Margarete Berger-Hamerschlag

Two Girls at Youth ClubFrom her earliest years when she scribbled on the prescription pads of her doctor father, Margarete manifested a desire to make art. 

Margarete (or Gretl) Berger-Hamerschlag, studied at Professor Cizek’s groundbreaking school for children in Vienna and then at the Kunstgewerbeschule (Arts & Crafts School) in Vienna. From there she embarked on a whirlwind international career as illustrator, portrait painter, landscape artist, as well as fashion design and costume design for the theatre.

She was a free spirit, traversing the world, painting from country to country, experiencing life to the full. In 1934 she and her husband Josef Berger, whom she had married impulsively one lunchtime without telling her respectable family, set out for Palestine where he had architectural commissions, and to escape the darkening clouds in Europe. From there they set up home in England two years later where she continued her successful career. But the Second World War brought a sadder dimension to her life and Postwar austerity meant that her art was less in demand.

She started teaching in Youth Clubs in about 1950 to make money but this activity gradually came to dominate her life and it was in this period in which she was able to combine the several facets of her artistic skills. Her works pioneered and documented, the beginnings of the youth club movement in post-war London.

A selection of the artist’s work has been selected especially from the Tavistock Centre’s Art collection for the Tall Tales Tour. This is the first time these particular work, predominantly from her Youth Club Series, have left the Health Centre for publish showcase. 

Image C: Two Girls at Youth Club, Margarete Berger-Hamershclag, watercolour on paper, photo by Tavistock Centre Art Collection 

Lauren Sagar

Rochdale Cloth 3

A Call for Cloth (working title) is a new project by Lauren Sagar, and follows on from the Award Winning project The Chandelier of Lost Earrings.

“Everyone has a relationship with cloth, it is the thread that links us together. It’s history is political, personal, theatrical, familial, intimate and spiritual. Clothing and cloth are imbued with personal stories.”

People were invited to gift their stories relating to specific items of cloth with a description, a photograph of the item or of someone wearing it, or even a drawing. All gifts contributed towards the community of stories were then built upon and looked to extend the personal into a shared, yet deeply intimate, community narrative.

Over the length of the tour Lauren Sagar has been building up a community of contributors from all over the country and specifically in our Tall Tale locations of London, Rochdale and Glasgow. The artist has woven contributions together into a series of tactile, fabric blankets,  which reveal, rework, and retell these stories.

The blankets make their their public debut at Glasgow Women’s Library this October 2016.

The engagement process has also been supported by Tall Tales artist Joanna Peace. The volunteers and members at Glasgow Women’s Library have also been working with Joanna to respond to the Call for Cloth project with their own collaborative table runner / banner which will sit within the main library space for the Tall Tales exhibition.

An audio work accompanies the piece, consisting of the GWL members own cloth stories which you can listen to

If you would like to share your textile story and become part of we a beautiful textile inspired installation you can fill out the form here

For more information about Lauren Sagar click here

Glasgow Women’s Library

gallery_imageGlasgow Women’s Library (GWL) has been providing information, resources and services since 1991. It developed from a broad-based arts organisation called Women in Profile, which was set up in 1987 with the aim of ensuring the representation of women’s culture during Glasgow’s year as the European City of Culture in 1990.

Women in Profile comprised community artists, grass-roots activists, academics, students and broad-based arts practitioners who collectively ran a year-long season of events, workshops, exhibitions, projects and other activities before and during 1990.

Over the course of that time Women in Profile gathered documentation and materials relating to its activities and, following consultation with the local community and women’s groups across the City of Glasgow, opened Glasgow Women’s Library in September 1991 in the Garnethill area.

Since 1991 thousands of women have contributed to the growth and success of the Library. The collection has been largely donated and there have been scores of women involved in managing its projects, volunteering and contributing their time, expertise, visions and energies.

Despite the absence of revenue funding and a complete reliance on volunteers, GWL was quickly established as the central general information resource about and for women in Glasgow.

Over the course of that time Women in Profile gathered documentation and materials relating to its activities and, following consultation with the local community and women’s groups across the City of Glasgow, opened Glasgow Women’s Library in September 1991 in the Garnethill area.

People from all sections of the community donated books, magazines, journals and ephemera and by 1994 GWL’s rapid growth, both in terms of collection size and user numbers, resulted in the need to relocate to larger premises. Consequently, the organisation moved to Glasgow City Council-owned premises at 109 Trongate where it continued to expand and develop, providing learning opportunities informally in the context of the lack of any funding for this purpose.

Tall Tales will be showcasing at GWL from 21st October – 16th December, with the Chandelier of Lost Earrings arriving at the earlier date of 26th September.

For more information about Glasgow Women’s Library including opening times and directions please click here

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Centre

Other 005The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust and Centre is a specialist mental health trust based in north London. The Foundation was established in 1982 to support the work of the Tavistock Clinic and its innovative approaches to improving mental health and preventing ill-health. They  specialise in areas of family mental health, young people and gender identity development.

The Tavistock Centre is home to a public gallery programme housed by the library, where Tall Tales will be sited as part of London leg of the tour. It is also home to a diverse art collection, the paintings of which have now gone live on the BBC art archive website, ‘Your Paintings’.

The collection began in 1990 by Caroline Garland, a renowned psychoanalyst and writer who engaged local artists and championed the principle of good art in public buildings.

The Trust’s art collection is particularly unique because it consists entirely of modern and contemporary paintings, the oldest work in the building by Anthony Whishaw (RA) ‘Arcos de la Frontera’, dates back to 1960. There is wide variety of styles and subject matter in our collection, ranging from figurative work such as Tony Rothon’s portrait of a young arts student to Carlos de Lin’s bright graphic painting of the Centre Point building.

Tall Tales will be showcasing a selection of the collections artworks by artist Margarete Beger-Hamerschlag, which travel throughout the national tour. More information about the work can be found on her artist’s page.

Tall Tales will be showcasing in the Centre’s Library gallery area between 21 March – 8 May 2016.  For more information about the Tavistock Centre, including opening times and directions please click here



Swiss Cottage Gallery & Library

8314955391_30e2a63713_bThe Swiss Cottage Central Library is the central library of the public library service in the London Borough of Camden, and is housed in an architectural landmark building designed by Sir Basil Spence. The Library is also home to the Swiss Cottage Gallery, which runs a regular exhibitions programme reflecting the contemporary visual arts of Camden, the artist history of Camden and artists who have lived or worked in the borough and wider topics which reflect upon the local history of the area.

For Tall Tales, Swiss Cottage will house work both within the public library area and gallery space including regular public programme engagement activities through the ‘Call for Cloth’ commission with Tall Tales artist Lauren Sagar and supported by Joanna Peace.

Tall Tales will be on showcase at Swiss Cottage from 21 March – 29 May 2016, with the Chandelier of Lost Earrings project on display from 11 March 2016.

For more information about Swiss Cottage Gallery and Library, including opening times and directions please click here



Freud Museum London

img_1849The Freud Museum at 20 Maresfield Gardens in Hampstead, was the home of Sigmund Freud and his family when they escaped Austria following the Nazi annexation in 1938. It remained the family home until Anna Freud, the youngest daughter, died in 1982. The centrepiece of the museum is Freud’s study, preserved just as it was during his lifetime.

It contains Freud’s remarkable collection of antiquities: Egyptian; Greek; Roman and Oriental. Almost 2,000 items fill cabinets and are arranged on every surface. There are rows of ancient figures on the desk where Freud wrote until the early hours of the morning. The walls are lined with shelves containing Freud’s large library.

The house is also filled with memories of his daughter, Anna, who lived there for 44 years and continued to develop her pioneering psychoanalytic work, especially with children. It was her wish that the house become a museum to honour her illustrious father. The Freuds were fortunate to be able to bring all their furniture and household effects to London. These included splendid Biedermeier chests, tables and cupboards, and a fine collection of 18th and 19th century Austrian painted country furniture.

Undoubtedly the most famous piece of furniture in all the collection is Freud’s psychoanalytic couch, on which all of his patients reclined. The couch is remarkably comfortable and is covered with a richly coloured Iranian rug with chenille cushions piled on top. Other fine Oriental rugs, Heriz and Tabriz, cover the floor and tables.

The Museum engages actively with Sigmund and Anna’s psychoanalytic legacy in contemporary ideas, art, and culture, while caring for the house and collections. We are delighted to showcase a selection of the Tall Tales artists within the Museum for the London leg of the tour including the newly commissioned and site-specific performance and installation by Ruth Barker, directly in response to life and story of Anna Freud.

Tall Tales will be showcasing at the Freud Museum 15 April – 29 May 2016

For more information about Freud Museum including opening times and directions please click here:

Sarah Forrest

Pot 1 for webSarah Forrest’s practice has explored the potential within language to shape her own and other people’s perception of things – be this a place, person, object or artwork. During the MFA programme, Forrest created a series of works that positioned her voice, as the artist, in relation to a number of sculptural objects she created and exhibited; the work hovering somewhere between fact and fiction. Her personal philosophy for making art asks what if? Or sometimes just why not? The work she makes is not usually tied to any one medium but her use of narrative has been consistent.

For Tall Tales Forrest will be showing a recently completed work  The Pot (2015) which represents the artists urge to return to working with the sculptural form; the most basic of materials – clay.

For the Rochdale and Glasgow leg of the tour the artist will also be showcasing a new work (supported by the Glasgow Visual Arts Award), entitled Recital.

About two months ago the artist started learning a drum solo (Led Zeppelin’s Moby Dick, the live version performed at the Royal Albert Hall, London, 1970). Sarah did not know how to play the drums and so began with online tutorials, followed by five one-hour lessons with a trained jazz drummer. She practiced for three hours per week in a rehearsal studio and daily on books, cushions and on her knees at home and in the studio, documenting this learning process in both video and writing. Recital began with a desire to let go of theory in order to think through the relationship between knowing and feeling, asking if one can know what they feel then can they feel what they know? By breaking down an improvised moment beat by beat in order to replicate it, her aim was not to master the solo but to draw from this bodily experience, exploring what happens at the periphery, in order to play out and perform these concerns.

Recital will bring together moving image, writing and sculpture, with the format (single screen/installation) remaining open, to be determined by the editing process and gallery space. The writing that currently runs alongside this work looks specifically at an improvised moment, playing with ideas of being in and out of character, or in and out of control. For more information about Sarah Forrest’s work click here.

Images C. Sarah Forrest from The Pot 2015

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

Mirjam Somers

untitled (Dressed bird)Visual artist Mirjam Somers (1971, NL) makes video works and drawings. After studying sculpture at the Hogeschool voor Kunst en Vormgeving ‘s-Hertogenbosch, she specialized in the medium of video during her postgraduate study at the Higher Institute for Fine Arts Antwerp (BE, 2000).

Motivated by personal and universal themes, such as power and powerlessness, the fragility of the relationship between human, animal and nature, growing up and surviving in a world of paradoxes, and the eternal longing for harmony and serenity, Mirjam Somers creates works that are both soothing and disturbing. The human wandering is depicted in short, atmospheric video pieces.

The works selected for Tall Tales are composed of mysterious and oppressive ‘condensed’ narratives in which human and animal figures (rhinoceros, horse, monkey, dog, child, man, apparition, bird or giant eggs) play the leading role.

untitled (Mouse boy)

The carefully framed compositions of the videos offer a view into another world. An enchanted world consisting of archaic landscapes in which human and animal live side by side. There is no actual contact between the inhabitants of this world. They sleep, repeat their actions, or are confined to their own world in some other way. They seem condemned to each other, at each other’s mercy. Intense moments of serenity, menace and release unfold in the slow linear time and the fixed frame of the video work. Thus, the videos become slow-moving meditative paintings.

In her drawings, human figures are entwined, interwoven or fused with plant organisms and animal beings. Humans and animals are shown in a power struggle, or joined in their desire for union. The strange creatures are created in the middle of the white surface, isolated from any notional environment.

untitled ( man and monkey)

Image C. Top Right: Untitled (Dressed Bird) 2015, Top Left: Untitled (Mouse Boy) 2015
Bottom Centre: Untitled (Murmurs) 2012 All C. Mirjam Somers


Joanna Peace

Joanna Peace is an artist and writer based in Glasgow. Recent projects include moving image commission for Sonica festival at Market Gallery, Glasgow; the performative talk At least some sentiments were expressed, if not all, with Serra Tansel, CCA, Glasgow, 2015; the exhibition GLYKIA MOU, Snehta, Athens, 2015; The Writing Group, a mobile support group, ongoing; and HOUSE VISIT, a residency in The Hague funded by the a-n New Collaborations Bursary, 2014.

Published writing includes UNLIMITED, commissioned for the exhibition Sera Tansel Unlimited at noshowspace, London, 2015; the short stories Broken Waters / Honey Steps, published Athens, 2015; Universe of Women, commissioned for the exhibition Concrete Ribs, Govanhill Baths, Glasgow, 2015; and Lover of Rock published by MAP, 2015.

Through writing, moving image, performance and installation, Joanna Peace takes her audience through an immersive journey, with audiences often experiencing tender and emotional moments. Often referencing female protagonists, characters which populate her fictional writing and performance, she creates site-specific works which are often bound to distinct architectural spaces by repetitive tasks, repetitions that circle moments of trauma or rupture. Her more recent works have often involved collaborative projects and for the Tall Tales programme, she will be supporting the Call for Cloth commission to work directly with Lauren Sagar and local audiences in London and Glasgow on a series of collaborative workshops, creating a platform for memories to be collected and stories to be shared.   For more detail about Joanna Peace check out

Image Credit: All that noise coming in, you have to make music of it somehow
Still from video, 9:03, 2015
Commissioned for Sonica 2015 by Picture Window and Market Gallery.
Soundtrack made in collaboration with artist Jessica Argo