I Can See My Way Home
by Michael Curran
As they stand today Killerton House is a thriving National Trust home and Poltimore House is a ruin, severely damaged by arson and neglect, and fast falling into a state of utter dilapidation. The contrast of the two houses formed the basis of the artist’s research. A ruin and a functioning stately home are subject to competing narrations of history. Both sites present different versions of time, space and the fate of place. Each space defines and defies the other; complimentary and contradictory, they at once threaten and promise the possibility of usurping one another – decay and dereliction counter order and upkeep.
Killerton House and Poltimore House are located on the outskirts of Exeter. Both buildings are historic sites of note; Killerton renowned for its fine Regency interiors and its expansive gardens developed under John Veitch's revolutionary supervision; Poltimore, site of the signing of the treaty of Exeter in 1645, known for six centuries of chequered history during which it was modified, pulled down and rebuilt by successive generations. Killerton offers itself as an ideal of perpetuity and preservation through a museum like freezing of time while Poltimore suggests its history through its vestiges, its absences, its scars and most poignantly in its organic transformations effected by the elements.
Curran remarks: "While these houses are mirrored, as physical sites they also cast a multiplicity of cultural and psychic shadows. Each space defines and defies the other - decay and dereliction counter-pointing order and upkeep. Complimentary and contradictory, they at once threaten and promise the possibility of usurping one another."
In approaching the houses, the artist carried along his own fascination with sound, image and narrational crisis. Of particular interest in this instance were narratives provoked by particular settings and locations and a consideration of the cultural and subjective projections we attempt to inscribe upon the places and spaces we encounter. I Can See My Way Home implies an endless search, as if the camera seeks a place to rest or perhaps a point of exit, while its use of light, darkness and sound suggests the disinternment and entombment of narratives and the spaces they occur in.
Commissioned as the second project in the Historic Sites series.
|Colour / B&W||Colour|
17 April – 15 June 2004
Spacex Gallery, Exeter, UK
Commissioned by Picture This, Spacex and South West Screen Funded by the Arts Council of England National Touring Programme and South West Screen
In 2003 Michael Curran was commissioned to produce the second project in Picture This' Historic Sites series.
Between 2003 and 2005 Picture This produced a suite of commissions, each looking at the site and stories within historic buildings.