H2O is the result of a process of working that has seen two exciting, emerging artists create new artwork informed by researching the Foresterhill site, referencing both the history and the way in which this expansive place functions day to day. Both artists have made work through continual interaction with the site and with individuals from NHSG Estates, Catering Services, Porters, Archive and also Aberdeen University Special Collections.
Documentation is an important tool within both their work, and is considered with regard to the gallery context, how it helps inform and introduce the audience to their process of working, and is an insight into the journeys they undertake.
Hannah is an Edinburgh-based visual artist who works predominantly in sculpture and photography.
Responding to the complex social and physical environment of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Hannah’s new work deals with the agricultural origins of the site and its now out-sourced food production for patients and staff. The piece is drawn from ideas of small-scale sustainable growing and the potential of currently unused space. Allotment Concertina is a transparent folding structure occupied by a variety of edible flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables, documented on the hospital’s industrial rooftop.
The plants chosen represent those that were grown in the early years of ARI on the Foresterhill site, revisit historical methods of ‘in-house’ food production, and indicate the possibility of continual growth within this environment. Allotment Concertina will be installed in The Suttie Arts Space where it will be tended to throughout the summer months by GHAT staff and volunteers.
Sam’s work is informed by journeys, often along pathways created for either transportation or for technology, including plane journeys, quarries and access roads, or power lines that weave through remote places. These pathways are traced and documented through the use of photography, film and audio, to form a record of a journey.
From conversations with NHSG staff and residents of Aberdeen, it transpired that nowadays, it is more economical to source the building material Aberdeen is famous for, granite, from the other side of the world. Sam began communicating with a contact in China, who has previously worked with GHAT to source granite. Together they identified a quarry in Quanzhou, in the Fuijian Province of China, which provides the granite commonly used in new buildings around Aberdeen – G602. Sam then travelled to Quanzhou and worked with stonemasons who work in the quarry to create an artwork in China that would travel to Scotland with him for exhibition.
As part of the continual interaction with the Foresterhill site throughout the exhibition, Sam has created and posted a series of 30 cyanotype postcards. These have been created by a process using a photographic chemical on paper, and exposing them in different locations on his journey that has taken him from Foresterhill, to China, and back. These cards have passed through the hands of various people on route, from Danish airport staff, quarry workers in China and hospital porters within ARI and will continue to arrive throughout the exhibition where they will be displayed.