Ultimate Holding Company 'The Cartland Institute for Romance Research' photo: Thierry Bal
This project brings together the relationships between Dame Barbara Cartland, wartime aviation, Tatton Park and 1990s British politics. A prolific writer of romantic fiction, Cartland was also instrumental in the development of the troop carrying glider as well as Conservative ‘Back to Basics’ policy and promoting the rights of children and travellers.
The work presents us with clues: the chaise longue and paraphernalia inside the getaway van speak of romance and intrigue; the glider (an exact replica of the ‘Colditz Cock’, constructed by World War II prisoners of war but never flown) was made using the original plans and materials found at the artists’ studio, while the narrated tale of love and adventure within Tatton Park suggests Dame Barbara herself. The artists’ novel is for sale at Tatton’s shop.
Excerpt from 'The Colditz Cock' by the Cartland Institute for Romance Research
Ultimate Holding Company are a group of pioneers and provocateurs operating at the junction of contemporary visual art, design and engaged practice. UHC’s work is often located across multiple sites and multiple formats. The work is characterised by no one particular media or material. Instead it seeks out risky and provocative ideas and articulates them through beautiful objects, public events, exhibitions, debate, digital activity and the creation of distinctive art and design. Much recent work has considered themes of loss, extinction and hidden value by focussing on what we discard, what we lose and what we hardly notice has disappeared.
Jai Redman is a visual artist and creative director of UHC. Through projects including This Is Camp X-Ray (2003) and extInked (2009) Jai and UHC have established themselves as provocative artists with a clear social agenda: engaging the public in original work that seeks out social solidarity. His work mines contemporary culture in search of new cultural actors, reinterpreting the notion of ‘public interest.’ Jai’s practice negotiates multiple paths between political resistance, performance, environmentalism and relational aesthetics. The work has a strong sense of co-authorship, combining the immediacy of live and public art with a visual aesthetic which emerges though close listening and collaboration. Jai’s work borrows from a seemingly unending list of disciplines from graphic design to large scale public realm installation.
Dom Latham is studio manager and graphic designer at UHC. He is originally from Cheshire, where he grew up, was educated and trained as a media artist. Dom’s current focus as a graphic designer is in socially and critically led design and the interaction between engaged practice and visual communication.
The Colditz Cock is available to purchase online from the UHC shop, priced at £6.99 plus postage and packaging.