ARCOmadrid was set up immediately in the post-Franco era, as the first cultural phenomenon that introduced post-modernism and pluralism to Spain. As such it occupies a special place in Spanish culture, and has consistently had a very strong educational and curatorial element. With this history the fair performs a unique local role.
Drop City was invited to the OPENING section by curators Juan Canela and Stefanie Hessler to present a two person show with Eleanor Wright and Nadia Hebson and were presented with the fair’s ‘Premio’ award by a panel composed of Claudia Segura Campins (Curator, Bogotá), Chris Sharp (Curator, Lulu, Mexico City), Suzanne Cotter (Director, Serralves Museum, Porto), Adrienne Drake (Critic & Curator, Roma), Natalia Valencia (Curator, Bogotá), Alejandra Villasmil (Venezuela) and Éricka Flórez (Artist & Curator, Colombia)
Although distinct in their outputs, Eleanor Wright and Nadia Hebson share a conceptual conceit, which questions how a visual and textual enquiry might take place that explores the relationship between made objects and research. Both realise work that resists the privileging of one over the other, instead the space between these and other concerns becomes the focus of interest: Wright has described this as a gathering of relations. Frequently working with oblique or less considered histories, what emerges from their individual constellations is an attention to the process of thinking and the suggestion of alternate forms through which to conduct this enquiry.
Eleanor Wright’s practice is rooted in the exploration of specific histories, buildings and sites, resulting in choreographed, sculptural assemblages that set out to make visible the relationships between people and their environments, whilst considering the rich history of the exhibition as form and various frameworks of presentation and distribution. She sees her works as parallel progressions moving through a constellation of distinct formal problems. Remodelling objects and environments into forms and symbols using a spectrum of techniques and materials – Wright generates a pluralistic, sculptural language that reflects a holistic attitude towards art and wider cultural society.
Eleanor Wright studied sculpture at Chelsea College of Art and Design and the Slade School of Fine Art, London. She lives and works between Düsseldorf, Germany and Newcastle, UK. Mobility and immersion within specific cultures and places are embedded within her practice, with recent artist residencies, fellowships and international travel awards including The British School at Athens Visual Artist Fellowship; Cove Park, Scotland; and the Duveen (University College London) and BxNU Institute (BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art) Travel Scholarships. Her research has been generously supported through The Elephant Trust; a year-long fellowship with BxNU Institute, Newcastle; and the Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures (CVAC) at Durham University. She is the recipient of The Kenneth Armitage Foundation Young Sculptors Award.
Recent exhibitions and projects include ‘Catcher Pressure Pusher’, commissioned by CIRCA Projects; ‘So’, Mauve, Vienna; ‘Roßstraße 68 (learning from Ella Steigleman)’, Drop City, Düsseldorf; ‘Continuous Material’, Durham Castle Museum (reviewed in Mousse Magazine); and the groupshow ‘Switch’, curated by Phyllida Barlow, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle (reviewed in Frieze).
In 2017, Wright will show in Choreography at Arcade, London and M HKA, Antwerp alongside the launch of the artists’ publication ‘An Athens City Reader’
Nadia Hebson makes paintings, both figurative and abstract, objects and texts, which are intimately but indirectly linked to the conventions and histories of painting. Working obliquely with the legacy of women artists, her work has sought to comprehend the relationship between painting, biography, persona and clothing, most notably through a consideration of the work of artists Winifred Knights b.1899 d.1947 and Christina Ramberg b.1946 d.1995.
Hebson studied at Central St. Martins and Royal Academy Schools. Recent exhibitions and talks include ‘We (Not I)’, Artists Space, NYC; ‘Smarginature’, Lydgalleriet, Bergen; ‘So’, Mauve, Vienna; ‘MODA WK’, Lokaal 01, Antwerp; ‘can you forgive her?’ Drop City, Newcastle, (reviewed Frieze March 2015), ‘Drop City Centre’, Laing Gallery, Newcastle and ‘Christina Ramberg’, 42 Carlton Place, GI Festival, Glasgow.
In 2015 she published with AND Public, London, ‘MODA WK work made in response to the paintings, drawings, correspondence, clothing and interior design of British artist Winifred Knights, (an expanded legacy)’. Further critical writing has been published in the feminist journal PERSONA, Archive Books, Berlin; Foundations Magazine, USA; The Journal of Contemporary Painting; British Art Studies, Paul Mellon Centre and Cadavere Quotidiano, X-TRA, Los Angeles. Hebson has held a number of scholarships and residencies including The British School at Rome, Durham Cathedral Residency, AIR Antwerpen and Vytlacil Residency, NYC.
She has recently co-convened the conference ‘Making Women’s Art Matter’ at the Paul Mellon Centre, London, 9-10th February. In 2017 she will show in CHOREOGRAPHY at Arcade, London; M HKA, Antwerp, and will have a solo exhibition at Drop City, Newcastle.
Hebson is a lecturer at Newcastle University, UK and has recently taught at The School of the Art Institute Chicago. She is a member of the Tate British Art Network.