In March 1981, Arnolfini hosted Somerset, by artist Lizzie Cox. A multi-disciplinary project based on the creative documentation of a ‘year in the life of a field’ in Nettlecombe, near Taunton in Somerset, the piece was eventually presented as eight-foot square fabric box, hung with textiles printed with motifs recalling the changing seasons.
The box was ‘activated’ by dancer Kirstie Simson, and specially composed music by Stuart Gordon. Cox wrote she ‘wanted to remind people of the optimism of the landscape, of nature and of farming activity, and therefore of life’.
Forty years on, when successive lockdowns have meant that the slow, steady observation of the natural world has taken on a whole new significance, we have invited another local artist to spend a year investigating Cox’s Somerset. Sam Francis, an artist and producer based in Weston Super Mare, will respond to the archival traces of the piece, the intriguing canon of UK land art, and the relationship of Arnolfini as an urban arts centre with our largely rural Westcountry region.
Sam says… I am really looking forward to unearthing – that of a life, an artwork, an artist and a field, whilst burrowing into my own year, life and a field somewhere in Somerset unknown.
We are delighted to launch this project as part of Arnolfini’s 60th anniversary celebrations. Look out for Sam’s work appearing on our blog through 2021 and on her website samfrancisco.co.uk