In 2005, a tropical storm which destroyed large parts of Panajachel in Guatemala flooded the studio of Swiss artist Vivian Suter who was based there. Rather than throwing the mud-caked and water-stained canvases into bin, Suter responded by accepting the damage as another layer in her work, part of the environment in which she worked.
Since then, she has embraced this unpredictability; unprimed canvases are left outdoors to absorb the traces of falling leaves, rain water, dirt, passing animals and the marks of her dogs, Bonzo, Nina and Tintin, imprinting the daily life of the forest onto the surface of each.
For her exhibition which fills the spaces of the Camden Arts Centre Suter hung the canvases in ‘an immersive cacophony’ which mirrors the canopy of the rainforest: chaotic, suspended, draped, overlapping and organic in design forming a permeable connection between nature and her studio or a chaotic market bazaar.
Camden Arts Centre is housed in a prominent and historic building which, when originally opened in 1897, was the Hampstead Central Library until its relocation to Swiss Cottage in 1964. The layout of the building, not suitable for a modern library, provides a series of gallery spaces on the first floor in which to display arts around the spacious circulation space, enabling the Centre to show work by two or more artists at one time. Thus, in addition to Vivian Suter’s ‘Tintin’s Sofa’ which moves from the corridor into the two adjacent top-lit gallery spaces, Greek artist and composer Athanasios Argianas has installed new music, sculptural and video works in other spaces for his exhibition Hollowed Waters with music and resonance from a string quartet activated by visitors.