University of Lincoln
East Midlands

In 1858, German mathematicians August Ferdinand Möbius and Johann Benedict Listing independently discovered the Möbius strip – a two-dimensional surface with only one side. A ‘Möbius strip’ can easily be created by taking a strip of paper and giving it a half-twist and then joining the ends of the strip together to form a loop. If you were to trace your finger along the length of this strip, it would return to its starting point having traversed both sides, without ever crossing an edge.

A Möbius strip has no beginning and no end, and the artists featured in this year’s Fine Art Degree Show at the University of Lincoln explore this endless journey. The exhibition titled Möbius, cleverly focuses on that point when we shift from being on one side of the ‘strip’ to the other; a transition that happens almost by magic and without our knowing. The exhibition features a myriad of proposals, theories and scenarios from which we can view the world at large. A seamless shift in mindset, thought and experience is generated through quantifying our very own existence in relation to Möbius’ mathematical theory.

There’s perhaps no better start point to learning more about ourselves that looking at our closet ancestors: the animal kingdom. In the year in which we celebrate the bi-centenary of Darwin’s birth, his approach to the understanding the natural world has never been more alive. Anthropomorphic tableaux presented by Hannah Burroughs, Fiona Hodges, Rachel Meen and Leo Underwood act mirrors reflecting society’s hopes and fears, its failures and achievements. Life’s great answers are further questioned by Jonathan Bradley as he presents key scientific and philosophical theories as a series of chalk board diagrams and a spoken lecture. As we attempt to grasp a universal understanding between each hypothesis the words merely become abstract patterns and the audio, a soothing mantra, takes on a higher, theological existence.

Rebecca Glover, Dale Fearnley and Tom Cretney have each created installations which disorientate the viewer. Giant toadstools lead to a Clairvoyant’s den where we discover life’s journey may already be mapped out before us. Glover perhaps seeks clues in the written word as a poem is transcribed into a visual code and a form of navigational tool. On opening of various doors, ceiling lights sway and pens – and even a knife – swing into life and mark sheets of fresh white paper. Here, Cretney leaves his mark in the ultimate act of remote control.

Clare Tubby and Rachel Yates question the purpose of life’s endeavour through the act of monotonous tasks. In her video installation, Yates repeatedly folds pieces paper whilst striving for perfection and Tubby, completes her Knitting Circle of One in a solitary performance – moving round the circle one row at a time.

Personal and collective memories are treasured, archived and re-presented through the work of Sammy Clark, Samantha Digby, Leigh Creaser, Jessica Hinchliffe. Artefacts are studied to such detail they capture every last essence of their original owner. Abbie William’s world of soft furnishings, over sized cushions and kid’s TV show props, draws on fond childhood memories and provides the perfect respite after viewing the frank and chilling photographs of Kirsty Scarlett’s home, all made since the death of her brother.

Beginning and end; start and finish; Life and death: each a threshold to be crossed in any cycle. The Möbius strip may be a two-dimensional surface with only one side but no journey is complete without a appreciating the view from both perspectives. Möbius presents a moment of reflection for a group of artists who will hopefully continue to make new work as they start a new cycle in their lives.

Helen Jones, June 2009