Nicky Bird

tracing echoes

Nicky Bird is an artist whose work investigates the contemporary relevance of found photographs, their archives and specific sites. She has explored this through new photography, bookworks and the Internet creating artworks that make visible the process of collaboration with people who have significant connections to a hidden history.

In 2000 she was artist-in-residence at Dimbola Lodge, the home of Julia Margaret Cameron on the Isle of Wight, which resulted in the publication Tracing Echoes (2001). Recent exhibitions include Family Ties; Reframing Memory, The Peltz Gallery, London (July 2014); Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present, National Gallery, London & CaixaForum Barcelona, Madrid (2012-13); 21 Revolutions, CCA, Glasgow & The Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh (2012-13). Published works include Beneath the Surface/Hidden Place (Edinburgh: Stills, 2010), and Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth: Generosity and the Digital Exchange of Family Photographs in The Photograph and The Album: Histories, Practices, Futures edited by Jonathan Carson, Rosie Miller & Theresa Wilkie (MuseumsEtc, 2013). Nicky is a PhD Co- Coordinator at the Glasgow School of Art.

She is also a member of The Family Ties Network, a research group of writers and artists who explore memory, space, place and the family in photography and moving image. The Family Ties Network will be hosting an event for Tall Tales as part of the Rochdale leg of the tour onSaturday 3rd September (full details coming soon).

For Tall Tales the artist will be showcasing 3 bookworks:

Red Herrings: New York, 1955: Photojournalist Ed Feingersh shadows film star Marilyn Monroe. Her visit to the city culminates in a publicity stunt where she rides an elephant painted pink. Leeds, 1996: Artist Nicky Bird sees a less well-known Feingersh photograph of Monroe, in which the star is being fitted for a corset. The fitting is watched by a group of unidentified women. Leeds & New York, 1996-1998: the bookwork Red Herrings reconstructs the 1950s photograph, while at the same time attempts to trace the unidentified women in the original photograph.

Tracing Echoes: The ethereal 19th Century portraits of young women and girls by Julia Margaret Cameron are the staring points for Tracing Echoes, which sets out to trace the descendants of these sitters. The book brings together aspects of photography, art history, and genealogical research working with known facts, missing pieces, and uncanny resemblance that suggest both real and imagined genealogy.

Gay Interest Beefcake: The digital version made for Tall Tales is based on a unique artist’s book made for ALT-W: New Directions in Scottish Digital Culture in 2008. It featured three lots of photographs bought on eBay over a three-day period from the same seller. At the point of sale the keywords ‘gay interest beefcake’ accompanied the seller’s description of each lot. Gay Interest Beefcake was then auctioned off on eBay in 2008, and is now in the collection of the International Center of Photography New York.

For more information about Nicky Bird click here

Top Image Tracing Echoes 2001 ©Nicky Bird and © V&A Images, Bottom Images 2008 Gay Interest Beefcake ©Nicky Bird