FRAME_birmingham hosts 40 artists in 30 venues throughout Birmingham for 3 months. Works are exhibited in white frames in places we already go; cafes, bars, shops including Urban Outfitters. One of the artists being exhibited is Ed Wakefield, a Birmingham collage artist, in Birmingham Cathedral.
Ed Wakefield’s obsession with collage, posting daily on his website, has meant he has created this new world. One part of this world, Moltonia, is currently being exhibited with Project_FRAME at Birmingham Cathedral. An odd location in respects that this piece has scientific connotations; however, the belief of an afterlife is somewhat echoed in this piece.
A piece certainly needing more than a passing moment to even begin to understand, yet, I believe that every viewing of it, something new is revealed.
Wakefield describes the objects in each corner as ‘four elements’. One appears to look like a fossil, and in the top right like a deformed heart. The two in the bottom look like microscopic pictures, or aerial pictures of streams and deserts. From four very different looking ‘elements’ which one assumes make up this world, it indicates that this is a very abstract world.
The focal point of the piece is the house; a combination of an ‘Egyptian temple, a modernist zoological cage and a lavish wooden side panel from a millionaire’s mansion’ it appears as though elements of what humanity has created on Earth have been reattached. This indicates a big bang theory, how different elements have been collected together to make a new place, Moltonia. With the four new elements around the new building, it appears as though that this new realm is only growing. However, although there are scientific connotations, there is still a very surreal element; this being the rule of gravity; how the water still falls despite a no gravity climate of outer space. This reminds the viewer that this is a fantasy world, unlike Earth, despite having familiarities.
A big question mark hangs over what is geometrically placed under the glass wing; what looks like jelly babies, it is a detachment from the outer space background. Whether they are sweets, this does add a bittersweet element; if we continue with destroying our planet, this catastrophic world of new elements my be created. Whether this is an indication of the growing Moltonia, or whether that this is waste product from fuel, in the same way which a rocket is propelled.
Wakefield suggests that he creates ‘catastrophic scenarios’ however, it can be questioned as to who is at risk from this place. Whether it is to suggest that the breaking up of Earth is a foretelling sign of what is to come, or that there are people who live in this new place. This is absolutely down to interpretation. Yet, with the gargoyle over the archway, this suggests that this looks like a ruler’s palace, but a ruler of whom and what danger does this impose?
This collage, being so difficult to make sense of, may tell us more about the artist, Wakefield’s vibrant character. The artist reminds me rather of JM Barry, taking element of real life to create his own Neverland, perhaps as an escape.
There are many question marks over this piece indeed; however, it deserves a live viewing. Frame_birmingham are offering tours of the works throughout the city on a weekly basis on Saturdays, 11am, from York’s Bakery Cafe (1 Newhall Street).