Alison Dunhill

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Largo das Artes residency


International Art Residency Programme

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


In 2015 Alison Dunhill was invited to join the prestigious Largo das Artes International Art Residency Programme in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Programme is designed to nurture experimentation and innovation by stimulating dialogue between artists, curators and critics across cultures.

During her two-month Residency at Largo das Artes, in October-December 2015, Alison expanded some of the issues and practices which she had developed in recent years in the UK. Her starting point has been ‘found’ objects, and in the initial stages of her project she began to collect small twisted and crushed metal debris found on the streets of Rio de Janeiro.

Alison then juxtaposed these objects, freeing them from their primary function, propelling them into a possible poetry. The best results occurred when the visual twinning worked in tandem with the strongest first-use juxtaposition; for example, a piece of delicate lace with a computer motherboard. Links might be through colour, texture or size, all of which, together or separately, act as a counterpoint to the disparity between their original functions

Using the wonderful ‘given’ of the Largo das Artes studio’s metal roof rafters, she was able to hang, drape and float the diaphanous gauze which she frequently used as a template. Adhering to principles of weight, balance and tension, solid ‘knots’ of form are hung, stuck or tied to both sides of the light semi-transparent base-fabric. Depending on the position of the hanging, therefore, objects on one side can appear as ghostly repetitions, 'traces', of those on the other. Colour is often restricted, usually in repetition.

Openness to chance is essential in Alison’s process and she usually works on three or six pieces at one time, playing with how the materials and their by-products interact.

Inspiration comes from André Breton’s theories and practices (Nadja), Joseph Cornell’s Boxes, Sarah Sze’s installations, Kurt Schwitter’s collages and architecture and, more recently, the works of Brazilian artist Fernanda Gomes.

Below: Alison Dunhill at work in her studio at Largo das Artes

Here are some images of work Alison Dunhill made during her Residency; and here is a review of her work at Largo das Artes.




About Largo das Artes

Largo das Artes is a contemporary arts institute located in the historic city centre of Rio de Janeiro.

Dedicated to the development and exhibition of contemporary art, Largo das Artes aims to instigate critical thinking and create a lively, supportive and dynamic environment in which artists can develop their work.

A broader aim is to widen access to contemporary art, and to contribute to the urban and cultural revitalization of Rio's city centre.



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