‘Ordinary monuments’ brings together work by Jorn Ebner and Alison Unsworth that examines the urban environment, considering both its planned and random nature and highlighting aspects that often go unnoticed.

Jorn Ebner’s internet-based, photographic and sculptural works confront the viewer with a reflection on landscape, providing both fluid and static representations. Static elements such as drawings and pictures are assembled into a fluid narrative form, where temporal and spatial connections emerge and enhance each other, temporal sequences contributing to the conceptualisation of space, and vice versa. His work is a contemplation of political and personal landscape, linear and non-linear narrative, and the configurations of time and space in artistic representation.

Portable Garden (2001) is a series of amorphous green and yellow objects, which sit in green denim trays, ready for assembly/installation. In the accompanying narrative slide projection, Portable Garden (Treatise) (2001), these objects are depicted in a derelict urban exterior alongside images of domestic front gardens and garden centres in Hamburg and London. Both works are a meditation on the differences between natural and artificial landscapes and the delineation of territories, both political and domestic. The objects Ebner presents can be seen as components or ‘tools’ for living or navigation, activated as ‘complete’ artworks only through the viewer or artist’s interaction with them.

Alison Unsworth also works across a wide range of media, from sculpture and installation, to collage, photography and digital imagery. Her recent work has focused on specific built environments and considers how they are constructed, the particular landscaping and building materials used, and the styles and themes employed in their design. This has resulted in a series of site-responsive works that have been both temporary in nature and remained remote from the site – for example, a publicly distributed leaflet or poster image mounted on a truck.

More recently, Unsworth has concentrated on the generic and ‘placeless’ elements of the urban landscape, creating work that looks at sameness and generality, becoming almost the opposite of a site-specific piece of work. Introducing real items of street furniture and products commonly used in the construction of the built environment into the gallery space, Gold Standard (2005-06) explores the use of a black and gold colour scheme to paint street furniture, a convention used throughout the UK for civic works. The form of the sculpture is created from a real lamppost head and pools of black and gold paint. A miniature landscape spreads across the black and gold shapes, imbuing the street lamp with the scale of a monument that stands in the centre of this ‘world’, over which it casts an orange glow. Streets, parks and public squares filled with bollards, litterbins, planting containers and benches, sit alongside areas of dereliction and building sites where the ‘landscape’ is still under construction.

Read Emma Cocker’s essay Ordinary monuments