Hondartza Fraga
Archive Blues

Many artists have found Cotman’s work inspiring. This was particularly true during the 1920s and 1930s when Cotman’s reputation stood at its highest. British artists including Eric Ravilious, John Piper and Paul Nash have all described him as an important forerunner to British Modernism.

Artist-in-residence Hondartza Fraga has created a series of new works in response to the Cotman collection and Kitson archive. Fascinated by the relationship between the original objects and the tools used to care for them, Fraga has sought to reveal and make visible the hidden workings of both an archive and a collection. Her animations and watercolours exhibited here and in the previous room offer a contemporary response to the work of John Sell Cotman and a visual eulogy to Sydney Decimus Kitson’s ‘Cotmania’.

Photograph of the work of art: Greta Woods: ‘Cotman’s Bridge’ Above the River Greta in Rokeby Park

John Sell Cotman (1782 - 1842)

Greta Woods: ‘Cotman’s Bridge’ Above the River Greta in Rokeby Park
1805
Watercolour and graphite on laid paper
Bought with the assistance of the Art Fund, Leeds Art Fund and The Patricia Hurst Bequest, 2015
LEEAG.2015.0030

Photograph of the work of art: Exhibition History

Hondartza Fraga (b. 1982)

Exhibition History
2017
Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolour on mould-made Daler Rowney hot pressed paper

HZ1

This work is based on the newly acquired Cotman watercolour Greta Woods that was regarded as one of Cotman’s most important works, following its inclusion in his 1922 exhibition at the Tate. The back of the frame is covered with labels that reveal a rich history of past exhibitions, owners and auction sales. Fascinated by these labels, Fraga has used the forms and arrangement of these labels to inform this watercolour.

Photograph of the work of art: Spines I

Hondartza Fraga (b. 1982)

Spines I
2017
Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolour on mould-made Daler Rowney hot pressed paper

HZ2

Photograph of the work of art: Spines II

Hondartza Fraga (b. 1982)

Spines II
2017
Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolour on mould-made Daler Rowney hot pressed paper

HZ3

Photograph of the work of art: Covers

Hondartza Fraga (b. 1982)

Covers
2017
Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolour on mould-made Daler Rowney hot pressed paper

HZ4

Artist-in-residence Hondartza Fraga has created these three watercolours in response to John Sell Cotman and his biographer Sydney Deciums Kitson. Fraga worked in watercolour after Cotman and chose blue after Kitson who bound his Cotmania notebooks in a greyish blue to echo Cotman’s use of the colour.

In her own words Fraga has sought to create ‘a visual eulogy to the archival process itself, its instruments and also its melancholy’. Kitson’s notebooks are particularly poignant. They trace his unfailing dedication to the study of Cotman. The last volume is incomplete, disrupted by his death, and remains bound in red.

These three watercolours closely follow the form of Kitson’s notebooks, directing our gaze not to their contents but to their character.

Photograph of the work of art: Boat

Hondartza Fraga (b. 1982)

Boat
2017
Animation, sixty seconds loop

HZ5

Photograph of the work of art: Branch

Hondartza Fraga (b. 1982)

Branch
2017
Animation, sixty seconds loop

HZ6

In Boat and Branch, Fraga has animated two of Cotman’s many sketches to harness and bring to life the freshness of the originals, and create a link between past and present.