‘Hearth and Heat’
22 - 26 June 2015, The Florence Trust, London
In its 25th year, the Florence Trust at St Saviours in Highbury, London, is hosting a comprehensive solo show by an alumnus of its unique artist residency programme.
Micha Eden Erdész’s solo project speculatively reconstructs material and psychic aspects of north London’s Hampstead Heath. Focusing on the physical clearings within seemingly overrun sections of the quasi-natural heathland, this new work recalls Erdesz's imagined withdrawal as a fictive anchorite persona during during a year-long Florence Trust studio residency in St Saviour's Lady Chapel. Referring to the encroachment of water during hypothsised storm conditons, Erdész has produced immersively scaled prints on silk over an array of mass produced contemporary chrome fittings.
Influenced by the imminent human designs to counter the flooding risk of Hampstead Heath’s chain of ponds, the alignment of Erdész’s landscapes with potential scenarios suffuse them with the added quality of portent. Erdesz has recast the Heath's landscapes as a theatre of latent water. Erdés cues John Singer Sargent’s painting of Margaret Hyde Countess of Suffolk (1898) at Kenwood House in reference to Sargent's gestural use of white and an echo in metal, Erdész’s use of chrome plating. Another work, some three opersonal air ionisers, makes visable the subaltern flow of Heath springs towards the river fleet within the church confines.
Micha Eden Erdész's practice ambiguously settles between media registering sensual tensions between the what is present and what is potential. Experienced as Intermedia works, they seem to dissolve between one's senses. Together their effect is a survey of senses reconfiguring in relation to the world.
‘They’ll never control water on the Heath': Anna Behrmann talks to an artist whose installation reflects the changing landscape of Hampstead Heath, including the controversial dams project.
Micha Eden Erdész has spent the last six months wandering over the hills and pathways of the Heath, all in the name of research. The resulting show, Hearth and Heat, combines photography and textured digital prints on silk, reflecting the ever changing nature of the Heath. Erdész's pieces layer oil paints on wax, capturing the air, water and space. "It's a different place every day -the weather affects it so much," he says. "You can read all sorts of stories into it." Born in Canada, and growing up in Muswell Hill and Bristol, the award-winning artist originally trained as an architect, but his tutors recognised his designs as art. At 29, with a scanty portfolio, he was taken on as a resident artist by the Florence Trust artists studion at St Saviour's in Highbury in "good faith."
Now based between north London and Antwerp, his latest work explores the wildness of the Heath, but also the way in which our culture and designs have shaped it. One example would be the controversial £15 million dams engineering scheme, which will alter the shape of all of the Heath's ponds. After more than 1,000 objections were filed against the plans, the building works have started. For Erdész the dams project is part of a generations-long tradition of how our imaginations, hopes and speculation have impacted on the Heath, and that while we might see wild, untamed trees and grass, we are also witnesses to our own decisions. "Even what we think of as natural on the Heath is managed by humans and technology," he explains. But Erdész believes that some elements will always escape us. "If there is one thing that you can't control on the Heath, it's water, and it's the thing that humans are trying to control the most," he says. "The springs and the rain means that there's constantly water shaping the Heath." Erdész wants to appeal to the Heath-walkers above all. And he believes that art is one thing, but "going to the Heath is as important as going to an exhibition."