Sunday, 2 May 2010


For Random Acts of Art three artists, who are known for placing an emphasis on social exchange in their artistic practice, were commissioned to develop new work over the course of a two-month residency at the gallery.

Artists Volkhardt Mueller, Lady Lucy and Amy Feneck were asked to respond to the context of the West Quarter of Exeter and to collaborate with people who live or work in the area. Each of the final works on display in the exhibition are the result of this process of engagement. 

Lady Lucy has an ongoing interest in the every day and a self-proclaimed fascination with other people’s lives. For Random Acts of Art she sent invitations to the residents of nearby housing estates Mermaid Court, Neptune Court and Wheatley Court to sit with her at her mobile portrait studio and be painted. The Court Portraits are the result of the encounters that ensued.

Snippets of the conversations that took place during the painting sessions are made public around the edge of the canvases, offering us some insight into the story of each sitter.

Lady Lucy’s social portraiture lies somewhere between social practice and object making. On this occasion the artist will be redistributing the paintings to the sitters at the close of the exhibition. This radical gesture emphasises that the overriding value of an artwork can lie as much in the process of making as in a physical body of work.

Epilogue is based on a conversation between the artist and Terry Timlett, a member of Exeter CND, about Terry’s political activism and his particularly ‘independent spirit’. The latter was a term Feneck heard used in association with the West Quarter and took as her conceptual starting point.

In the film we see an actor and Terry as himself re-enacting an edited version of the original words from the conversation. Following the artist’s direction, which can be heard from behind the camera lens, the performers constantly move in and out of character – a theatrical device utilized in the final epilogue of a play.

Through the layers of editing, the artist gives multiple voices to a series of memories, opinions and values and in doing so confuses the boundaries of reality and fiction. As the narrative is delivered we are reminded that not only memory but history and social conditioning play and important role in the scripting and editing of our lives.

Wearing a sandwich board to initiate conversations and collect memories from passers by in the area, Mueller led and recorded a number of interviews with numerous striking West Quarter characters.

He discovered that both unsolicited displays of performance and carnival were once characteristic of an area where arguably there is now little sense of public ritual or event.

Majorette Rehearsing is a utopian portrait of the built environment, which unfolds through ten trajectories. The long receding views, enabled by the digital technology, expand and alter the actual scene, acknowledging an act of public performance without ceremony. The majorette is Muller’s West Quarter archetype, a paradoxical figure of individual aspiration, community celebration and carnival.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Tea Time!

To mark the last day of the Random Acts of Art exhibition tomorrow, we are holding a May Day tea party at the gallery...come and marvel at the vintage spread laid on by Odd Crocks, Otto Retro and Absolutely Cupcakes!

Tea & cake will be served from 3.30 - 6.30pm. 

Speed Portraiture

Lady Lucy talking to people at last night's speed portraiture event - thanks to everyone who came!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Wrights & Sites

West Quarter Water Walk From the Tap Bar, White Hart Hotel, South Street Exeter 28 April 2010. 

Last night Simon Persighetti and Phil Smith led a Mis-Guided exploration following a water course down through the West Quarter to the Quay. Like the flow of water, walkers found themselves slipping down the gaps between fact and fiction.

Simon Persighetti & Phil Smith are core members of Wrights & Sites, a group of four artist-researcher-lecturers with a special relationship to site and landscape. They make work across a range of media: site specific performance, published Mis-Guides & Mis-Guided Tours, themed drifts, mythogeographic mapping, multi-media installations, public presentations and articles.

See for more.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Some local online press cuttings about Random Acts of Art:




Friday, 23 April 2010

The Random Acts of Art Exhibition is now open 
Saturday 24 April - Saturday 1 May
10 - 5pm
(Closed Sunday 25 April)
Admission Free

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Peter Thomas is Exeter's longest established and best selling local Author and has had a lifetime involvement with photography. He is also owner of Exeter's largest private photographic archive, the Isca Historical Photographic collection, which was established in 1974 and contains around 60,000 images of Exeter.

Peter presented a never-seen-before series of images of Exeter's West Quarter to a packed house at Spacex on Tuesday evening.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Some images of Amy Feneck's film shoot that took place over the weekend

Photography by Ben Langworthy

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Street Poetry

A collaborative poem written as part of a poetry workshop at Spacex today, led by Liv Torc, the Bard of Exeter. A poem inspired by the life and poetry found in the West Quarter of Exeter...

Room to let – ideal for serious student
Beyond the low moan of clone-town commerce
And a High Street riddled with ribald rhyme
Lies a wonderful Wild West.
The clink of roman coins reverberate through time
To the cash registers of a Cappuccino bar.
Cultural cross-hatch expressed in fleeting shops
Whose memory remains imbedded in the pavement’s passage.
The art is as much a part of these streets as the fruit and veg cart
Which is also a part of the heart of the art.
If you collect faces this is a good place to lurk
In the shadows I have seen fear and hope
And at best a sudden hidden lust.
Everyday lives of the past woven into the walls by weavers.
Money builds walls between people, buys indifference and personal space
But nobody has a scent to their name in this place
So we all know the roots of the sadness in the eyes of each face.

On Little Rack Street flat-chested women torture midgets.
Taller men might favour Rack Close Lane
Taking care not to leave any refuge there
The Age of Aquarius is heralded from amid medieval churches
Life ordered between buildings
Do you think the rooks are saying ‘Do not disturb?’
Because it all seems to be in his bedroom
And we are merely intruders in this park.
Renegades of the graveyard.
Roman walls shade the history of slaughter/conquest
Now our daughters get slaughtered within the West Quarter

Past the stream lies the peace shop, peace sells but who’s buying?
How strange to see such a rare commodity
The visual speed dating of window-shopping
Research the old zones, scrub the stones
Etched emo-goth, tattoo your banana blue
The ancient elegance of Tucker’s Hall
Partially obscured by the presence of a Portaloo

In a musty interior everyone’s favourite granny
Once sold whips, chains of bondage – but now she is flats
Stairs that are blocked, locked memories forgotten in mortar
I have smelt death on Preston Street, sickly and sweet
Decaying on the floor of her flat, leaving only her cat and her name
The coffin entrance – out of use
The tattoo of a hand-made belt cuts deeper than 19 butchers
‘It’s like being scratched by kittens’ he said,
As he carved out my broken heart with his needle.

There’s no guts, no glory if you don’t take a Walkabout in the West Quarter
Climb success to the top of Fore Street
Step down to new heights
Funky junk shops with windows throwing beats to the streets
Like aching marching feet
The breeze played an empty larger can like the drums of a marching band
As ghosts lined the streets waiting to be pulled from their graves for a dance
Know about rave? Please come in.
Random acts of art are our inheritance

Last orders are called
The stargazers are now being served. 

Friday, 16 April 2010

There was some unusual pom pom related activity at the top of Stepcote Hill this morning during Volkhardt Muller's final shoot. 

The majorettes and their coach viewing some of the footage back at the gallery

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


Volkhardt Muller has been videoing majorette performances at various locations in the West Quarter today...

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Easter Explorers

Today Kathy and Hannah led a workshop session for 7-10 year olds who, armed with  explorer kits, headed off into West Quarter to see what they could find out about this place and it’s people. 

Here's some of what they found: A manhole cover made by Parkin and sons of Exeter; some interesting doorways; some very old key-holes and hinges; spiders' nests; fearsome dogs and alley cats; an artist at work in Neptune Court (Lady Lucy); a watering can which looked like a face; some windows reflecting light onto a wall; some flowers growing from gaps in the path; worm holes, a fire riser; an interesting shape which looks like a dog on the Co-op window. 

Participants took photographs, made sound recordings, collected specimens and made drawings. Back at the gallery they experimented with ways of displaying their research. The final display can be seen on 24th April 2-4pm.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Lady Lucy in Wheatley Court

Mother and daughter, painted by Lady Lucy today

Friday, 9 April 2010


Today Lucy painted Paul, Tony and a number of other residents of Mermaid Court.
Amy is currently writing a script based on a series of interviews and conversations she has conducted with people from the area. 

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Amy Feneck interviewing Mr. Terry Timlett of the Exeter CND at the gallery today

Lady Lucy's portrait studio out and about in Neptune Court

Lucy received a warm welcome today from the residents of the very sunny housing estate Neptune Court, just off Preston Street. Among her numerous friendly sitters today were a postman, a very patient drain maintenance man and a whippet. Tomorrow Lucy will be based in the nearby Mermaid Court and she already has people lined up to be painted - fingers crossed for more lovely weather!

If you live in the area local to Spacex and want to join in with this project by having your portrait painted, please come down and find us at Neptune Court, Mermaid Yard or Wheatley Court. Lady Lucy will be out painting tomorrow and all of next week.

All portraits will be on display as part of the Random Acts of Art exhibition at Spacex from 24th April - 1st May. At the end of the day on 1st May anyone who has sat for a portrait will be invited to take the painting away with them to keep.