Winter Escape | Saturday, June 7th and Sunday, June 8th | 12 - 6pm

The Common House, London | £5 per day / £10 both days

Rachel Reupke
Fatima Hellberg
Morgan Quaintance
Sara Nunes Fernandes
Matthew Clements
Alex Kovacs

You are invited to Winter Escape; a weekend of presentations that explore structures and narratives of freedom and being trapped.

Over two days, invited speakers will respond to the theme in relation to their own research and activities, and instigate wider conversation and debate with an audience. Winter Escape emerged from an interest in how definitions of freedom and confinement are shaped through individual experience, as well as by larger societal constructs, or constraints. Click here to read the full project statement and source texts.

Saturday the 7th of June concerns the construction and negotiation of identity and the tension between forms of legal, personal and corporate modes of address. It will include presentations from artist, Rachel Reupke; curator and writer, Fatima Hellberg, and curator, writer and musician, Morgan Quaintance.

Sunday the 8th of June will explore how structures and organisations affect and shape conceptions of freedom and confinement. Presentations will be given by artist, Sara Nunes Fernandes, writer and academic, Matthew Clements, and author, Alex Kovacs.

The Common House is a collectively managed space for radical groups, projects and community events in Bethnal Green, London. Proceeds from tickets will be split between the invited speakers and to support the ongoing activities of The Common House.

Winter Escape is organised by Naomi Pearce and Matthew McQuillan.

Click here for tickets.


Rachel Reupke is an artist living and working in London. In her videos the languages of stock footage and lifestyle marketing are often co-opted to create semi-biographical scenes, simultaneously banal and awkward, that question the possibility of generic or universal narratives. Recent presentations include Assembly: Composite II, Tate Britain (2014) and Wine & Spirits, CELL Project Space (2013). Last year she was awarded the Whitstable Biennale 2014 Open Submission prize. For Winter Escape, Rachel will present performance documentation from this recent commission, and discuss her current body of research into the agency and affect of the complaint letter.

Fatima Hellberg is a curator and writer based in London. She is curator at Cubitt and associate curator at Electra. Recent projects include Of Disturbance, curated with James Richards at UCCA, Beijing, OCAT Xi'An and Shenzhen and Asia Society, Hong Kong (2014), The Shape of a Right Statement, Cubitt (2014), Charming for the Revolution, Tate Tanks (2013) and Toxic Play in Two Acts, South London Gallery (2013). She is a visiting lecturer at the Bergen Academy and contributes to Frieze, Afterall and other independent journals. Fatima will speak about softness and hardness of selfhood and the possibilities and entrapments of this elasticity.

Morgan Quaintance is a freelance London-based writer, musician, broadcaster and curator. He is a regular contributor to Art Agenda, Art Monthly, Art Review, Contemporary &, Frieze, Rhizome.org and other curatorial websites and blogs. He is the producer of Studio Visit, a weekly radio show broadcast on London’s Resonance 104.4FM, and works as a presenter with the BBC’s flagship arts programme, the Culture Show. Morgan will speak about the futility of using socio-culturally defined identities – race, sexual orientation, nationality etc. – as a reliable foundation upon which watertight conceptions of selfhood are built.

Sara Nunes Fernandes is an artist living and working in London. Her sculptural works and musical performances bounce back and forth between their complicity and their critique - their irony and their sincerity, taking a retreat into studio practice and materiality as a rustic attempt at making ideas tangible. Sara will speak about how her sculptural work and musical performances have materialized through her experience of being a member of short-life housing co-ops and artists-run studio co-ops in London, as well as protest led initiatives, such as The School Of The Damned.

Matthew Clements is completing a PhD in Humanities and Cultural Studies with the London Consortium and Birkbeck College. His research concerns the biosemiotics of inhabitation, and the link between ecology and aesthetics. With examples reframing the incarcerated body, Matthew will examine some of the signs that preoccupy different forms of life. Along the way he'll seek to challenge some popular preconceptions about biological determinism as well as the nature of liberty.

Alex Kovacs was born in 1982, and studied at the University of Edinburgh and at Goldsmiths, University of London. The Currency of Paper is his first novel. Alex will give a reading from his novel, The Currency of Paper. Set in London between 1950 and 1999, it tells the story of Maximillian Sacheverell Hollingsworth; a young man who pursues a life-work of covert art and social projects, funded from the counterfeiting of money. The Currency of Paper explores ideas of alienation, labour and the potential of art to evoke social change. Alex will respond to a Q and A with the audience.