Artists Bik Van der Pol win Exeter Culture commission
Czigane, a Siberian sledge dog that went on Scott’s 1910-1913 British Antarctic Terra Nova Expedition to the South Pole, will be the focus of a new commission by international artist duo Bik Van der Pol.
The artists will collaborate with the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), the Met Office and a local primary school to create a new piece of work for the city. Working with pupils from St David’s C of E Primary School, they will investigate Czigane’s remains – including his skull, skin and collar – which are held in the RAMM collection. Meteorological data from Scott’s expedition will also be considered for its relevance to today’s climate research.
The artists say: “These two points of departure form the backbone of our project, which aims to unfold the relationship between objects, stories and global trade.” Their work will also feed into research for the new place-based arts and culture strategy for the city, currently being prepared by the Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy.
Bik Van der Pol are Liesbeth Bik and Jos Van der Pol, who have worked together since 1995. They were appointed by Exeter Culture following a call for expressions of interest from local, national and international artists working with socially engaged practices.
Amy Shelton, a member of Exeter Culture Steering Group, who helped to select Bik Van der Pol, along with fellow Steering Group member John Sealey, says: “We are very excited to have commissioned artists with an international reputation for making challenging and exciting work in many contexts. Exeter Culture’s new arts and culture strategy is very much based in how places and communities shape culture, and vice versa. Bik Van der Pol were particularly interesting to us as they have a fascinating responsive practice, creating platforms for communication and exchange in the places they work. The combination of devising place-specific projects, and their process of working collaboratively, sparks all sorts of questions interrogating the function of art and its social significance.”
Bik Van der Pol will be visiting the city in December 2018 and again in early 2019.