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ART FIX: Jersey through the ancient looking glass

ART FIX: Jersey through the ancient looking glass

Friday 13 November 2020

ART FIX: Jersey through the ancient looking glass


Photographs from local archives are being given a new twist thanks to the work of an artist who combines them with elements from our modern times.

Every Friday, Express presents a selection of online and offline exhibitions, performances, workshops, events and other historic and creative content to help islanders get their weekly dose of culture.

Here is this week's offering...

‘Comme jé vivons achteu’ 

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Pictured: This is Russell's first exhibition at Jersey Arts Centre in five years.

Russell Layton has returned to the Jersey Arts Centre with a new series of limited edition prints for his first exhibition in five years.

Russell, a corporate professional support lawyer, was introduced to art by his father, the late Peter Layton, who was an established artist and retired teacher. 

His new exhibition, sponsored by Carey Olsen, is titled 'How we live now/Comme jé vivons achteu' and places our modern selves within scenes captured by historic Jersey photographs sourced from the archives of Jersey Heritage and the Société Jersiaise.

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Pictured: Russell combines photographs from the archives of Jersey Heritage and the Société Jersiaise with modern elements.

The images range from horses and carts viewed from the dashboard of a car, complete with a ‘Sex Wax’ air freshener to a 1900 gathering with a modern barbecue and pre-Reservoir Queen’s Valley super-imposed with water.

Russell explained that the images either start from an idea, for which he then tries and finds photographs that fit, or from a photograph that he particularly likes and then uses to create a piece.

“My wife Lucy works at the museum, so I have been familiar with Jersey Heritage’s photographic archive and the Société Jersiaise for years,” Russell said. 

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Pictured: “Our Victorian ancestors, once the anonymous subjects of these photographs, now become the observers of our modern world," Russell said.

“Those images were something really familiar in the back of my mind and I thought I could juxtapose modern Jersey life with them. I wanted to keep it very local.” 

Russell said he hopes his images will help islanders see familiar spaces anew. 

“Our Victorian ancestors, once the anonymous subjects of these photographs, now become the observers of our modern world and encourage us to see ourselves – as if through a looking glass – from a new perspective," he explained. 

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Pictured: This images was the first in the new series.

Talking about the first image in this new series, which combines the dashboard of a Porsche with photographs of La Collette and Havre des Pas from 1900, he added:

"When I placed the first vintage photograph with my drawing of the interior of a sports car, its effect was immediate. The Victorian women, promenading at Havre des Pas, suddenly became modern pedestrians.

“When previously I might have skimmed over the faces of these anonymous individuals, I now found myself reading their expressions and reactions to the new scene they were in. They had somehow come back to life.”

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Pictured: A 'Société Jersiaise excursion' from 1900 becomes a modern barbecue.

The exhibition continues until 21 November at the Berni Gallery.

“I love this space and I love that members of the public can come in and see exhibitions, especially at this time,” Russell said. “I love the way the Arts Centre has been so positive about putting on events safely under the current restrictions."

 

‘We will remember them’

Local schools marked Remembrance Day in a variety of creative ways this week.

Students at Jersey College for Girls created a series of striking installations in the school’s stairwells representing ‘Fallen Soldiers’ with hundreds of paper poppies.

Meanwhile, at Victoria College, Jefferson Randles, Site Team and Head of Art, painted a field of poppies onto College Lawn.

Beaulieu Pre-School made poppy biscuits, while Year 9 Textiles classes put together poppy-themed notebook spreads with free-hand embroidery and felt poppies.

Students in Year 7 and 9 at Le Rocquier School wrote poetry in memory of those who lost their lives serving their country. 

Trinity School created poppy-themed paintings, while Grouville Primary School made paper poppies for a display, and St. Michael’s pupils sculpted some poppies with the help of bubble wrap.

Missed last week's Art Fix? CLICK HERE to catch up.

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