Mike Ricketts

An urban world of rules, regulations and small rebellions: Mike Ricketts at the Exeter Phoenix

It’s a work that dates back to 2008, but Mike Ricketts‘ Amethyst could be a telling signpost to his exhibition at the Exeter Phoenix.

‘Mike Ricketts,’ says the Exeter Phoenix blurb, ‘is interested in the ways in which urban planners and developers design and regulate public spaces, and the complexity of actual social experience and urban life’.

The forlorn, isolated, lonely, disregarded sculpture Amethyst points to the failure of urban planning to deal with real social spaces. How aspirations are piqued and foiled by linguist tricks of the urban planners.

Spaces and histories are integral to Mike’s work. The Vessel, part of the 2013 Regional Interference, shared the story of the UK’s only prison ship of modern times.

Another exhibition is 2012’s Notes from Nowhere, in Frome. Here’s what Facebook said in preparation:

Mike Ricketts work for Notes from Nowhere, Huit Clos/Planning Line, is a poster declaring in bright orange script that “Hell is Other People”. The poster will be distributed to the public who are asked to erect it in public view – in a street facing window, on a noticeboard or in public space in some way. At the bottom of the poster a phone number is printed in bold white text. There is no information on the poster to let the public know what the phone number relates to but an obvious relationship is created between the statement on the poster and the number. Does the phone number provide an explanation or justification for the boldly negative statement? Or suggest a situation in which the statement is particularly true?

‘The work reflected an interest I had in making experimental projects in allegedly public spaces, inserting words, objects and images into different situations in ways that mimic existing social activities and simultaneously open up unlikely forms of engagement with particular regulatory authorities,’ says Mike on the The Aesthetic Trust site, where you can also see a few examples of the Jean-Paul Sartre quote posters in situ.

All of which points to a thoughtful and thought-provoking exhibition at the Exeter Phoenix.

Mike Ricketts’ exhibition will be at the Exeter Phoenix from Friday, March 20 to Saturday, May 2 2015.

Mike will lead a talk about the exhibition and his wider practice on Saturday, April 25 at 2.30pm (free)