Axisweb Selects: Amelia Crouch

Sheila McGregor

Amelia Crouch’s video work sees outdated manners performed in a picturesque landscape. With an exhibition currently at The Hepworth, Wakefield, she’s our final Axisweb Selects artist.

Artist Amelia Crouch uses print, video and installation to explore the relationship between visual and verbal communication. Her latest video piece, Nor stamp hard on the ground neither, entertainingly revisits the manners of a bygone age, with a group of performers enacting and sometimes disobeying the instructions contained in an 18th century book of etiquette, Adam Petrie’s Rules of Good Deportment or of Good Breeding (1720). The artist choreographs their movements in the setting of a landscape designed by Capability Brown for what was once the site of Whitley Beaumont House in Kirklees.

When researching the historical background, Crouch latched onto the landscape architect’s description of his own creative process as something akin to an act of literary composition: “Now there’ said he, pointing his finger, ‘I make a comma, and there,’ pointing to another spot, ‘where a more decided turn is proper, I make a colon; at another part, where an interruption is desirable to break the view, a parenthesis; now a full stop, and then I begin another subject.” (Capability Brown in conversation with Mrs Hannah More, 1782)

A piece that lays bare the constructed nature of a seemingly natural landscape

This gave Crouch the perfect starting point for a piece that lays bare the constructed nature of Brown’s seemingly natural landscape, whilst simultaneously investigating the social, political and philosophical codes that dictate how human beings interact with their surroundings, and with one another.

“I hope the video is also quite funny,” Crouch says. “The performers in the piece are untrained and they mix male and female people of different ages. One thing I didn’t anticipate is that their awkwardness works quite well. They look a bit stilted and I think this conveys the idea of walking and of social identity being something that is performed.”

Nor stamp hard on the ground neither is on show until 31 May at The Calder, the new contemporary art space adjoining The Hepworth Wakefield, where Crouch’s fellow exhibitors, Giles Bailey and Ruth Lyons, are also showing work inspired by Capability Brown. Entitled The Follies of Youth, the exhibition forms part of a larger project by a pioneering collective of artists, designers, researchers and curators, who are working with visual arts organisation Pavilion to map heritage landscapes in West Yorkshire.

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January, February, March, April, even May… we’ve plenty for you to look forward to live literature wise as 2019 unfolds – from performance poetry and soundscapes to readings from magazines, memoirs and award-winning short stories.

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January brings a focus on women-centric cinema, classic revivals and international hits.

Tours and Activities

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Things to do right now

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Cheese Making at Food Sorcery
Activity 19–20 January 2019, from £100

Cheese Making at Food Sorcery

Mandy Barker: Hong Kong Soup at CFCCA Manchester
Exhibitions 12 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

Mandy Barker: Hong Kong Soup at CFCCA

Charwei Tsai: Bulaubulau at CFCCA
Exhibitions 12 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

Charwei Tsai: Bulaubulau at CFCCA

ReFrame at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 20 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

ReFrame at Manchester Art Gallery

Cinema 7 December 2018–20 January 2019, from £5

Slapstick Film Season at HOME

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Festivals 13 December 2017–20 January 2019,

HOME at Christmas

PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME
Festivals 11–26 January 2019,

PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME

LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery
Exhibitions 29 September 2018–27 January 2019, FREE

LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery

Craft Beer Tour Around Manchester
Food and Drink 1 November 2018–1 February 2019, from £30

Craft Beer Tour Around Manchester

Exhibitions 12 January–1 February 2019, FREE

Motion Sickness at STOCK Gallery

The Producers - A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange
Music 30 November 2018–2 February 2019, from £10.00

The Producers – A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange