From Abi Box

12.01.2015 - 03.02.2015

Residency Garden Snowed Under
Residency Garden Snowed Under

On 12 January I arrived at Geneva airport with a suitcase full of more paint than clothes to spend three weeks as an artist in residence on the Trélex Residency programme.  The residency was founded three years ago by artist Nina Rodin and takes up the top floor of the her family home in Switzerland.  Nina and I came to know one another during our BA studies together at Camberwell UAL and so I’d been keen for a while to come and spend time at the residency and work alongside each other again.

Abigail Box in the Trélex studio making paintings
Abi in the Trelex studio making paintings

The set up is a self contained live in work space complete with two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom and a large studio space with plenty of light, shelves full of books and materials and two movable walls.  I shared the studio with both Nina and fellow artist in residence Rebecca Molloy and although we did a fair amount of wall manoeuvring we chose mostly to arrange the space to be as open plan as possible.  The windows look out on to the garden which is surrounded by countryside and in the distance the mountains.  Trélex itself is located on the northwest side of Lake Geneva, in the district of Nyon, it’s a small town with a bakery, restaurant, post office and little shop - which I saw open only once in my whole time there.

Local shop

I went with the intention of getting stuff done but in reality three weeks isn’t that long and between the three of us we had a lot to say.  So our time was split generously between making work and talking about work.  Actively sharing thoughts, challenging one another on our ideas in an effort to refine what the point might be or to push a concept further.  I completely underestimated how much input I would receive simply by working in the same studio space as Nina and Becca, I was pushed even on a technical level in terms of my use of colour and painting technique, I really tried to keep an open mind and to listen properly.  Since being back I’ve missed working in company, there’s something better about being able to spread a conversation out over a longer period of time, with space to think in between comments and come back with thoughts as and when they come to you.  In the same way I also found suggestions would sink in better, you don’t forget because the conversation surrounding them is ongoing.

Painting detail, Abigail Box
Painting detail, Abi Box

We also made time for adventures.  There’s so much countryside in the surrounding areas to explore, early on in the trip we took the bikes out into the forest to experiment with some installation ideas.  I had in mind an idea to light a fabric forest fire and take photographs for incorporating into my series of forest fire paintings and Becca took a can of squirty cream to use in a series of short forest graffiti video pieces.  We spent a number of afternoons going for walks and when it snowed we built a snowman in the garden with some less than conventional fixtures.

Rebecca Molloy on bike toward forest
Rebecca Molloy on the way to the forest

On a few occasions we went further afield and took the 30 minute train journey to Geneva for exhibitions and sightseeing and nearer the end of our stay we hosted a open studio coffee morning where Becca threw everyone in at the deep end with the squirty cream videos.  On the last day we took the train up to St.Cergue and went snowshoeing through the woods and over the mountains and were wowed by view over Nyon and Lake Geneva. 

Snowshoeing in St.Cergue
Snowshoeing in St.Cergue with Becca and Fanny

This is only a short summary of our time in Trélex - I did also write a diary of sorts, a little each day, which has been mostly for myself (so not to forget) but it also goes into much more detail and has links to extra bits of information etc…  12 Jan (day one)  > >

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