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Peter Fillingham’s summer residency at Project 78

There is a happening new two-part show at Project 78 in Norman Road. HOT’s Judy Parkinson sought out the artist to discover more.

LOVE FRANCE is an experimental social sculpture, and by walking through Project 78’s door or looking through the window you become part of it. Peter Fillingham is a creative pioneer whose gaze is set on discovering new landscapes in the mind’s eye. He is an artist who tests ideas, asks questions about the language we use and plays with new ways of thinking and communicating. He works on bringing history into the present, always with a generous spirit and an open mind.


He names Part 1 of his residency at Project 78 Gallery LOVE FRANCE quite simply because he does.  He lived and worked there until 2010.  Fellow artists who run Project 78, Patrick Jones and Naomi Holbrook, invited Fillingham to create a site-specific, immersive experience in their gallery in which he investigates his own practice, and that includes being unselfconsciously open to trading ideas with other artists.

There are new works alongside old. A triptych has emerged from his collaboration with Project 78: Here. Daisies. Peter. The first element is an oversized empty Ricard bottle, a found object from the flea market in Saint-Ouen, a suburb of Paris, Fillingham’s home for ten years. It references the ritual of the aperitif, the bottle is neither lying down, nor standing up. It is somewhere in between. This is a playful reference to absolute uncertainty, a recurrent theme in Fillingham’s work. Daisies is an appropriation of a work by Patrick Jones that conjures the importance of the basic elements of education – words, numbers, letters and colours. Peter is a photographic panel featuring George Frampton’s sculpture of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, signifying the importance of storytelling, dreaming and the experience of growing up … or not.

“Within this triptych there are two things that make sense to me: a recognition of the significance of past experiences, and a dynamic and radical appreciation of the present, suggesting what is ahead of me,” says Fillingham. One of his aims is to decentralise our culture. “Why should Peter Pan only be in London and Liverpool?” he asks. “What about the possibility of touring important cultural works or their essences, practices and ideas from village to village across every corner of Britain like travelling fairs?”

ELVS in its evocatively techno-nostalgic way consists of two light boxes, each silently activated by sound-to-light signals from analogue lighting control boxes, connected to a Sony Walkman playing a disco playlist.  This work was originally shown at Kaus Australis, Rotterdam in 1997. The non-word ELVS was taken from a small observational drawing of the side of a French freight train. This work was made at a time of collective awareness of the impact of HIV and AIDS.


Later in August Fillingham takes his ideas further in Part 2, A GATHERING, a truly collaborative non-binary, multi-disciplinary experience. Up to 45 artists will contribute works, artefacts, prints, multiple or published texts for the collective exhibition.

There will be a wall-based kinetic sculpture into which people are free to place other sound works. To close the show on Saturday 3rd September, art activator Edwina fitzPatrick will read from her book The Archive of the Trees in which she explores the nature, culture and ecology of a place through mortality and love.

“Some of you will be making readings at the opening event or on another day during the duration of AGATHERING if you wish. Performances of any kind can take place too,” says Fillingham.  This gives artists the chance to visualise and verbalise the big issues of today like our environment and the natural world.

When you enter the gallery get ready to release your senses. “It’s not about looking, liking or not liking,” explains Fillingham. “It’s about participating, playing a role, being part of the show.”

Project 78 Norman Road St Leonards on Sea TN38 0EJ // 01424 272 348

Open Thursdays to Saturdays

Instagram: @project78gallery //



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Posted 16:26 Wednesday, Aug 3, 2022 In: Visual Arts

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