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Ilkeston Festival

Festivals - Ilkeston
Tom Hackett, Flore Gardner and Chloe Steele at Ilkeston Festival
Tom Hackett


In Ilkeston as part of re:place, the silicone boys, by Nottingham artist Tom Hackett, were temporarily sited in two locations during Ilkeston Festival. Both were selected for the potential to work serendipitously with the sculptural forms.

The silicone boys spent the first half of Ilkeston Festival, from 18 June to 1 July, at a working milliner’s shop, nestling amongst a sea of immaculately hand crafted women’s hats. The shop, Margaret Anne, at 160 Bath Street, stands as beacon of skilled trade and economic autonomy in an era of faceless retail parks.

Then they migrated to Erewash Museum, where from 2 July to 19 July, the twenty brightly coloured silicone children’s heads, similar in colour to jelly baby sweets, swamped the interior of a faithfully recreated 1950’s grocery shop. The heads balance visual playfulness with immobility and awkwardness, appearing as if buried from the shoulders down, stuck in a scrum at floor level and unable to access the confectionery. Like much in life the sweets are on offer, but beyond reach.

Funded by Arts Council England, the silicone boys has been shown at 20-21 arts centre, RED gallery Hull, SEAS international, Skegness and Brighton University Gallery as part of ‘Occidental Dimension’ which will be touring to China in 2011.


Other re:place exhibitions at Ilkeston Festival: Flore Gardner's photographic installation of manipulated found photographs of architecture, with an entire wall of 'archipattern' wallpaper, was installed in an empty shop at 156 Bath Street from 29 June to 3 July.

Also at 156 Bath Street was a drawing residency by Chloe Steele. Responding to the fascinating but overlooked architectural gems of the town, Chloe made a huge wall drawing, replicating significant buildings in Ilkeston from memory in an architectural collage.

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