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Simon Faithfull

Hertford Union
12 September – 04 October 1998


For the duration of Simon Faithfull’s installation Hertford Union, water from the Hertford Union Canal was pumped through clear tubes running through the rear wall of the gallery and through an intricate network of illuminated filter units. The water then flowed back out into the canal again.

The water was pumped into the gallery from the canal, which runs behind the gallery, through a tube high on the wall, and exited through a hole at floor level. The filtering process consisted of eight towers, each with three illuminated filter units. Over the course of the exhibition these units became living environments for various organisms and objects from the canal, deposited as the water circulated.

The gallery floor was strewn with vein-like tubes filled with the slowly purifying water from outside. In an analogous process to dialysis, the work started the impossible task of cleaning the water of the canal network within the clinical environment of the white-walled gallery space. The installation literally brought the outside world into the gallery; however, in such a rarefied space, this could only be done under clinical conditions: the water was channeled, controlled, purified and carefully inspected before being returned the tumbling chaos of the canal.

Simon Faithfull lives in Berlin and London. His drawings, videos and installations have been in numerous international exhibitions. In 2005 he was an artist-in-residence with the British Antarctic Survey. He received his Master of Fine Art at Reading University (1994 – 1996) and a BA First Class at Central St Martins School of Art (1986 – 1989)

Publication – A booklet entitled Adelaide was produced by Simon Faithfull and Chisenhale Gallery



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