Martin Boyce: AN INN FOR PHANTOMS OF THE OUTSIDE AND IN: MOUNT STUART, ISLE OF BUTE, SCOTLAND
Mount Stuart Trust is delighted to announce a solo exhibition by Martin Boyce this summer. Boyce presents a major outdoor commission in the landscaped grounds of Mount Stuart. Inspired by the memory of a tennis court long since dismantled, his ongoing interest in abandoned and disused spaces is awakened. The court is close to fiction, undocumented, a relic from the 1970’s. The artist reconsiders and recomposes the structure. Connecting with previous works such as the iconic 2002 Tramway installation Our Love is Like the Flowers, the Rain, the Sea and the Hours, Boyce continues his exploration of sites in between use and misuse, intention and subsequent being. His installation for Mount Stuart involves fragments of these landscapes, an abstracted sense of place rather than a literal description: “one place shipwrecked within another”.
“Over the years I’ve photographed a number of abandoned or disused tennis courts and I’ve collected similar images from books or cut from magazines. There is something fascinating about this rectangle of chain link fence that at once demarcates one place from another, one delineated use or activity from another. Equally fascinating is how over time this idea of use can shift, from organised tennis games to more improvised versions of play to, in a state of disrepair, a place to meet and hangout. It is this in between state that interests me. “
The installation, like a skewed container for dreams, sits with its gate open. The artist’s familiar iconographies are staged within, referencing his interests in twentieth century film noir, literature and the built environment. Boyce’s work mirrors the psyche; his work immerses the public in both personal and collective cultural memory.
An Inn For The Phantoms Of The Outside And In is sited midway from the gardens entrance to Mount Stuart on the ’45 Avenue, and is reached by taking the sign-posted walk from the Visitor Centre. At Mount Stuart itself, the series of framed photographic works A Partial Eclipse I and II, 2012 and 2017, are exhibited in the vaulted sandstone Crypt. These works are part of an ongoing library of images that feed into Boyce’s sculptural works. They reflect a certain pattern of landscapes and objects to which the artist is drawn and speak to his practice, which explores the space between the viewer and the subject “until the space itself becomes the subject”. The images resonate with a sense of stillness, of distance, and the uncertainty of time and place.