The Belief in Things Disappearing, a solo exhibition by artist Jo Lathwood, is open to members of the public in MIRROR at Arts University Plymouth until Friday 15 December. Jo will also be hosting an Artist Talk at Plymouth Arts Cinema on Thursday 9 November from 6pm to 7pm.
Featuring film, time lapse video, drawings and sculptures made in response to Plymouth’s history and landscape, Jo’s starting point for the exhibition comes as a self directed challenge; to make a show that disappears.
The Belief in Things Disappearing explores the themes of waste and magic, two seemingly incongruous subjects that underpin every aspect of the work presented. The exhibition delves into our understanding of waste disposal and the transformation of personal items into trash, challenging the notion of ‘disappearance’ in a world governed by the conservation of mass. It also examines the role of magic in a world increasingly dominated by technology, where the unknown is steadily shrinking, and pure belief is a rarity.
Traditionally magic held a space between art and science that used to be a much bigger part of our understanding of the world. Magic resides in the realm of the unknown and as technology has advanced there is less space for grey areas, deception or pure belief.
We watch as items vanish in the magician’s sleight of hand trick, knowing it for what it is. Already deeply concerned with the environmental impact of her practice, this challenge to disappear has shaped every aspect of how the work has been made, shown and the idea of its disappearance once the exhibition closes.
Jo Lathwood is an artist whose practice encompasses drawing, sculptural works, and large installations in both galleries and the public realm. She adopts an interdisciplinary approach to her research, incorporating science, technology, craft, and art.
Themes such as transitions, viewpoints, illusions, aspiration, environmentalism, and anti-capitalism are woven throughout her practice. Jo is acutely aware of our impact on the environment and regularly creates work with and about recycled and waste materials. Since writing an open manifesto in 2019, she aspires to create each artwork within a sustainable system.
Born in 1984, Jo studied at the University of Brighton, where she acquired a First Class Degree in Fine Art Sculpture. She is a founding trustee for BRICKs, which promotes the arts in Bristol and provides affordable studio spaces for artists. She also serves on the council for the Earth Art Gallery, which links artists to academics in the field of Earth Sciences, providing space for collaboration at Bristol University.
Hannah Rose, curator at MIRROR, told ArtsCulture: “Jo and I began our conversations about this new body of work in September 2021. For two years we have chatted about material investigations; the challenges of working as a sculptor and wanting to make work in sustainable ways; about the systems of the artworld and exhibition making, and how far there is to go before we face up to the emergency of the climate crisis.
“Jo has told me a whole array of fascinating anecdotes and facts, like how we lose weight by breathing, and how Bonfire Night produces more emissions than the energy from waste plants produce in a whole year.
“It’s been an incredible journey I feel lucky to be part of and I am so excited for our audiences to experience the work that has come out of this process.”
top image: Artist Jo Lathwood
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