the artist

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