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'Cader Idris & the City of a Thousand Trades'
Ikon Gallery Birmingham 1989


The exhibition "contributes towards the celebration of the City of Birmingham centenary in 1989. It is, however, more in the nature of an investigation than a commemoration, drawing on diverse texts from past and present."

Ann Cullis: Exhibition Catalogue


"Parallels, contrasts, mirrorings and comparisons abound throughout this critical commentary or commemoration of Birmingham past and present. The imposing jagged skyline of Cader Idris, be it in William Ellis' mannered 1889 oil or Patten's own swirling abstract representation in cut steel plate, is never far from view. Yet further metropolitan skylines, such as another huge blown-up photograph of Birmingham's new International Convention Centre, prove equally alluring.

Supporting his 'large' statements (and impressively large they certainly are), the artist provides an array of tangential material for his thesis: a handful of ancient nails sit in a gleaming 1989 centenary tea mug; a Victorian Society of Artists catalogue is positioned adjacent to a towering brass triptych at the base of which the word 'ergo' has been immaculately embossed. An illuminating selection of clearly printed texts – ranging from accounts of sketching trips to the Welsh hills, to factual statistics on manufacturing output – also adorn the walls and are continued in a well produced supporting catalogue

...perhaps Patten has ingeniously subverted conventional aims, electing instead for a method in which the spectator is invited to provide his or her own creative input. At least he can be applauded for an installation that provides, in Yeat's words. 'those images that yet fresh images beget'".

Duncan Hadfield: Architects Journal 26/07/1989





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