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In January 2023 curator Corina L Apostol invited Dunhill and O’Brien to make new work for a ‘two-person’ show alongside Latvian based artist Kristaps Ancans at Das Weisse Haus in Vienna. Apostol proposed the title ‘Reverse Homesickness’ a literal trannslation of ‘Das Fernweh’ a German word that describes a physical and emotional ache resulting from the desire to be eleswhere. Dunhill and O’Brien formulated quite an elaborate narrative to work with, related to a misinterpretation of a press release from an installation they made during a residency in Tokyo in 2007… The resulting artworks shown from May to July 2023 were tailor made and upholstered in a solid blue canvas to be carried or worn by the duo (when not installed in an exhibition). Intended to function as implements and accessories as well as Sculptures, they form a growing series of artworks entitled the Double Happiness Collection.
The ongoing series of videoworks titled Stone Appreciation were also shown during the exhibition.

Special thanks are due to Dr Corina L Apostol, Kristaps Ancāns, and the great team at Das Weisse Haus (particularly Pia Wamsler and Ralitsa Petkova who are both brilliant to work with).


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In 2021 peripatetic curator Sandie Macrae established her home off the Essex Road in London as PostROOM, making exhibitions in a functioning domestic space including her kitchen, dining area and garden shed. For their solo show Modern Object at PostROOM in November 2022, Dunhill and O’Brien made new works employing upholstered components to respond to the modernist style of the space and furniture while inserting a number of earlier works and objects from their collection.
Click here for a list of titles and other information.


From 750 words a week, a blog by art writer Paul O’Kane
“Most of their work reveals a head-on negotiation, not only with each other but with the underlying concepts and context of their duality, their ‘two-ness’ and their collaboration. This includes examination of the way that idea-production, conceptual refinement, design and manufacture all take place in an especially candid and visible arena once artists choose, or are forced to work outside the more private confines of a more typical practice.
Suffice to say that the works of these collaborating artists always provoke intrigue, fascination and amusement while often delivering a special and memorable sense of bathos. Dunhill & O’Brien also demonstrate that much humour tends to derive from such collaboration.”
photography by Andrew Watson


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Dunhill and O’Brien made the short video Bad Idea for the Bad Ideas Collective project curated by Kristaps Ancans and Alex Shady during the Lockdown of 2020.

The full series of Bad Ideas Collective short films can be viewed here alternatively you can watch Bad Idea below.



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Contrapposto (4 mins) was made for the Isolation Room project during the Lockdown in summer 2020. The ‘studio visit’ film responds to a series of questions about working during the Lockdown.
EIS: work out (10 mins 41 seconds) was made for Danielle Arnaud Gallery’s online exhibition, 25 years. It was made during the Lockdown in summer 2020 and relates to a former work Examples in Sculpture.


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The Shoulder Sculptures are based on raw clay forms (since destroyed) from Dunhill and O’Brien’s previous artworks. Initially made for the White Conduit stand at London Art Fair in 2019, the Shoulder Sculptures were either worn by the gallery director or stored in pairs on a shelf, with their harnesses hanging below.

Lost Work: Terms & Conditions
This shoulder sculpture is based on Dunhill & O’Brien’s 2019 installation for the British Ceramics Biennial, Terms & Conditions, which included a 3.5 ton raw clay form made in a single day and based on recordings of descriptions of rocks made during a series of workshops by a dentist, dressmaker, boulderer, baker, engineer and masseur. During the exhibition the raw clay form was kept damp so that it could later be distributed to local people for free. People came by car, bicycle, bus, and on foot, to collect bags of clay to use in their own creative work.
Lost Work: Sculptomatic 2
For the exhibition Sculptomatic 2 at Kunstvereniging Diepenheim, Holland, Dunhill and O’Brien worked with Dutch and UK participants, employing locally sourced clay to make a 2.5 ton raw clay form. After the exhibition the clay was returned to the suppliers for use in brick making.
Lost Work: Mountain Object
Mountain Object was made at the end of Dunhill and O’Brien’s first residency at Youkobo Art Space in Tokyo. Geta (Japanese clogs), with platform souls based on 2 mountain ranges in the Nikko area were used to model a clay mound on a turntable. The clay was later donated to the materials store for the residency.
Lost Work: Sculptomatic 1
Sculptomatic 1 was a large-scale installation that included a 10 metre motorised elevator as well as 500 images of sculptures from different periods and cultures that included holes. Assistants were employed to make clay models based on the images and each soft clay form was placed on the motorised structure, dropping from height into a vitrine to create a collective sculptural form, a 2 ton mass of raw clay. After the exhibition the clay was given to local art students.


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Terms & Conditions was a new work made for the AirSpace gallery in Stoke-on-Trent as part of the British Ceramics Biennial 2019.
Following various research visits and workshops in Stoke, Dunhill and O’Brien recruited a team of volunteer participants from the area to work with them during a 3-week residency.


Each member of the group, including a dentist, dressmaker, boulderer, sports masseur, translator, jeweller, baker and engineer, agreed to step outside of their individual comfort zones to explore a range of ‘terms and conditions’ for collaborative making, using raw clay, and methods that tested the limits of verbal and visual communication. Working within a purpose built modular ‘Dexion’ structure, they each employed their unique 3D problem solving skills developed through their occupations and hobbies.


The exhibition that followed the residency consisted of a number of elements: a large custom-made structure forming the workshop/laboratory space; unfired raw clay objects made by the team of participants; video documentation of the processes involved; a wall text, and a 3.5 tonne raw clay form sculpted by Dunhill and O’Brien, and based upon information gathered during the workshops.


Sitting in and among these elements were a number of found rocks as well as images and videos of rocks. These were used as source material and prompts for the various activities, and connect this new work to Dunhill and O’Brien’s long-standing fascination with naturally formed rocks and stones, both as they are represented in popular culture, and as material, physical objects.

Proposition 1 (Window)
Collection of clay objects made collaboratively by participants, kept damp through a sprinkler system, and added to following workshop sessions held during the exhibition.


Proposition 2 (Sitting)
Making spaces for up to 4 seated participants. The central unit designed for two people to model the same clay object together (filmed from above); the two units on either side are for individual making (filmed from the side). Small LED screens show images used as source material. The proposition is to understand and translate the 2-dimensional images into 3 dimensional forms, solely employing tactile interpretation.


Proposition 3 (Standing)
Making space for two participants standing side by side, with a shared tabletop unit (filmed from the front). There are two options with this proposition. In the first, a participant describes how to make a rock they are exploring through touch for up to 20 minutes, while the other uses tactile interpretation to model it in clay. In the second version a participant, at an adjoining workspace, observes and gives instructions to two participants at the standing unit, who model versions of the same object in tandem for approximately 20 minutes.


Proposition 4 (Table)
Making space for up to 5 participants employed for an introductory exercise. This session is not filmed though the outcomes are kept and displayed. In the centre of a large table area a small rock (flint) rotates very slowly on a turntable. Each participant models a clay form based on the flint for 5 minutes before swapping places to work on their neighbour’s clay model for 5 minutes. This exchange continues until each member of the group has been involved in modelling every one of the clay objects. Adjoining the table is a sink as well as a storage area for the aprons and tools used by the participants.


Proposition 5 (Shelf)
Collection of collaborative clay objects made from Proposition 4 (Table). This collection will be added to during the exhibition following further workshop sessions. Stored on the shelf are also various rocks that have been employed in Proposition 3 (Standing).


Proposition 6 (Video monitor)
A video documenting Proposition 3 (Standing), duration 3.5 hours.


Proposition 7 (How to Make a Rock – Object)
3 tonne clay sculpture made over an 8-hour period by Dunhill and O’Brien, employing sound recordings from Proposition 3 (Standing) where different participants describe how to make a rock in clay.

Proposition 8 (How to Make a Rock – Text)
A number of texts transcribing the recorded descriptions made by a number of participants during Proposition 3 (Standing).

Proposition 9 (How to Make a Rock – Video)
A video documenting the process involved in Proposition 7 (How to Make a Rock – Object).  Duration 1hour



With very special thanks to our participants: Ayad Al-Ani, Melissa Beardmore, Silvia Cotelea–Cazacu, Joanna Dawidowska, Sarah Delvari Zadeh, Steve James, Taraneh Noroozi Farsangi, Shelia Podmore, Anna Robinson, Leo Robinson, Len Robinson, John Shapter, Emma Tunnell, Asal Vahedi, and to Sophie Ashcroft, Sandy Auden, Lynn Davis, Genesis Rowley and Claire Stewart for input during preliminary workshop tests. We would also like to thank Gavin Birkin and Pete Smith for pitching in to help shift a tonnage of clay and to John Plowman and Glen Stoker for their practical and professional help and their generous encouragement and insight throughout the development and realisation of the project.



This project was supported by the Arts Council England and Valentine Clays Limited, with professional support from Beacon Projects and AirSpace Gallery.



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Despite its hidden armature and padding, the tailored tarpaulin, constructed to mimic the form of a rock, doesn’t quite live up to the glamour of the image that it literally projects of itself.


The pairing of stone and tarpaulin, digital photograph and ungainly fabric form, internal structure and surface effect, appears to mirror something of the awkwardness of partnering inherent in collaboration. Does one element undermine or enhance the other, can two distinctly different parts become a cohesive and convincing sculpture?


Dunhill and O’Brien first came across a small image showing an example of an erratic boulder, at the Natural History Museum in London. Struck by its position elevated on three supporting ‘plinths’ of rock they decided to visit this naturally formed sculpture, one of the ‘Norber Erratics’, near Austwick, North Yorkshire, for themselves.


The geological term erratic refers to a boulder that has been transported from its place of origin by the movement of a glacier and deposited at a different location, in some cases thousands of miles from its geological source.


Their decision to cover the boulder with blue tarpaulins, purchased in a local store (along with some staplers) after a day measuring and filming the boulder in situ, was something of an afterthought. Wanting more information about the rock to take home, making an accurate ‘skin’ of the boulder was appealing. Not so much an homage to Christo and Jeanne Claude, but rather a way of temporarily gathering information. In the rolling hills of Ribblesvale this migrant boulder appeared wrapped and ready for further transportation.


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Images 1 and 2: Stone Appreciation: In the Morning

2019, 30 x 38 x 15cm



Images 3, 4 and 5: Stone Appreciation: Okasan

2019, 28 x 20 x 15cm

lava Rock, MDF, felt, plywood

Photo: limited edition postcard, painted plywood stand with acrylic.


Images 6 and 7: Stone Appreciation: Otosan

2019, 30 x 50 x 30cm

flocking on jesmonite, vintage brown bowler hat, steel.


Images 8 and 9: Balanced Rock: Selfie

2019, 33 x 36 x 28cm

jesmonite, oil paint, aluminium, souvenir plate of Balanced Rock, Colorado.


Images 10 and 11: Brimham Rock: Upholstered

2019, 50 x 38 x 38

wood, mixed media and linen


Image 12: Mountain Geta

made as part of installation Yama to Ana 2007, completed as single work 2019

50 x 37 x 50cm

wood, fabric geta straps, jesmonite, wooden stool, acrylic sheet.


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In Stone Appreciation: Booth, exhibited at Camberwell Space, London, participants were invited to experience the challenge of making, communicating and collaborating through modelling a clay form. Two small screens on top of the booth showed a sequence of images of a free-standing erratic boulder.


Working in collaboration two participants at a time were allocated 20 minutes to discover if, and how, it was possible to model a likeness of this complex natural form from a clay block, without seeing what they were doing or speaking to each other. A camera in front of the booth filmed the modelling process and when finished the soft clay forms were presented in a damp store/vitrine before new clay forms made by the next round of participants replaced them at the end of each week. Meanwhile a video of the modelling process ran continuously throughout the month-long exhibition.


Feedback from participants indicated that they had found that this unspoken form of negotiation, through modelling clay, had been both strangely intimate and absorbing. The process had also revealed frustrations and rivalry and it soon became apparent that participants from different backgrounds responded to the task in very different ways. Meanwhile those who had not previously met reported that they developed a sense of connection and camaraderie. All participants spoke of a strong sense of shared ownership, pride and fascination in the form that resulted, no matter how ungainly or how little it resembled the boulder that had been the catalyst for their work together.


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In Western culture stones and rocks often have negative associations as dumb, unfeeling and burdensome. Figures of speech such as ‘between a rock and a hard place’, ‘like getting blood out of a stone’, alongside the legend of Sisyphus with his eternal punishment, reinforce this low status. Meanwhile there are other instances, most notably in Japan and China, where rocks are venerated and used as a focus for contemplation or pilgrimage.


Stone Appreciation 3 presented videos of Dunhill and O’Brien in various British landscapes drawing and measuring large boulders alongside film of their attempts to model those same forms in clay from memory without viewing the clay object as it forms. The physical act of clambering on, under and over these rocks, attempting to gather information has been translated into the smaller gestures and awkward intimacy of hand modelling.