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An artistic exploration of the West Quarter in Exeter
By Laura Joint
BBC Devon

Volkhardt Mueller
Volkhardt Mueller presents an unusual view of the West Quarter

A range of medium are brought together in an exhibition exploring the vibrant community life in Exeter's West Quarter.

Random Acts of Art at Spacex in Exeter features the work of three artists in residence who have been working with members of the local community.

The week-long exhibition takes place on 24 April to 1 May 2010.

And in a one-off event, archive photographs will show what life used to be like in this part of Exeter.

The three artists have produced contrasting elements to depict life in the West Quarter.

Lady Lucy
Lady Lucy at work in someone's garden

Lady Lucy is a portrait artist based in London, but she studied fine art in Exeter; film-maker Volkhardt Mueller was born in Germany and now lives in Exeter; and London-based Amy Feneck has written a theatrical monologue using stories she has collected from members of the local community.

Project co-ordinator at the Spacex, Martha Crean, said: "We wanted our artists to have varying levels of connections with the city, so they would have differing perspectives.

"Lady Lucy constructed a mobile portrait cart and she has been out and about in people's gardens on the estate in Mermaid Court, Wheatley Court and Neptune Court.

"She has been inviting people to sit with her for half an hour in conversation, and at the same time she does their portrait.

A portrait
The sitters will be able to keep their portraits

"It has been really amazing because we didn't know how people would respond - and they've been great, shouting up to their neighbours to come and have their portraits done as well."

Lucy is aiming to showcase 30 portraits at the exhibition and on the final day, the 'sitters' can collect their pictures at an end-of-exhibition tea party.

Volkhardt Mueller has been collecting people's memories of the Fore Street area and the result is a highly unusual view of the city.

"Lots of people spoke to him about their memories of the carnival which used to take place in Fore Street," explained Martha.

"So he started working with a majorette, filming her from rooftops and other unusual locations so his film shows a very odd perspective of the West Quarter."

Amy Feneck has built up her connections with Exeter during her two month residency and is using the independent spirit of the West Quarter as her inspiration.

Martha said: "This area is very different to the commercial centre of Exeter, and its social history is also different.

"In her work, Amy has has interviewed characters who illustrate that independent spirit, for example members of CND.

"From her interviews, she has written a script and is working with an actor for a theatrical monologue performance which will be filmed and shown at the exhibition."

An archive photo
How the West Quarter used to look (Isca Collection)

During the week, a series of other related events are also being staged at Spacex - including a presentation of archive images of the West Quarter.

The event at 7pm on 27 April is staged by Exeter historian Peter Thomas, who manages the photos in the Isca Historical Photographic Collection which stores some 60,000 images.

"For many Exonians the area referred to as the West Quarter has a special importance and affection," said Peter.

"During my talk I will give a unique visual insight into the history of the area, evoking memories of the city that are very different from what we see today.

"Many unique photos will be shown."

You can see a selection by viewing our photo gallery.

For more information about the exhibition and related events, phone the number below or visit the Spacex website which is linked.

Random Acts of Art
Spacex, Exeter
24 April - 1 May 2010
01392 431786




SEE ALSO
In pictures: Exeter West Quarter
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A brush with the elements
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