Artist Stephen Turner has commenced his artistic residency in the Exbury Egg an artist and architect designed bespoke wooden studio and artists home moored on the Beaulieu River in the New Forest.
During Stephen’s yearlong visual and philosophical journey he will develop and make new art works, in, on and around the Exbury Egg. He’ll spend twelve months making a range of artistic interventions creatively responding to the special sensitive nature of this unique location, it’s history and fragile ecology.
This residency element of the project offers Stephen a further opportunity to develop his highly regarded artistic practice, building upon the Seafort Project (2004 - 06) and more recently his residency as Bridge Guard on the Danube for Residential Art/Science Centre, Štúrovo, Slovakia (2011-12). Stephen Turner’s practice challenges disciplinary boundaries and involves sampling, collecting, annotating, editing and merging of environmental data with other more subjective information about the distinctiveness and particularity of different places.
Stephen says “This is a necessary intervention in the landscape at a key moment when climate change is already creating new shorelines and habitats. Established salt marsh is being eroded by a combination of rising sea levels and falling landmass and the entire littoral environment is in a state of flux. The implications for wildlife and flora as well as people are challenging and raise awareness of a particularly 21st century sort of tension and anxiety in our society where place is much talked about - yet where people are increasingly out of place and out of step with nature.”
The Exbury Egg is located in a mediaeval harbour on the Beaulieu Estuary, owned by Nicholas De Rothschild and is a floating studio and laboratory for the artist as well as itself forming part of the developing art works. Stephen is integrating the Egg as a sculptural element in his yearlong sojourn, which explores his deepening understanding of natural processes and the essence of place. The project also tests the concept of creating a high quality, low environmental impact studio/laboratory to enable the artist to engage with a highly sensitive environmental area in the Beaulieu Estuary, but which would leave no trace after it has gone.
Access for visitors to the Egg is limited due to the sensitive nature of the site, and to preserve the artists privacy, so these themes will be made explicit through web cams, online blog and a cabled link from two HD cameras on site to the ‘Mission Control’, which will be open to the public at the Exbury Estate.
The Exbury Egg design was created by PAD Studio Ltd working with Stephen Turner; it was inspired by the nesting seabirds on the shore and has been built to exacting environmental standards by local boat builder, Paul Baker. Six metres long and nearly three metres wide, the structure’s shell is made as much as possible from locally sourced timber.
“This is a major project” says Stephen “and I’m convinced the Estuary is going to provide massive inspiration for ideas exploring our evolving relationship with nature.”
The Exbury Egg project is led by art, architecture and education consultants, Space Placemaking and Urban Design (SPUD). Project Manager Phil Smith, adds: “The whole exercise from originating the ideas, developing the design, seeing the Egg built and then the year-long creative investigation is going to be an intriguing and engaging project with significant art and educational impact as well as providing the potential for legacy way beyond the 12 months of the Egg’s tenure at Exbury.”
SPUD will also be delivering a range of education and audience development programmes around the project.
Visit Stephen Turners blog here: www.exburyegg.me
Visit www.exburyegg.org for information, updates and to view the LIVE cameras.
The Exbury Egg project is financially supported by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Hampshire County Council and the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The project is also made possible by the generous support of The Exbury Estate, Bradley Engineering, Anesco Ltd., Versadock, Marineware, Totton Timber, HA&DB Kitchen, Lathams, Lambert Bros, LYC Events, Lymington Yacht Haven, Howdens, K.J. Kilfords, Click4Internet, Enistic, Sign It, Nick Cox Yacht Chandlery, Dennis Knights, Solent Cellars, S.J. Graham Carpentry, Solent Covers and Etch, Battramsley Farm.
Stephen Turner’s practice is concerned with aspects of time and the dialectics of transience and permanence. His work often involves spending long periods in odd abandoned places, noting the changes in the complex relationship between people and the natural environment. His projects are
rooted in research, which explore these themes in a variety of media. His work includes installations for Turner Contemporary in Margate, Trinity Buoy Wharf in London, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art
in Sunderland and Fermynwoods Contemporary Art in Northamptonshire. He was a part of the Third World Water Conference in Kyoto, Japan in 2003 when he exhibited at the Honen-in Temple and later
at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Toyota.Tree Rings for Stour Valley Arts studied the ecologies of different species of tree during a twelve-month residence at Kingswood Kent in 2004. His work for Seafort is currently reprised in the group exhibition Estuary at the Museum of London Docklands, from May to October 2013. Stephen Turner is represented by theartistsagency (www.theartistsagency.co.uk).
SPUD (Space, Place-making and Urban Design) is an organisation led by Mark Drury and Phil Smith
and emerged out of the Solent Centre for Architecture + Design. SPUD associates continue much of the excellent legacy work developed out of the Solent Centre, whilst developing new projects and extending their skills into new areas of work. Mark and Phil are building on the sound reputation they had established for their work at the Solent Centre.
PAD Studio Ltd is a young Hampshire practice established in 2003. The founding partners share 6 years previous architectural experience working for high profile award winning design practices in London. Our background lies primarily in the Arts, Domestic, Education and Commercial fields and we provide full architecture, masterplanning and interior design services for both the public and private sectors. www.padstudio.co.uk
Beau Wood Structures: Paul Baker’s role is to make the drawing concepts into a reality that will enable Stephen to fulfill another artistic dream. With such a complex shape to build material selection and build method have to be carefully considered especially as the overall finish is an important factor in the Egg creation. Paul has been in the marine industry since the age of 13 when he learnt to sail and the following year became a dingy instructor for the Army Sailing Association. His understanding of materials and his sometimes unorthodox thinking has led to many innovative ideas but always under-pinned by a sound respect for the sea and the environment. www.beauwoodstructures.co.uk
The Exbury Egg will have wet and dry areas which will include work space, a large chart/drawing table, a small galley, and a toilet. Lighting will be from low energy LED fittings and all electrical items will be charged from portable photovoltaic panels. A log will be kept of all the materials used in construction to enable the embodied energy to be calculated.