Braced Exhibition

20th Solo Residency Exhibition

fed Eleanor Turnbull

Exhibition: 24th Nov – 3rd Dec 2022

Eleanor Turnbull’s end of residency solo exhibition is the culmination of 3 months studio work here at Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop. Eleanor has worked intensely and methodically on her series of sculpture investigating the immense and unfathomable nature of emotions through the natural and urban landscapes.

Eleanor’s works are at once confounding and enchanting, humorous and monstrous, and vaguely recognisable. Discomfort is at play here both within the sculpture but also in its author. Navigating enormity and synthesising objects from absence, these pieces are of the world as well as other worldly. My first experience of the casting of absence was space under my chair, (1941) Bruce Nauman and I was forever changed. The way of seeing altered forever in that the unseen became visible and physical. Eleanor Turnbull finds ways of depicting curiosities and discomfort – the void becomes object and somehow made approachable. Her ‘table’ piece has mouthes rather than plates, her cutlery unusable, morphed into vessels of mystery. To contemplate the void is to ask questions and cooperate with the unanswerability therein.

Are we fed, can we fill the void? Are these opening, these orifices consuming, laughing, screaming. Confronting the void, according to Victor Frankl, the existential vacuum is an inner emptiness commonly felt by the modern “man” living in a world in which “No instinct tells him what he has to do, and no tradition tells him what he ought to do; sometimes he does not even know what he wishes to do.”[1]

Eleanor is fearless in her confrontation and she knows exactly what to do, it seems to be a method of allowing and rather than fear the void, she tames the emptiness, owns the unfathomable and creates a relationship. Like all relationships complexity abounds. We laugh and we cry in the face of the mystery befriended by these sculptures yet not fully understood creating a feedback loop of questioning. We inhabit the contemporary digital distraction that is a flimsy dopamine frenzy that fails to hide let alone fill the void,

and possibly increases the anxiety to rest in the void. I think we are all fed up on the addiction to consume, to click, to post as a method to avoid the void. As the guru and sages wisely attest, it is delving into the void we find freedom. This journey is daily, moment after moment, the essence of meditation, which is said to be the only way out of addiction. I feel Eleanor’s practice, her discipline and explorations are a testimony to the her incredible sensitivity to impossible enormity of the void and she allows herself to swim within & around fearless and fearful – powerfully. I challenge you to re-examine each pot hole, puddle, tide pool, spoon and shape of a void as you make your way through the world and see them anew and allow yourself to be forever changed to see the unseen and be encouraged by Eleanor Turnbull’s profound sculptures.

1 Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, page 106. 

About Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop and the Workshop Foundation:

Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop is an exhibition and residency space in London and unique in its approach to bringing artists and their practices to the public. They support a diverse range of emerging and mid-career contemporary artists by providing them with space and time to develop their practice, network within our growing community, be mentored by team members and crucially be introduced to their expansive network of collectors, art educators, professionals and visitors.

Through their residency programmes and exhibitions, they give artists, curators and theorists a platform to present work and share ideas as well as creating an environment for freethinking and exchange.

They have now organised more than 40 exhibitions with over 120 artists and curators, with 10 exhibitions and 25 artists in residence a year, drawing in international audiences and participants, as well as being a local landmark in the community of Kensington and Chelsea and its surrounds.

Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop was founded in 2015 by artist Stacie McCormick in a former builder’s merchant.



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