Artists’ Research Centre (ARC)

Alexandra Leykauf


Creative Libraries Programme
Focal Point Gallery
May 2017 – April 2018

The connection between the idea of landscape and its representation is central in Leykauf’s work, seeming to embody her fascination for the image’s multiple identities – a physical representation, a space, a mental projection – and its key role in the constitution of memory. How do representations of the landscape – paintings, maps, literary or cinematographic narratives – determine our perception of nature and our position within it? How do landscape and its representations enable scientists, archaeologists, writers or artists to reveal and to make sense of our common history? The cultural wealth of Essex, in particular of the Southend region, open to the sea, provided Leykauf’s investigation with fertile ground; she physically explored the region, on foot and by bike and gathered visual, literary, geographical and historical material on these different spaces.

20 January to 22 April 2018

Alexandra Leykauf, Cliché Vere, 2018, photogram print on silver gelatine paper, installation view, Focal Point Gallery. Photo: Anna Lukala, courtesy of Focal Point Gallery and Artists’ Research Centre.

Alexandra Leykauf, aerial, 2018, installation view, HD projection. Focal Point Gallery Photo: Anna Lukala, courtesy of Focal Point Gallery and Artists’ Research Centre.

Alexandra Leykauf, Caprona exhibition installation view, Forum Library, Southend on Sea 2018 Photo: Anna Lukala, courtesy of Focal Point Gallery and Artists’ Research Centre.

Caprona is the culmination of Alexandra Leykauf’s Creative Libraries Fellowship. The title of the exhibition is taken from the science fiction trilogy The Land that Time Forgot by Edward Rice Buroughs. Caprona is a mythical island in which all the evolutionary stages of life are simultaneously living side by side in a single landscape. The exhibition is a reflection of Leykauf’s research fellowship and a glimpse into her thinking about the opportunites it has presented for her own artistic practice.

Artist Statement

Alexandra Leykauf (b. 1976 Nürnberg, Germany) is a film maker and photographer based in Berlin. For her Fellowship her research has centred on these landscapes around Southend; the history of their documentation and the ways in which artists, writers and archaeologists have interpreted them in literature, art and science. Beyond the physical evidence there is also the landscape of the imagination – the how the idea of landscape came into being, how it has developed from ancient sagas to the writings of Seabald, Ackroyd and Lichtenstein.

Leykauf  studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Nuremberg; Gerrit Rietveld Akademie, Amsterdam (audio visual media & photography); and Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (residency). Leykauf works with photographs, photocopies and film – her pictures and installations deal with perspective, deception and illusion. Photographs that have been found, for example, from burnt down theatre and cinema halls are torn from their original contexts, processed and manipulated, so that the ‘unique character’ of a picture is put into question. She sees her pictures as a ‘kaleidoscope’ whose individual facets each have equal prominence and keep on finding new points of contact.

Selected exhibitions include: Rencontres de la Photographie; Arles 2016; FILM – Alexandra Leykauf, Cinema 2, Centre Pompidou, Paris 2015; Les images constellantes, Villa du Parc, Annemasse, France 2015; Bad Thoughts – Collection Martijn and Jeannette Sanders, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam 2014 and Candid Etui, Galerie Martin van Zomeren, Amsterdam 2014.

Partner Institutions

Focal Point Gallery

Focal Point Gallery is south Essex’s gallery for contemporary visual art, promoting and commissioning major solo exhibitions, group and thematic shows, a programme of events including performances, film screenings and talks, as well as offsite projects and temporary public artworks. The organisation currently produces up to seven gallery exhibitions each year, in which artists and curators are given a platform to make new work in response to the gallery’s unique location on the ground floor of the town’s new library and learning facility, The Forum.

Southend Libraries & Museums

Southend Libraries & Museums comprise 5 historic museum sites and 6 Libraries located within the Southend Borough. Sites include Beecroft Art Gallery which stands as a beacon of inspiration, showcasing exciting contemporary work and the best in historic art and costume; Prittlewell Priory, an important historic building once home to Cluniac monks; and The Forum, an award-winning building and flagship library to the town.

University of Essex

Established more than 50 years ago, in 1964, the University of Essex has gained a global reputation with three of our subjects ranked in the world’s Top 100. Our pioneering research helps change lives and has placed us in the Top 20 UK universities for research excellence, with politics consistently topping the rankings. An international community for original thinkers, the University of Essex provides a transformational education which equips our students with the skills, knowledge and curiosity to build successful careers and lead fulfilling lives.  In 2013, The University of Essex expanded its provision in Southend when it entered into partnership with Southend Borough Council and South Essex College to create The Forum, an academic and library hub in the heart of the town.

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