The Arca Project: An Exhibition Inspired by the Work of W.G. Sebald

The Arca Project Payne Shurvell

First shown at Payne Shurvell’s Suffolk gallery in April 2017, The Arca Project is an exhibition consisting of 16 visual and 16 textual responses to one single image. The image (a black-and-white photo of a chip shop) worked as a starting point for the writers who were asked to use it as the inspiration for a piece of writing of any length. The only limitation was the uniform paper orientation and size. The artists had the same limitations but would create an artwork directly over the image. The finished responses are displayed as diptychs; one textual and one visual. The recurrence of this single image offers many interpretations. All are fictitious. It is a game of false interpretations. The idea is to have artists and writers in a disorientating Sebaldian mix of fact and fiction, documentary and reality. Each response has been realised as a limited edition print, developed and made by Invisible Print Studio.

Winfried Georg Sebald, known as W.G.Sebald or Max, was a writer and academic. Before his untimely death in 2001, aged 57, W.G.Sebald was recognized as one of the most important and innovative writers of the late twentieth century. His four genre-defying books – Vertigo (1990/English ed. 1999), The Emigrants (1992/English ed.1996), The Rings of Saturn (1995/English ed.1998) and Austerlitz (2001) are notable for their curious and wide-ranging mixture of fact (or apparent fact), recollection and fiction. They also have a dry and mischievous sense of humour, punctuated with indistinct black-and-white photographs, that were often doctored themselves, offering an evocative counterpoint to the narrative rather than illustrating it directly. The Arca Project is not an exhibition about W.G.Sebald but a concept that has been embedded with his influence and inspiration. There is a form of sentiment and homage within the project, as a diptych exists for each year since Sebald’s death, a new one being added on 14th December each year.

In a playful nod to W.G.Sebald’s fateful occurrences or coincidences, the entire show is re-hung daily in the most random way possible; pulling names out of a hat. By quirks of chance, the daily hang dictates how the work can be ‘read’ by the audience, depending on when they visit.

Artists and writers involved include:

Andrew Bick, Craig Burnett, Andrew Curtis, Karen Engle, Adam Fish, Emma Fraser, Lindsey Freeman, Graeme Gilloch, Steph Goodger, Oona Grimes, Tony Grisoni, Catherine Haines, Michael Hall, Molly Jarboe, Jaeho Kang, Naiza Khan, Jane Kilby, Abigail Lane, Richard Makin, Bob Matthews, Bruce McLean, Ana Milenkovic, Simon Patterson, Tony Plant, Daniel Rapley, Fabio La Rocca, Julian Rowe, Martina Schmid, Steven Scott, Allen Shelton, Erik Steinskog and Jo Stockham.

The Arca Project is curated by Michael Hall and Graeme Gilloch and is presented by PayneShurvell.

Duration 22 February 2018 - 06 April 2018
Times Monday- Friday 10am - 5pm
Cost Free
Venue Payne Shurvell
Address 7-9 William Road London NW1 3ER, ,
Contact 07977 996 568 / /