Bonington Gallery exhibition - Emily Andersen - Somewhere Else Entirely
This Spring the Bonington Gallery presents a new three-screen video installation by the acclaimed photographer Emily Andersen featuring the American-born poet and writer Ruth Fainlight, who has become one of Britain’s most distinguished poets.
“When I’m not writing poetry everything is okay, life’s fine, but it is not entire. Something is missing.” Ruth Fainlight
Ruth Fainlight was born in New York City in 1931 and moved to England when she was 15. During a lifetime dedicated to writing she has produced numerous collections of poetry, short stories, and translations. In 1959 she married the writer, Alan Sillitoe, and her many literary friendships included Sylvia Plath, Jane and Paul Bowles, and Robert Graves.
Andersen’s work is an intimate portrait of Fainlight, now aged 91, presenting fragments of the poet’s life. Taking inspiration from Renaissance triptychs and their depiction of different elements of the same subject across three panels, Somewhere Else Entirely captures Fainlight at her home in London, making notes, on her walks, and in the seaside town of Brighton where she spent her teenage years. Each image is carefully framed with a photographer’s eye for composition and detail – Fainlight walking along the corridor, her green cardigan against green foliage, the booklined walls – and intentionally moves at a gentle pace, sometimes almost appearing to be a series of still images.
In Somewhere Else Entirely Fainlight talks off-screen, revealing fascinating insights into her life, her creative process, and how she is ‘in the hands of the poem’. Her intensely visual poetry and fiction touch on themes of time, memory, and loss – and in her voiceover, she movingly recites her poem ‘Somewhere Else Entirely’ composed after the death of her husband.
Andersen has been a photographer for four decades. Her work includes interiors, architecture, and landscape but she is best known for her award-winning portraiture, capturing well-known faces including Nico, Peter Blake, and Helen Mirren. Somewhere Else Entirely is Andersen’s first completed video portrait and is inspired by her decade-long friendship with Fainlight. The exhibition also shares its title with Fainlight’s 2018 poetry collection which features Andersen’s photographs on the cover.
The 11 minute long, three-channel video, will be shown on a 10.5m wide curved screen within the gallery space. To accompany the exhibition there will be an in-conversation with Emily Andersen and Ruth Fainlight, and an evening of performative readings, using the work to reflect on the reciprocity of words and images, and the process of biography.
The launch of Somewhere Else Entirely in Nottingham is significant, as Fainlight’s husband Alan Sillitoe was famously from the city, and the couple met in a local bookshop. Andersen is Senior Lecturer in Critical and Visual Practice of Photography at Nottingham Trent University.
Bonington Gallery is part of Curated & Created, NTU’s extra-curricular and public arts programme.
Somewhere Else Entirely (2023)
Funded by the Bonington Gallery and Nottingham Trent University
Full production credits here
Notes for editors
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Emily Andersen is a London-based artist and graduate of the Royal College of Art. Her work has been exhibited in galleries including: The Photographers’ Gallery, London; The Institute of Contemporary Art, London; The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh; The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai; China Arts Museum, Shanghai; BOOKMARC Gallery, Tokyo; and LOWW Gallery, Tokyo, Japan.
A number of her portraits are in the permanent collection of The National Portrait Gallery, London. She has won awards including the John Kobal prize for portraiture. Her third book Another Place was published in 2023. She is a Senior lecturer in theory and practice of photography at Nottingham Trent University.
Bonington Gallery was established in 1969 as part of the modernist purpose-built School of Art & Design, Bonington Building at Nottingham Trent University. Situated at the heart of the art school, the Gallery is surrounded by a wide range of creative disciplines, with strong connections across several academic departments. Whilst the core association of the Gallery is one of contemporary visual art, the resident context drives an artistic programme that unifies a range of artistic, cultural and research practices. This has enabled the gallery to form a unique identity within the regional cultural landscape, whilst establishing a broader critical context associated with reflecting and exploring artistic production and its relationship to wider societal discourse. The Gallery programmes three exhibitions per academic year, accompanied by a prolific public events schedule of talks, screenings and seminars.
The gallery has organised and housed several important exhibitions over the years including Mirage Enigmas of Race, Difference and Desire, 1996 (including Sonia Boyce, Glenn Ligon and Steve McQueen) and BT New Contemporaries, 1992 (including Tacita Dean and Permindar Kaur). Recently we have developed solo exhibitions with Giorgio Sadotti, Sara MacKillop, Dick Jewell, Ruth Angel Edwards and group projects with The Community, Paris, The Serving Library and Nottingham Black Archive.
About Nottingham Trent University
Nottingham Trent University (NTU) received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2021 for cultural heritage science research. It is the second time that NTU has been bestowed the honour of receiving a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its research, the first being in 2015 for leading-edge research on the safety and security of global citizens.
The Research Excellence Framework (2021) classed 83% of NTU’s research activity as either world-leading or internationally excellent. 86% of NTU’s research impact was assessed to be either world-leading or internationally excellent.
NTU was awarded The Times and The Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2023 and ranked second best university in the UK in the Uni Compare Top 100 rankings (2021/2022). It was awarded Outstanding Support for Students 2020 (Times Higher Education Awards), University of the Year 2019 (Guardian University Awards, UK Social Mobility Awards), Modern University of the Year 2018 (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide) and University of the Year 2017 (Times Higher Education Awards).
NTU is the 5th largest UK institution by student numbers, with approximately 40,000 students and more than 4,400 staff located across five campuses. It has an international student population of 7,000 and an NTU community representing over 160 countries.
Since 2000, NTU has invested £570 million in tools, technology, buildings and facilities.
NTU is in the UK’s top 10 for number of applications and ranked first for accepted offers (2021 UCAS UG acceptance data). It is also among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was the first UK university to sign the Social Mobility Pledge.
NTU is ranked 2nd most sustainable university in the world in the 2022 UI Green Metric University World Rankings (out of more than 900 participating universities).
Bonington Gallery exhibition - Emily Andersen - Somewhere Else Entirely
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