The City & The City: Artwork by London Writers
Wood Street Galleries
(Pittsburgh, Sept – Dec 2012)
This first of its kind exhibition of new-media and installation work by British-based writers in Pittsburgh was guest curated by Justin Hopper. Each of the artists who exhibited are well-regarded visual and conceptual artists, whilst probably best known for their literary outputs, which range from creative non fiction (Iain Sinclair, Rachel Lichtenstein) criticism (Sukhdev Sandhu) to novels (Tom McCarthy) and poetry (Caroline Bergvall).
Rachel Lichtenstein’s work in this exhibition revolved around her book, Diamond Street (Hamish Hamilton, 2012), which focuses on the historically Jewish diamond merchants street Hatton Garden. Her mixed media work examined the working life of the deeply private community of diamond and jewellery dealers who operate in this hidden quarter of the city, often behind closed doors. Lichtenstein’s installation consisted of a collection of found and fabricated objects related to her research. Century-old tools from the desks of jewellers were displayed in small, internally lit cases, accompanied by a ghostly soundtrack of an interview with a now-deceased diamond-cutter.
Excerpt of interview with Dave Harris
- 'Lichtenstein’s “Sight Unseen” is probably the most tangible avenue for historical analysis and the relationship between past and present... Her representation of London is concrete; for her, it is a city built upon the endeavors of the industrialists that lived and worked in relative obscurity. In this way, Lichtenstein reveals a notion of a city within a city through the presentation of layers upon layers of historical objects and oral histories.'The Pittsburgh Gazette
- 'For experimental artists and authors Sukhdev Sandhu, Rod Dickinson, Tom McCarthy, and Rachel Lichtenstein, among others, London is a shared hometown through which they project their respective examinations of a modern city and varying ways to look at a single place through language and art... The artists challenge viewers to consider a world beyond the confines of their immediate environments, assessing the present in light of historical trends and alternate realities.'The Tartan