For three months last year, Chris Dobrowolski was artist-in-residence with the British Antarctic Survey. This exhibition is the outcome of his extraordinary experience of going south.
To this seemingly blank canvas, Dobrowolski decided to take the art world with him – in the shape of gilt picture frames. Packed into storage boxes, they accompanied the artist on his journey to Antarctica, to be constructed on arrival into a traditionally designed sledge. Dobrowolski and the sledge journeyed across the polar ice, becoming a dot on the distant horizon as they were subsumed by the landscape. The sledge now sits in the gallery, the familiar reside of frames, now made uncomfortable by their transformation into something otherwordly, loaded with its own mythology.
Dobrowolski’s sledge boxes have also found their way into the gallery. Now transformed into dioramas, scenes of life in Antarctica are played out in front of us. Lived experience fills each object in the show – stretching beyond the artist’s own personal experience and reaching those who have gone before – the heroic, albeit failed expeditions of Scott and Shackleton also resonate in Dobrowolski’s work. Often humorous, but always thought-provoking, this exhibition leaves us searching for a space between myth and reality.