Kirsten Reynolds is an English artist whose diverse practice encompasses, drawing, painting, sculpture, collage and print-making as well as the creation of works using sound, light, electronics and found objects. Reynolds also plays in a number of bands having been introduced to drumming, percussion and scrap metal instrument building when she joined pyrotechnic metal percussion ensemble The Bow Gamelan in 1990. During the early 1990s Kirsten toured extensively with The Bow Gamelan and shows were presented in a huge number of extraordinary situations from a disused power station in Belgrade, to an abandoned zinc factory in Katowice, Poland. A spectacular pyrotechnic percussion event took place on the roof and chimney of the (then disused) Bankside Power Station that was to soon to be renovated and become the Tate Modern. The Bow Gamelan was the centre of a large-scale percussion and pyrotechnic water-borne extravaganza in Copenhagen Harbour working with Harald Viuff (Illutron DK) on the occasion of the Tall Ships Race celebrating Copenhagen’s status as Cultural Capital of Europe in 1996.
After playing drums and bass in legendary noise band Headbutt, Reynolds went on to form Project Dark with fellow musician and artist Ashley Davies. Project Dark make limited edition 7-inch singles from everyday materials such as human hair, circular saws, glass and biscuit. These extraordinary discs have been shown in many international exhibitions and form the basis of a witty, irreverent live DJ show that has been presented everywhere from the inside the anchorage of the Brooklyn Bridge, New York to the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London as part of John Peel’s Meltdown ’98.
In 2000 Project Dark were commissioned by curator David Toop to show at the Hayward Gallery alongside Christian Marclay and Brian Eno in Sonic Boom, the first international sound art exhibition in the UK. The piece involved 3 gramophones, sculptural discs, a high-voltage sparking stylus, a miniature video camera and live giant spark projection. Project Dark went on to perform in the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin as part of the live programme accompanying the influential Sensations exhibition. Project Dark showed a selection of their catalogue of unusual discs in the group show Groove: Artists and Vinyl at the Huddersfield Art Gallery in 2002.
In 2003 Reynolds co-founded the art and music label Phono Erotic releasing limited edition records and related artworks. Reynolds plays in a number of musical groups including, the electronic rhythm collision duo K&A, mambo pop outfit, Pommagne and The London Dirthole Company, a garage punk 10-piece with 4 stand-up drummers. The London Dirthole Company have released four 7-inch singles and two vinyl albums and play regularly in London and in 2008 toured in the US collaborating with American musicians for shows in Nashville, Memphis and New York and a WFMU radio session in New Jersey.
Since the year 2000 Reynolds has collaborated on various large-scale outdoor sound art events working with percussion, steam, pyrotechnics and many custom-made devices generating spectacular sonic and visual installations and live works. These events are all site-specific and respond to a wide range of locations from forests to car parks. Blast was a large-scale outdoor event created in collaboration with artists Mark Anderson, Richard Wilson (and others) celebrated Birmingham’s industrial past using steam, fire, propane, pyrotechnics, percussion and a fog horn to animate the 300 metre-long disused site of the original Curzon Street Railway Station in the city centre over two nights in 2007.
In 2006 Reynolds began a curatorial collaboration with Line Rosenvinge creating the This is Not a Pen project. Subtitled ‘The Gallery for Your Pocket’, the project commissions artists to design a work within the format of the float pen; a tiny space with a single moving part. This is an ongoing series and to date pens have been produced by Matt Collishaw, Peter Callesen, Katherine Ærtebjerg and Danish artist group Paint Over.
In October 2008 Reynolds presented a new live sound-art performance in collaboration with Neil Fraser of cult band Tindersticks. ‘ A Taste of Gramophotism’ was premiered at the European Centre for the Arts, Dresden, Germany and was a live show employing music and video that developed ideas concerning the relationship between image generation and sound production when using physical objects and natural materials as original sources.
Reynolds developed new installation works for Power Plant; an outdoor sound and light art event that was originally commissioned in 2005 for the Oxford Botanic Garden by Oxford Contemporary Music. It was then presented by Contemporary Music Network for the Arts Council as part of Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture 2008 and was seen by over 7000 people over 5 nights in Calderstones Park. Power Plant also features work by artists Mark Anderson, Anne Bean, Jony Easterby and Ulf Mark Pedersen and went on to be shown in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh as part of the British Council showcase at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2009.
In November 2008 Reynolds was invited to contribute work to the group show Curious and Curiouser curated by Alan Rankle at the Galerie Rebecca Kormind in Copenhagen, Denmark. Rankle & Reynolds presented collaborative works in a joint exhibition On the Edge of Wrong at the Fondazione Stelline in Milan, Italy in February 2009. Further work in the On the Edge of Wrong series has been shown at Federico Rui Arte Contemporeana, Milan, Italy and Mya Lurgo, Lugano, Switzerland. In June 2011 Reynolds presented new works a solo show at Gallery B15, Copenhagen, Denmark showing new photographic light drawings. This new work capturing fleeting moments of intuitive drawing in space created much interest and was the subject of a major article in the Danish national newspaper Politiken by art critic Trine Ross.
In January 2011 Reynolds showed new sound and light installations at the hugely successful Power Plant event at the Sydney Festival in Australia. This show was developed and was a key event at the Sydney Festival, January 2011, Hong Kong Arts Festival, February 2011 and at at Ten Days on the Island Festival in Hobart, Tasmania in March 2011.
In July 2012 Reynolds was commissioned by the Art Association of Novo Nordisk, Copenhagen, Denmark to create 1400 individually different light drawing photographs. 1300 have been presented to the members of the association and the remaining 100 are available and are being exhibited in London, Berlin, Copenhagen and Norway.
Reynolds recently collaborated with chemo-acoustic artist Bastiaan Maris on new interactive crazy golf track ‘The Last Hole’ made from 300 used James Last vinyl records. This formed part of an artist-made crazy golf course on the airfield of the now disused Tempelhof Airport, Berlin; an internationally unique vast cultural space in the centre of the city.
SMASH HITS a new Project Dark performance was presented at Guerilla Cinematography in Athens in March 2012 and Scrap Club, London May 2012. A very special one off event using the sounds and image of massed seagulls in flight was part of the Dear Serge event on the roof of the iconic De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill in August 2013.
The London Dirthole Company released a new vinyl EP MODERN IST on Outsider Sound in March 2013. An LP ‘The Sounding Alley Tapes’ was released on vinyl on Squoodge Records (Berlin) with the CD and download versions on Reynolds’ own PHONO EROTIC label. A new album by The Blood Tub Orchestra will be released in 2017.
In September 2016 Reynolds was invited by Maerz Contemporary to make new work on a residency in Molde, Norway. A solo exhibition of paintings, prints and photographs followed in December.
Power Plant’s next show will be at the Auckland Arts Festival in March 2017.
Kirsten Reynolds next solo exhibition will be at the Lucy Bell Gallery opening on 18 March 2017.