Taking its title from a 1986 BBC documentary series which looked at the failures of social housing, Tessa Lynch: Houses Fit For People at Edinburgh Printmakers features a new installation (which Lynch considers an ‘expanded print’) promoting alternative building techniques inspired by play and the natural world. It was made in response to the history of the Castle Mills building in which Edinburgh Printmakers is located and the regeneration taking place in the surrounding Fountainbridge area.
Part of the Edinburgh Art Festival, the exhibition consists of a collaged mural which wraps around the space to the height of temporary hoardings on a building site. An accompanying sound work comes from the captured audio of a children’s workshop that Lynch led. Additional sculptural works reflect a community garden which hosted part of the workshop, when a little used basketball court was transformed into a collective space.
In exploring the archives of the former North British Rubber Company factory where Edinburgh Printmakers is based, Lynch discovered the story of the company’s expansion to Dumfries and the need for new housing in the 1950s to encourage workers to settle in that area. This raised questions around how housing is planned and how we can reimagine how a city is built.
Speaking ahead of the exhibition opening, Tessa Lynch said: ‘I have plundered childish techniques such as pasta printing, crayon rubbing and collage to emphasise the alternative thinking of the young enquiring brain. I was also inspired by the 1960s promotional materials in the North British Rubber archives, the illustrative imagery and punchy colours promoting modern ways of living.’
Also showing is an installation by First-Nation Canadian artist Nadia Myre: Tell Me of Your Boats and Your Waters – Where Do They Come From, Where Do They Go? is a newly-commissioned sound piece marking the 200th anniversary of the Union Canal – a stone’s-throw from Edinburgh Printmakers – exploring reference points spanning Scotland and Canada, and the rich history of migration.