In November James gave a lecture at the Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall in London. The subject was Black and White Photography and was delivered to members of the club’s Photography Group in the St James’s room.
The lecture covered a brief history of B&W photography, information and issues regarding printing and equipment. Then went on to detail James’s personal ‘journey’ with photography, his influences and current working process. He finished with details of how the Metamorphosis project at the Ashmolean Museum was perfectly suited to B&W photography: the lack of colour helping visually narrow the gap between objects and viewers shown in the images.
As this was the Royal Automobile Club he also included several unpublished images from a vintage motoring event he photographed back in 2013 and finished with a slide that included some of the advice given to him over the years, including from David Alan Harvey ‘One camera, One lens’ and from Gerry Badger ‘Once you frame it you own it’.
The ‘Life in the Arthaus’ project was exhibited at the Arthaus building in June 2016 as part of the 2016 London Festival of Architecture.
Full project details below:
Life in the Arthaus London Festival of Architecture. 1st to 30th June 2016.
During the 1990s the number of UK residents working from home doubled, and now over 40% of all UK businesses are run from home. Challenging the traditional distinction between work and home, this major lifestyle shift, together with a growing desire for more sustainable living solutions has created the demand for developments in which residents can live, work, dine out, socialise and exercise – all under one roof.These mixed-use communities are becoming increasingly popular, both reflecting, and offering solutions to, contemporary issues.
James A. Hudson’s latest documentary work focuses on the Arthaus building in East London, transformed five years ago by architecture firm Lynas Smith into a mixed-use development. Originally a 1930s theatre house, dance hall, artists’ studio and gallery, the Arthaus has a rich heritage as a space filled with people and their creations. Now home to restaurants, a yoga studio and commercial office space, as well as private apartments and gardens, the building is once again a hub for creativity and enterprise at the heart of the Hackney community. Here, home and work are housed side-by-side – the perfect example of the way in which this shift in lifestyle is being reflected in contemporary architecture and urban (re)development. The Life in the Arthaus project involves documenting the day to day lives of some of the residents and businesses which form part of the Arthaus community.
The exhibition will showcase the project for the first time as a printed body of work to a public audience. Highlighting the increased crossover between life and work, the domestic and the creative, Life in the Arthaus visually captures one such community,
offering viewers a unique behind the scenes glimpse into this relatively new way of living.
The images were the result of a project to visualise Blake’s 19th century poem through the exploration of the capital in the 21st century. They were later animated and combined with multiple audio tracks of readings of the poem to make the short film. Neither choreographed nor scripted, London captures these late night walks across the city’s bridges, parks and streets, where James photographed members of the public whose behaviour echoed something of the desolation felt in Blake’s lines.
The Poetry Brothel is an immersive poetry event, launching at Vout-O-Renees in London on Saturday 7 May, with live poetry, jazz, burlesque and tarot readings. For full details see the Poetry Brothel London Facebook page.
A boxed set of 12 A6 prints from the project is now available. Lamda prints on Ilford fibre-based paper, in an embossed presentation box. Limited edition of 9, numbered and signed. For further details, or to purchase a set, please contact James.
Four images from Metamorphosis: Form and Change at the Ashmolean Museum will be shown at the Menier Gallery in London Bridge as part of the Transitions exhibition. The exhibition will feature work representing change, metamorphosis or evolvement through painting, photography, sculpture, print making and digital art.
The show will run from Monday 4th – Saturday 9th April 2016. Private view from 6-8.30pm on Tuesday 5th April.
The framed prints are available to purchase from the gallery or direct from James – please contact him directly for details.
Formerly home to Emeli Sandé, the Arthaus building’s musical heritage lives on through boutique training facility Garnish Music Production.
Courses cover a range of skills, from songwriting and mixing to electronic music production and sound design – all taught by a team of experienced instructors from their office and studio space on the second floor.
From its office on the first floor of the Arthaus building, advertising technology company Silence Media creates and delivers leading advertising campaigns and technological solutions for some of the world’s major brands.
Team members Ollie Henderson, Warrick Brown and Anna Vigorito challenge each other to a game of darts during the wind-down to Christmas. Warwick won.
Metamorphosis: Form and Change in the Ashmolean Museum is a collection of black and white photographs produced by James during his time as Artist in Residence at the museum in 2010-11 following its multi-million pound transformation.
This beautifully produced photobook, featuring high quality duotone images, explores the relationship between visitors and art in a museum environment.
Inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the project deals with the unusual and sometimes uneasy relationships between visitors and the objects they encounter in the museum setting, and questions whether we need to see ourselves in the art before us. As the things that become art are placed in a museum and silenced, cordoned off and abstracted, so the visitor is hushed by their grand surroundings, and chaperoned through a gallery according to a plan designed for them by the curator.
James writes, “I remembered reading about people being turned into inanimate objects in Ovid’s stories of metamorphosis – in one story Daphne becomes a tree. The frustration caused by an inability to speak is a recurring theme in Ovid’s stories, and this related to what I was seeing – quiet, often silent, visitors and speechless objects. I suppose the pictures are like echoes of what has happened in the museum.”
As poet, actor and dramatist Heathcote Williams observes, “This extraordinary project shows that nature can imitate art. James A. Hudson catches visitors to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford being influenced and transformed by the dramatic objects on view in subtle, often eerie ways. Magic.”
A testament to the visitor-art relationship, Metamorphosis: Form and Change in the Ashmolean Museum captures and preserves moments of true and often tender connection between members of the public and their historical predecessors, presenting a pictorial study of men and women finding identity, companionship, and solace in art.
Susie Gault, former Press and Publicity Manager at the Ashmolean Museum, writes, “It is with great joy that [the photographs] are now being presented in this book, a timeless record of one of the most exciting redevelopments in recent British museum history.”
Published by The Bardwell Press, in a limited edition of 350, the 96-page hardback book features 77 high quality duotone images. Each copy is individually signed, stamped and numbered. Limited edition of 20 with presentation slipcase. Also available with signed, numbered, limited edition Lambda fibre print.
With thanks to all those who so generously supported the Kickstarter campaign.
To celebrate the publication of my book, Metamorphosis: Form and Change in the Ashmolean Museum, we are having a bit of a do at The Jam Factory in Oxford this Wednesday – and you are invited.
Date: Wednesday 2nd March 2016
Time: 5.30 – 7.30pm
Location: Boiler Room, The Jam Factory, Oxford OX1 1HU
Drinks and nibbles will be provided.
Please RSVP to studio[at]jamesahudson.info or 07970 478377.
Occupying a studio on the first floor of the Arthaus Building, Rachel Chudley and her team design unique interiors for creative people – with a little help from pug Deedee. Drawing inspiration from pop-art, modernist design and the Abstract Expressionists, and driven by the positive effects of art on our quality of life, Rachel’s work mirrors the passions, quirks and humour of her clients.