The inaugural exhibition at Trafalgar Avenue marks the culmination of an 18-month collaborative project bringing together nine artists from across the UK to respond to the iconic modernist ruin, St Peter’s Seminary.
Acknowledging the longstanding fascination with St Peter’s, the project draws from and builds upon the interest of artists, architects, and anarchists alike.
In February 2020, just weeks prior to the first national lockdown, the group travelled to the west coast of Scotland to visit the Seminary, to experience first-hand the skeletal remains of the vast concrete structure and document the significant monument in flux.
As we tentatively emerge from and begin to make sense of this surreal and unsettling chapter, the exhibition seeks to engage viewers with the Seminary at a time when its own future remains uncertain, through the lens of a group of artists whose work embraces a range of approaches to image-making, from painting to printmaking, photography and film.
Reflecting both a moment in time pre-COVID and the artists’ personal and collective experiences over the course of the past year, the exhibition touches upon a number of intersecting themes, with temporality, isolation, and loss considered alongside the ephemeral, renewal, and the potentiality for other worlds.
The title Pleasure Scene borrows directly from the graffiti that adorns the Seminary walls whilst referencing Rose Macaulay’s seminal text Pleasure of Ruins.
Macaulay writes, “New ruins are for a time dark and bare, vegetationless and creatureless; blackened and torn, they smell of fire and mortality. It will not be for long. Very soon trees will be thrusting through the empty window sockets, the rose-bay and fennel blossoming within the broken walls, the brambles tangling outside them. Very soon the ruin will be enjungled, engulfed, and the appropriate creatures will revel.”