oxford/paris correspondence

In April 2009 Barbaresi & Round presented simultaneous exhibitions at OVADA Gallery and Lagalerie in Paris.  The work developed from correspondence between the two artists in 07/08 whilst Round was living in Paris. 

While exploring Oxford and Paris their attention became focused on the edges and boundaries of these popular tourist destinations, in particular the Parisian Périphérique and Oxford ring road. By walking and cycling around these more unlikely locations, Barbaresi & Round discovered objects, imagery and ideas, which developed into an exchange revealing and creating connections between these two cities.

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Themes that emerged from this process have included: the nature of the Périphérique and Oxford ring road as barriers, how the existence of the Périphérique and Oxford ring road influence the surrounding areas, the non-space of motor-way embankment – highly visible and yet not visible, and the implications of town planning for residents. The work now presented has a range of sources: transport data, maps, make-shift housing, postcards, gathered imagery and abandoned objects.

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The work invited people in Oxford and in Paris to engage with their cities in fresh ways.  The exhibition and related community activities in Oxford aimed to draw people in from the edges of the city, and encourage those who are based in the centre to discover the suburbs. Residents and visitors to the city of Oxford were invited to take part in a participatory work by photographing the less recognised areas of the city. A performance and networking event linking the two galleries by web-cam  created an exchange between the audiences and artists of Lagalerie and OVADA making an opportunity for interaction between two communities.

As part of this project Barbaresi & Round carried out a workshop at Oxford Unlocked. Asking the question “How would you like other people to remember or think about your City?”, we worked with a group of 6 to 12 year olds to create their own postcards for Oxford. Using cut and paste, digital and found images, they transformed well known views with their own visions and imagery, incorporating parts of the city where they live and play.