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Amelia Critchlow >>

Shadows of Truth

April 10th - May 7th 2017

Amelia Critchlow works with an expanded form of collage, fragmenting and re-assembling contemporary and historical imagery to create new narratives that exist somewhere between experience and fantasy. For Skelf SITE, Critchlow has developed a new, virtual collage, combining borrowed fragments of video, sound, animation and photography. Click here to see the work >>

Accompanying the exhibition is a previously-unpublished text work by artist, poet and writer Tony Rickaby. 'Lessons' collages together pieces of social, personal and historical memory to create a voice that is simultaneously present and past.


Pulling a stick along the railings makes a funny noise.

With speeds clocked at 1.18 mph, the giant house spider holds the world record for top spider speed.

When St Mary's Church in Clapham was opened and blessed by Cardinal Wiseman in 1851, the service began at 5.30 in the morning to avoid local unrest due to the growing influence of what was seen as the menace of Roman Popery. However, the police still had to be summoned to control and disperse a hostile crowd.

She goes to the blackboard, chalks out the alphabet on it and turns to face them.
'These are called letters. I want you to try to copy them down in your books and we'll see if we can think of words beginning with them. So, this first letter is called A and we say A is for apple. Can anybody tell us another word beginning with A?'
A boy puts up his hand. 'Anthony, Miss.'
'That's very good, Anthony.'
'Now the next one – B?'
'Busy bee, Miss.'
'Thank you, Christine.'
When it comes to F, he asks the boy next to him, 'Why’s it called eff if you say it fuh?'
The boy shrugs.

Combat fatigue symptoms include irritability, angry outbursts and aggressive behaviour.

Richard lives over there and Christine and her sister live up there. Christine has ginger hair.

Plasticine was invented by English art teacher William Harbutt in 1897. It is composed of calcium salts, petroleum jelly, and long-chain aliphatic acids.

In 1053, King Edward, known as Edward the Confessor, ordered the assassination of the south Welsh prince Rhys ap Rhydderch in reprisal for a raid on England. Rhys's head was duly delivered to him. In 1161, Pope Alexander III canonised him.

The bus-driver says he doesn’t have any change. He’s not nice.

‘I don’t want to go to sleep in that bed. I’m not tired.’

It’s 200 steps to the top of Windsor Castle’s Round Tower.

They stand side by side.
'Pooh, It stinks here.'
'I can wee higher than you – watch,' he says, sending a stream up the wall.
'We can sword fence with them.'
They criss-cross their streams against the wall until they run out of wee.

Catholics say: 'But deliver us from evil. Amen', but Protestants say: 'For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen'.

When the Scottish giant Benandonner challenged the Irish giant Finn MacCool to a fight, Finn accepted the challenge and built a causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet, but he hid when he realised that Benandonner was much bigger than him. Finn's wife, Oonagh, disguised Fionn as a baby and tucked him in a cradle. When Benandonner saw the size of the 'baby', he reckoned that its father, Finn, must be a giant among giants and fled back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Finn could not follow. What remains is The Giant’s Causeway.

‘They’re proddies.’

Cardinal O’Brien resigned as head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland after it was discovered that he had engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with junior priests.

It’s spelt ‘their’, not ‘their’.

Sugar sandwich recipe.
2 slices white bread
2 teaspoons margarine (or more to taste)
2 teaspoons sugar (or more to taste)
Spread 1 teaspoon of margarine on 1 slice of white bread.
Sprinkle each slice of bread with 1 teaspoon sugar.

Miss McCambridge has fair hair and wears glasses. Miss Purvis wears glasses too, but has black hair – she’s nicer.

We are the Ovaltineys, little girls and boys,
Make your requests we’ll not refuse you,
We are here just to amuse you.
Would you like a song or story?
Will you share our joys?
At game and sports we are more than keen,
No merrier children could be seen,
Because we all drink Ovaltine
We’re happy girls and boys!

The woman and her daughter who live in the flat downstairs go to the pictures every night, no matter what’s on.

A few days before the King and Queen visited The Festival of Britain in May 1951, student Philip Gurdon climbed the Skylon at midnight and attached a University of London Air Squadron scarf near the top.

He stands on the brass footprints right underneath the Skylon and looks straight up.

In 1936, Amy Johnson, the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia, officially opened Billy Butlin's first holiday camp, at Skegness.

It’s not a nice day when they get off the coach. He holds his bucket and spade in one hand and his grandmother’s hand in the other. His underpants are too long and hang down below his trouser legs.

‘The Big Crack Bang’ toy was free with the first edition of The Topper comic.

Oh! Oh! Antonio, he's gone away
Left me alone-ee-o, all on my own-ee-oShadows of Truth
I want to meet him with his new sweetheart
Then up will go Antonio and his ice-cream cart.

Lawrence will sit on her lap while she picks fleas out of his coat, cracks them with her nail and flicks them into the fire, but he always runs upstairs when people call.

The Queen is advertising for a cleaner at Windsor Castle. Duties will include hoovering, mopping, dusting, waxing wooden window ledges, setting up rooms and changing bed linen. The successful applicant will work a 30-hour week from 8am to 1pm for a wage of £2.12 shillings.

‘Flap the Kipper’ is his favourite.

In 1945 the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE) programme was set up to allow US citizens to dispatch food to friends or relatives across the water. In the first two years alone more than 400,000 were sent to families in the UK where strict rationing of foodstuffs continued until 1954 and people subsisting on as little 800 calories a day. Donors would pay $10 to send a CARE package, which for British families typically included 1lb of steak and kidney, 1lb of beef and gravy, 8oz of corned beef loaf and 12oz of bacon, along with apricots, raisins, tinned peaches, butter, cranberry or apricot jelly, milk powder, tea, sugar and rice.

A thurible is a metal censer suspended from chains, in which incense is burned during Roman Catholic services. The altar server who carries the thurible is called the thurifer.

The wine smells funny – it’s a sin to taste it.

Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbour caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as ‘an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.’ Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God's law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him. Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.

Brown soap that floats is in the parcel from America.

He faints from eating the too-hot chocolate semolina

Tesco was founded by Jack Cohen in 1919 when he began to sell surplus groceries from a stall at Well Street Market, Hackney, in the East End of London. The Tesco name first appeared in 1924, after Cohen purchased a shipment of tea from T. E. Stockwell and combined those initials with the first two letters of his surname. His business motto was 'pile it high and sell it cheap' and his internal motto was 'YCDBSOYA' (You Can't Do Business Sitting On Your Arse).

The accumulator is heavy to carry, but the wireless won’t work without it.

In November 1931, a household means test was introduced as a requirement for unemployment benefit for those unemployed who had received twenty-six weeks' insurance payments. A government official inspected anyone applying for unemployment pay to make sure that they had no hidden earnings or savings, undisclosed sources of income or other means of support. For many poor people, this was a humiliating experience and was much resented.

Gran’s shed is full of stuff. You can’t get in.

King Charles I met his children for the last time before his execution in 1649 at the Greyhound Inn in Maidenhead, the site of which is now a branch of the NatWest Bank.

The roundabout makes him sick. The slide is better.

The Communist regime in Poland imprisoned Archbishop Wyszyński from 1953 to 1956. In the CBS miniseries Pope John Paul II, Christopher Lee portrayed Wyszyński.

‘The ABC Minors’ was the first major Saturday morning cinema club for children. At the beginning of each session, the ABC Minors Song would be played to the tune of Blaze Away, whilst the lyrics were presented on the screen with a bouncing red ball above the words.

Button your coat only at the neck and it becomes a cloak to fly home in.

Buster Crabbe, who played Flash Gordon in the Flash Gordon serial, had his hair dyed blond in order to appear more like the comic strip hero. He was very self-conscious about this and always kept his hat on in public, as he didn’t like men whistling at him.

The boys on the stage do lots of tricks with their yo-yos. But his won’t even stay down.

Bad Eggs is a children's playground game. The player chosen to be 'Bad Egg' turns his back to the others and asks them to each name something. Once they have all answered, Bad Egg throws a tennis ball over his shoulder, and shouts out one of the given answers. All players, except Bad Egg, run in different directions and the person whose answer was shouted out has to run after the ball, and calls 'stop' when he retrieves it and all the players stand still with their legs apart. The player with the ball then attempts to roll it under the legs of one of the other players. If successful, that person becomes Bad Egg. If unsuccessful, the player who retrieved the ball becomes Bad Egg.

Black face soap, fake cigarette, fake moustache, fart cushion, finger chopper, fortune fish, goofy teeth, hand buzzer, itching powder, kaleidoscope, kazoo, Lone Ranger mask, nail through finger, rubber pencil, rubber spider, stink bombs, swizzle, trick dagger.

Spiritualists believe that spirits of the dead can communicate with the living by 'mediums' who can provide information about the afterlife in séances, often through 'spirit guides'.

Auntie Elsie lives opposite the castle.

Flying Saucers, Black Jacks, Aniseed Balls, Liquorice Comfits, Penny Chews, Gobstoppers, Dolly Mixtures, Floral Gums, Sweet Tobacco, Brown Gems, Fizzers, Catherine Wheels, Rainbow Drops, Bubble Gum.

Windsor Station opened on 8 October 1849 after considerable opposition from the Eton College authorities who were convinced that the proximity of a railway would lead the Eton boys astray.

‘That’s the Penny Ice Cream Lady’s bell. She’s Italian and never says nothing.’

In the film Carry On Loving, Windsor Central station doubles as 'Much-Snogging-On-The-Green'. The approaches to the station are used as Sidney Bliss (Sid James) boards a taxi after being followed into the toilets by James Bedsop (Charles Hawtrey) in disguise.

‘Don’t swim in the river.’

Poliomyelitis, often called polio or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus, which is usually spread from person to person through infected faeces entering the mouth.

Dr. Barnardo was taken to court on 88 occasions, largely on the charge of kidnapping children without their parents' permission. He openly confessed to these charges, describing them as 'philanthropic abductions' and basing his defence on the idea that the ends justified the means. Being a charismatic speaker and popular figure, he was always found not guilty.

The relatives aren’t very nice.

The Wolf Cub promise:
I promise to Do My Best.
To do my duty to God, and to the Queen,
To keep the Law of the Wolf Cub Pack,
And to do a good turn to somebody every day.

In 1954, Rolf Harris was a regular on a BBC Television programme Whirligig, which featured a character called ‘Willoughby’, who sprang to life on a drawing board, but was erased at the end of each episode.

The boy next to him tells him how babies are made.

In the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, the De La Salle Brothers admitted to the abuse of boys at the former De La Salle Boys' Home, Rubane House, in Kircubbin, County Down, Northern Ireland, and issued an apology to its victims.

Corporal punishment in schools in England and Wales usually involved applying a flexible rattan cane either to the student's hands or to the seat of the trousers. Parliament outlawed the punishment in 1987.

‘Come in and stand over there.’

In early versions of the Eleven Plus exam, questions about the role of household servants or classical composers meant that a child from a middle-class family was much more likely to pass the exam and get a grammar school place than a child from a less wealthy or less educated background.

They drag him out of the shower and two big boys hold his arms while the brother scrubs him all over with the big floor brush.

322 soldiers, killed in the Second World War, are buried in Mook War Cemetery in Holland.

In the summer of 1874, Karl Marx visited the Isle of Wight for health reasons, staying in Nelson Street in Ryde.

They throw him over the wall at the end of the playground.

In the Carisbrooke Castle well house, a donkey walking around inside a large wooden wheel raises water. Wyndham Lewis cited this donkey wheel as an image for the way machines impose a way of life on human beings.

‘This place stinks.’

Tony Rickaby, 2017

Amelia Critchlow is a graduate from Wimbledon College of Art (MA Fine Art, 2012), who co-founded and opened ArtLacuna Space, London in 2013. Amelia has a group exhibition in May 2017 as part of the Wandsworth Arts Fringe & a solo show in September 2017 in North London.

Tony Rickaby is an artist and writer living in Brixton. Recent publications include Urban Directions and Unnoticed. Recent London exhibitions include Reclaim Spaces, Urban Environment and CHROMA: Black & White.