Raphael Hefti & Agnieszka Polska at Nottingham Contemporary

ThirdSpace went on tour to the Nottingham Contemporary on Sunday. Good art allows us to make sense of the world, our place in it, how we feel about ourselves and our relationships to others.

Subtraction as AdditionRaphael Hefti finds beauty in materials and how they are transformed by industrial processes which he uses as an artistic medium.

Raphael made his “Subtraction as Addition” panels by repeatedly intensifying the anti-reflective layer on the glass he makes the invisible become visible. We view the world through many layers such as: physical, emotional, context, personal history and spirituality. Which layers influence our view of the world? Do we like the reflected view which contains the world and an image of ourselves within it or would we rather quickly pass on by?






Agnieszka Polska sees the archive as a living organism “alive and subject to incessant change”. She often explores this idea by creating imagined mythologies based on some true facts in order to explore how the past is integral to the way in which the present is constructed and understood. The video pieces are often slow and measured in order to create time for the viewer to think.
“The Garden” develops a mythology around a real artist who stopped making art in the 1970 in order to create a garden. Spiritual metaphors abound.
What would be contained within our own memory box, real or imagined? Each of us has a unique perspective of our shared experiences and relationship to God. How will we view our current experiences in 5 years time?

PolesThe title of Raphael’s “In Various Threaded Poles of Determinant Length Potentially Alerting their Determinacy” alludes to the possibility that the poles can continue to transform and influence their own future or at the very least bear the marks of the processes or circumstances which have brought them into existence. This artwork can be viewed at both a macro scale and a micro scale.



Pole DetailEach individual pole displays a history of beautiful marks which provide a narrative of how they were formed and transformed by the person who made them. Do our lives bear the marks of the forces which have shaped us and forged our existence? Do we recognise that each of us is beautiful and that together we are greater than the sum of each of our individual parts? Do the columns rise up, rain down or are they an artificial construct which is the equivalent of a “Tower of Babel” made by the hands of men?








PhotogramHefti produces photograms which are monumental in scale by using something which is very small, Lycopodium are flammable moss spores that combust when they are lit. Raphael has to work in the dark with the photosensitive paper which records the image, thus he can influence the direction of the artwork but it inherently contains a degree of unpredictability. As one material combusts it transforms another: in the same way our life experiences mark us, hopefully in positive ways. When we work on collaborative processes such as Soulspace, perhaps we can never be certain of the outcome but have the opportunity to explore new and intriguing possibilities?

3 Panels

The artwork “Into Deep” consists of three panels made of copper, zinc and aluminium which have been cast and the rate of cooling controlled in order to determine the size of the crystalline structure. Further milling and etching reveals the organic forms within each of the metal panels. The panels have undergone a shared common experience which has marked them beautifully in different ways, depending on their own inherent properties. We respond collectively with thanksgiving to God’s love which is poured out to each one of us, our own unique personal narrative reveals a different facet of God’s grace towards us.

Bread and WineThe simplicity of bread and water.

We bless you, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this bread and wine to offer,
which earth has given and human hands have made.
As we bring this bread to You,we offer:
our energies and creating;our relationships and achieving;
the sap of life rising;
the seeds of life flowering;
the resources of life acquiring;
the fun of life and enjoying;
the raw materials of life building;
the intelligence of life organising;
feelings of life communicating.

The bread of life

We pour out this wine and offer to You:

red wine to share

the woes of life outpouring;
the waning powers of life;
the diseases and disappointments;
the hurts and the handicaps;
failures caused by our stupidity or by circumstances beyond our control.
As grapes are crushed to make the wine,
so we offer all who are crushed by hunger or loneliness.

Take all this and transform it into the deep, rich wine of everlasting life.

The wine of transformation


A new place to share bread and wine. Nottingham Contemporary Coffee Bar