It’s a warm July afternoon on the southeast coast, the sun bright off the sea. I’m walking across a field in a train of people on a guided tour, bouncing on thick grasses combed flat by the wind. We’re heading towards a marker post in the distance, a post painted mustard yellow, easily visible against its backdrop of velvet hedgerows and even darker trees. Though patchy sections of grass reveal parched earth, a clay soil cracked by the heat, this is a landscape defined by water, a marsh now drained and criss-crossed by ditches. On the horizon is a gentle rise crowned by a patch of nettles. This is the site of the deserted medieval village of Northeye, East Sussex. (more…)
Robert Harbison’s exploration of the discontinuous, the broken and the forgotten in the arts reveals how we connect with places and physical objects to find a home in or among them, uneasy as that often is.
‘What is it in the air of the present that makes us suspicious of works or histories that are too smooth, too continuous?’ So begins Robert Harbison’s meditation on fragments, architectural, sculptural, textual and otherwise. Like ruins and fragments themselves which reveal the bones beneath the architectural artifice or hint at the existence of wholeness elsewhere, Harbison’s narrative is a thoughtful inquisition, peeling back the visible to question the invisible at every turn. Profound are some of the answers too. In terms of creativity, imagination and simply finding a footing in the physical world it seems that ruins have much to offer.