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John Harper : Broken and Breaking Ground

Throughout 2005-2008 I have been engaged on a series of related projects that have centred on the rural landscape of Northamptonshire, each of which has financed by bursary and development funding by The Arts Council of England.

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The related bodies of work have all progressed from earlier projects concerned with challenging our conditioned view of the picturesque and the related fixed frame through which we are traditionally invited to view the land. In ‘Landmarks and Signs’ 2005 – I produced a series of site related photo-works each of which was centred to a village location along the Nene Valley Way. This led to a yearlong commission for Fermynwoods Contemporary Art. During my year of residency I researched the topography of a tract of Forestry Commission land adjacent to Fermynwoods Gallery, Brigstock, North Northamptonshire.

The aim of the commission was to pilot a programme of international artists residencies at the gallery through the production of new work and an accompanying publication. I termed the project ‘Broken and Breaking Ground – Ideas taken into and out of a landscape’ The outcome was a series of monthly bulletins which were published by Fermynwoods; an exhibition of more conclusive work and a book covering the full procedure of the residency published by RGAP (Research Group For Artists Publications), distributed by Cornerhouse press.

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Two versions of the book are available – a limited boxed edition that contains an additional folio of works – available through the publisher; and a hardcover single publication available through Cornerhouse.

The project is to be further developed through an exhibition at Spike Island Gallery, Bristol throughout October and November of this year.

For more information on John Harper’s Broken and Breaking Ground publications and project, visit The University of Northampton NECTAR website. RGAP and Cornerhouse websites.

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