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A Storm in a Monument: Brexit, Migration, the Rural, and the Artist Role

Saturday 12 August 2023

Celebrating the return of artist Clemens Wilhelm, Timespan organises an afternoon of screenings, discussions, and a banquet to reflect on Brexit, migration and the role of artists

In 2016, in response to Joseph Beuys’s exhibition at Timespan, the German artist Clemens Wilhelm created the monument “To The Unknown Artist” at the Lobster Pond in Helmsdale. Since its creation, this installation has become an integral part of the local landscape, sparking interest and curiosity among those who pass by.

On the occasion of Clemens’ return to Helmsdale, an afternoon of screenings, discussions, and a banquet will be hosted at Timespan. Clemens’ counter-monuments ” To The Unknown Artist” and “The Brexit Tree,” will initiate reflections on the narrative surrounding Brexit, its impact on the rural Highlands, migration and belongings, and the artist’s role in stimulating questions and challenging reality.

Event Schedule:

13:30: Tribute “To The Unknown Artist”

We will gather at the Unknown Artist monument to pay tribute. You are welcome to bring flowers and homages to celebrate the unknown artist.

14:30 – 15:00: Screening of “A Stone”, 2018

The short documentary by Clemens and Jan Sobotka leads us on a journey through the installation and inaugural performance of “To The Unknown Artist” in Helmsdale. The camera silently follows the rock’s installation during melancholic winter days, culminating in the inauguration ceremony where the sound of bagpipes accompanies the handover of the monument to nature.

15:00 – 16:30: Screening of “The Brexit Tree”, 2021

The documentary captures Clemens’ 2020 project in Huntly, consisting in planting a weeping willow on the first day of Brexit. Throughout history, the tree has symbolized both sorrow and healing, and for the artist, it holds profound significance as a representation of the complexity surrounding an event that reshaped the nation, like Brexit. The documentary unfolds media debates sparked by the Brexit Tree and sheds light on the conflicts of Brexit itself – between divisions, troubles, and hopes.

16:30 – 18:00: Panel Discussion: Brexit, Migration, the Rural Highlands, and the Artist Role

with Fadzai Mwakutuya, Giulia Gregnanin, Emilia Pietka-Nykaza, and Clemens Wilhelm, chaired by Philomena De Lima

The panel discussion explores the narrative surrounding Brexit, its impact on the rural Highlands, migration and belonging, and the artist role in stimulating questions and challenging reality

From 18:00: Mediterranean and Central European Banquet 

Join us at the River Cafe for a delightful dinner, where you can continue conversations and connections with fellow attendees

£17 pp 3 courses.
£14 for Community Card holders
Drinks by donation

Booking recommended at enquiries@timespan.org.uk