Esther Windsor


Siege Weapons of Love

6 Oct – 4 Nov 2007
Private View Fri 5 Oct 6-9pm

1000000mph project space

open Mon-Fri. 12 - 6pm

59 Old Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6QA

Curated by Esther Windsor

“Young British artists who are not afraid to dream”.
Alan Yentob on Walker and Bromwich BBC1 arts program IMAGINE 2007.

Siege Weapons of Love is the latest manifestation of the artists mission to protest and dream via public art, sculpture and performance and at 100000mph goes a step further in forging this campaign. Siege Weapons of Love shows hybrid sculptures, which graft together potent symbol as weapons to form oddly sexualised objects that make impotent the objects of war and stand in resistance to current use of weaponry and war. 1000,000mph will house new prototypes for an alternative armoury soon to be unleashed on an unsuspecting world to spread their loving powers.

For the last three years Walker and Bromwich have been running The Friendly Frontier Love campaign, a campaign that “searches for love in a war torn world, by creating situations and environments that lead the participant towards an alternate world of love and peace”. Together this collaborative duo dream with a conscience to construct a vision of a better world and allows us to occupy a space that is hard to find in the world we usually inhabit, exploiting a style of Kitsch, Surrealism and Popism with a reverence for love.

From humble beginnings the campaign began with, the construction of ‘Love Cannon’ in a small village in France. This pink phallic inflatable cannon, has since lead the masses down Brick Lane from Chapman Fine Art to the Whitechapel and last month at the Big Chill Festival where Walker took centre stage and addressed the 20,000 strong, audience persuading them to unite in sending there love out to the world. ‘The biggest spectacle was undoubtedly the procession… made its way through the grounds before stopping beside the Open Air stage. The Love Cannon fired into the crowd. It was a lovely moment’. (The Independent - Review, By Russell Myrie, 08.08.07),

The references to history and art history are evident from anti Vietnam peace protests where women inserted flowers into the barrels of guns, to Claes Oldenburg’s ‘Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks’ commissioned in 1969 by the students of Yale University and acting as a podium for free speech and a monument against war. These are actions and objects that made a difference at a critical time in world history. Walker and Bromwich set out to transform consciousness and were included recently in The Art of Public Debate at the ICA, using Mark Wallinger’s reconstruction of Brian Haw’s Parliament Square protest to re-opened the debate about artists’ relationship to politics and public spaces. Including Wallinger, Mark McGowan and chaired by JJ Charlesworth, Walker and Bromwich’s work was noted for exploring happiness as a tool for protest and exploiting public funding with its own political agenda and civic values for public art. With phallic symbol weapons and pink plastic materials evoking ejaculation and flesh, Walker and Bromwich suggest the sexualisation of war in violence or its opposite peace, which in classical art is depicted as associated fertility, richness, bountiful and life giving. Plastic pinks and purples can also refer to pop art, a playfulness and contemporary consumerism, while the ritual and performance suggest a religious or communal experience.

As with much of Walker and Bromwich’s work this show can be seen as a staging point in a process that will go far beyond the gallery walls. In recent projects they have taken to the oceans with ‘Celestial radio’, a mirror ball boat that broadcasts both light and sound in a search for the answers to life’s big questions. Or ‘Sci-fi hot tub’ a floating hot tub, where participants were invited to become part of a scientific test that asked ‘can an art work really act as a catalyst for well being’? In Panacea, an ambitious collaborative project with artist Michael Pinsky, they have tested out the curing powers of art at Corner House, Manchester, John Hansard Galley, and this summer at Milton Keynes Gallery.

Zoë Walker and Neil Bromwich have worked together since 1999 their projects including My Island Home for the V&A Urban Nomads at South London Gallery; Fusion for St Johns Hospital Livingston and Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh; Celestial Radio for COAST with Commissions East; Love Cannon Parade with the Great Unsigned , Chapman Fine Art and Whitechapel Gallery; Site-Seeing; A Disneyfication of Cities at the Künstlerhaus, Vienna; and Somewhere Special at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Panacea has travelled from Centre de Création Contemporaine, Tours, France, Parvis Centre d’Art Contemporain, France, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, and Cornerhouse, Manchester, and Panacea Goes Cycling at Milton Keynes Gallery.  Panacea is sponsored by the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England. An exhibition catalogue for Panacea and a monograph on Zoë Walker & Neil Bromwich are to be published by John Hansard Gallery, and distributed by Cornerhouse Publications, in Nov 2007. Celestial Radio is touring with Turner Contemporary summer 2008.