A month long festival of exhibitions, discussions, screenings, performances, events and celebrations in both physical and virtual spaces and places.


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Alexander Norton on Elin Höyland’s ‘The Brothers’

Sat in each others pockets

The closeness of family can create bonds beyond a form of relationship, friendship and love; it can never break although it might bend. That connection can be tested, crumpled, but always goes back to its original shape. Elin Höyland’s The Brothers shows precisely this closeness between family, and between the most interwoven of them all, the relation of siblings. They never detract too far from each other, never leaving a complete eye line from each other – their faces bearing the same eyes, ears and hairline, wearing the same jumpers, doing similar things. They are remote from any other individuals, spending time in each other’s pockets. Their every action carries a trace of resemblance, a sense of mimicking actions, but with the same conscious thought. People in sync, thinking the same, but details change from each person. As people they may do the same things, they may look and act the same, but small details vary, the way one may stand, wear a coat or jumper, may look at things and may place things.

They are close beyond what close can comprehend, their relationship gentle, subtle, quiet. Their very existence seems to rely on the other; no breath is caught without the other. Their spaces intimate, duplicated with a mirroring that suggests a whole hearted caring. They swap positions from left to right, right to left, walking around the same backyard for what feels like decades, but they do not age, although their bodies are worn. We are left with the underlying fact that we all die, and will leave our close ones momentarily. As we are shown the stark reality of two individuals reliant on each other, comprehending how one will live without the other. There is one pair of binoculars on the right, accompanied by a man, not a brother anymore. Although their beautiful relation lives on, the physical manifestation of their contact appears at the end of its journey, leaving an ultimatum for the individual left. Left staring at the bed of another he shared his life with. The space they share becomes empty, as life catches up with them, leaving their room empty.

After the initial parting, the other falls with grace, feeling a gentle sensation of acceptance, they will sit in each other’s pockets once again.

By Alexander Norton

Elin Höyland ‘The Brothers’
1-25 May 2013
Norwegian Chruch Arts Centre

This essay is available as a downloadable PDF here.


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ffotohive Exhibition Launch

Wednesday 29 May, 5pm


Throughout May we have asked Cardiff residents and visitors to contribute to a series of unique online collages for ffotohive. Photographs have been taken at six designated sites known as ‘hives’ around the city, which were then tweeted and uploaded to become part of this ever-changing digital artwork capturing the city. The artwork is on show at the Tramshed for the last three days of the festival, and visitors will have an opportunity to take part in the project in the newly unveiled Tramshed hive.

The exhibition opening will feature a live soundtrack by musician Tom Raybould (Arc Vertiac).

cardiff encounters

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Cardiff Encounters

1 – 31 May / diffusionfestival.org

On your route through the City share your encounters of the Cardiff kind using #cardiffencounters on Instagram. Is it an encounter you have everyday or one you’ve never had before? Is it an encounter with the City’s inhabitants, landmarks, experiences, or something that only you have noticed? If you are new to Instagram, the app can be downloaded free on most mobile phones. If you like, add a caption to your photograph to tell us more about your encounter. Selected images tagged with #cardiffencounters will be posted on the Diffusion website.

Urban Quilombo

+ - Sebastian Liste:

Urban Quilombo

Third Floor Gallery

4 May – 23 June

Urban Quilombo is a testimony of a place that no longer exists. Between 2009 and 2011, Sebastian Liste documented the community of Barreto, an abandoned chocolate factory in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. From 2003, dozens of families occupied the factory and transformed it into a home. Until then, these families lived in the dangerous streets of the city. Tired of the violence and despair, they came together to seize the deserted factory. They created a microcosm in which the problems of drugs, prostitution and violence could be tackled with the support of the community. In March 2011, the government evicted the families from the factory, in one of many attempts to clean up the visible poverty in the centre of Brazil’s cities.


Image: From Urban Quilombo, 2009 – 11 © Sebastian Liste

Edgar Martins - The Time Machine

+ - Edgar Martins:

The Time Machine


1 May – 7 June

In 2010 and 2011, Martins gained exclusive access to 20 power plants located across Portugal. Many were built between the 1950s and 1970s, a time of hopeful prospects for rapid economic growth and social change. The Time Machine records objects and spaces whose grand and progressive designs testify to the scope and ambition of the vision they were built to serve.

Martins’ photographs recall science-fiction and in an unavoidable field of nostalgia, characterise a suspended time; that of the modern. In recovering a past of exciting technological innovation and optimistic belief in the future, The Time Machine speaks not just about the generation of power but also of dreams and technological utopias.

This exhibition was funded by Fundação EDP and the international tour is supported by The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK branch) & Instituto Camões (Portugal).



Image: Fratel power station: machine hall, 2012 © Edgar Martins

The Brothers

+ - Elin Høyland:

The Brothers

Norwegian Church Arts Centre

1 May – 25 May

Elin Høyland’s series The Brothers is an intimate portrayal of the relationship between Harald and Mathias Ramen, two brothers who lived together on a small farm in Tessanden in rural Norway.

In her work, Høyland chronicles a way of life that has almost entirely disappeared. Mathias and Harald lived all their lives on their family farm. Their days followed a predictable and comforting routine with little change from year to year. Høyland’s photographs witness the incredible sense of belonging and routine the brothers savoured, while simultaneously illuminating the greater sense of solitude found in rural Norway.

A Ffotogallery project, presented as part of European Chronicles, funded by the European Cultural Foundation and European Commission.


Image: From The Brothers, 2001 – 2002 (c) Elin Høyland

Helen Sear - Lure

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25 May – 21 June

Lure is a major exhibition of new work by Helen Sear. One of Wales’ most important and insightful artists, Sear’s practice can be characterised by her exploration of the crossover between photography and fine art, her focus on the natural world and the startling beauty of her work. From seemingly simple subjects – a frozen pond, straw bales in a field, wild flowers – Sear makes artworks of great power that explore ideas of seeing and perception.


Image: Pastoral Monument 6, Dacus Carota, 2012 © Helen Sear

European Chronicles

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European Chronicles

The Cardiff Story

1 May – 31 May

Mindaugas Ažušilis, David Barnes, Tina Carr & Annemarie Schöne, John Duncan, Anna Kurpaska, Catrine Val, Artūras Valiauga 

European Chronicles puts forward a vision of contemporary Europe as experienced through photographic work reflecting various personal, family and community stories. This small selection of individual projects is drawn from the vast pool of diverse photographic talent that exists across Europe, currently under-represented at the major exhibiting and publishing centres in London, Paris and Berlin. The exhibition launches European Prospects, a two-year project examining the role of photography and digital media in developing and presenting an alternative iconography of Europe and European experience from the mosaic of photographic imagery being produced in the region today.

Elin Høyland – The Brothers is also presented at Norwegian Church Arts Centre as part of European Chronicles.

A Ffotogallery project funded by the European Cultural Foundation and European Commission.


Image: Victoria from Feminist, 2011 © Catrine Val


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Debbie Savage on Tim Davies’ Drift

You don’t have to have visited Venice to construct an image of the city. Its architecture, canals and history have been well documented by artists and tourists alike, giving its unique topography a presumed familiarity and romantic quality that reaches far beyond the city limits. With this in mind, it seems fair to ask, is there anything new or unseen for an artist to bring to a city that has inspired countless reproductions and an impressive canon of works?

It is, perhaps, in response to the ubiquity of these mediated images that Tim Davies produced the three films in this exhibition; Drift, Farari and Capricci. Two of the pieces, Drift and Frari, were developed in Venice over a six-month period for the 54th Biennale in 2011, with the third being filmed for this exhibition in 2012. Rather than trying to further ‘represent’ the city, Davies carefully abstracts moments and spaces to create an intimate portrait of his experience of place. Identifiable landmarks are replaced by atmospheric and closely focused images that could relate to any city, yet are unmistakably routed in this city.

Drift shows a gentle and slow journey along the Venetian canals. As the artist’s hand gently skims the water, buildings are subtly reflected in its rippling surface. Capricci creates movement by blending a series of still images to add an enduring quality to the lapping of waves against a man-made shore, accompanied by the distant mechanical sounds of a working city. Whilst creating quite different impressions and experiences, both films produce a sense of time passing beyond the immediate moment, of the artist as an ultimate flaneur, literally drifting across the city and temporarily intersecting with parts of its narrative.

Frari, is shown in opposition to these works and creates a darker, claustrophobic and frantic vision of the city. Using images taken whilst running up the steps of a gothic church (the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari), the work lurches from light to dark as the sounds of the city, tourists and church bells becomes almost unbearable until we are finally forced out into a blinding white light. Here the immediacy of experience and narrative is more distinct, yet something about the flashes of light and the snatched glimpses of the building’s interior convey something of Venice’s history.

Indeed, the three pieces in this exhibition seem to quietly reference the long history of artists who have taken Venice as their inspiration. The flashes of light in Frari in part mirror the golden light in Monet’s San Girgio Maggiore by Twilight, the abstracted buildings in the rippled water are reminiscent of other works in the National Museum’s collection like Sickert’s The Rialto Bridge, Venice. This gives a sense of consistency to Davies’ work, linking it to Venice’s rich history of artistic practices, but delivering a particular kind of immediacy that can only be delivered through video works.

Through these subtle references to Venice’s artistic traditions, Davies’ work is firmly routed in the city, but its closely focused attention provokes a sense that he is skimming the surface of Venice and presenting a distinctive, personal experience unencumbered by the dominance of past images. Rather than documenting the city, Davies uses his position as an artist to gently disrupt assumed ideas and reflect on our relationship to place; our unique but impermanent experience of a city against the relative permanence of its light, its architecture, and the waters flowing through its canals.

Debbie Savage


Tim Davies: Drift

9 March – 26 May 2013

National Museum Cardiff


This essay is available as a downloadable PDF here.

Gideon Koppel-BORTH

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single screen version

Chapter (Stiwdio)

1 May – 31 May

B O R T H is a film installation by the artist Gideon Koppel. It was filmed in the wild west Wales town of Borth – a curious and extraordinary place where the infinite horizon of the sea collides with a bricolage of architectures; where epic landscape is playfully juxtaposed with the intimacy of human gesture.

Following on from Koppel’s feature-length film Sleep Furiously – one of the most critically acclaimed British films of 2009 – this work travels along the blurred borders between documentary and fiction, to create a powerful dream-like and sensory world.

Exhibition presented by Ffotogallery in partnership with Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Project funded by Arts Council of Wales. Exhibition supported by Chapter.


Image: B O R T H, 2012 © Gideon Koppel