Acme Studios — Paul Burwell

Supporting Artists since 1972

Paul Burwell

Fire Station Residency

Paul Burwell was a British percussionist and performance artist. He was a pioneer of the hybrid approach to music and performance that emerged in Britain during the 1970s, bringing diverse influenced from avant-rock, traditional and folk music as well as film, dance, poetry and performance art. In these years Paul performed with many artists from many disciplines, including the poet Carlyle Reedy, independent filmmaker Annabel Nicolson, pyrotechnic artist Stephen Cripps, theatre director Steven Berkoff, Japanese Butoh dancer Mitsutaka Ishii and sound sculptor Max Eastley.

Paul is perhaps best known for his work with the Bow Gamelan ensemble, formed with performance artist Anne Bean and sculptor Richard Wilson in 1983. From the beginning of his career he developed new percussion instruments, but Bow gamelan opened up opportunities to build surreal, monstrous junk-sculptural creations from blow torches, tin baths, tumble driers. these constructions were integrated into a sometimes dangerous spectacle of noise, light, fire and explosions.

With the dissolution of the original Bow gamelan trio in 1990, Burwell briefly continued the group with the American percussionist, Z’ev. As artist-in-residence in 1992 at the Midland Arts Centre, he inspired a new generation, including Ansuman Biswas, Jony Easterby, and Kirsten Reynolds of Project Dark.

Fire Station Residency 1997-2001

Acme's residency at the Fire Station is one of the most directly supportive schemes for artists in the United Kingdom, providing combined studio and living space at low rents, as well as a half rent residency for a deaf or disabled artist. This fixed-term residency scheme is intended to allow artists more time to concentrate on the development of their work and professional careers, and less time working to survive. 1997-2001 residents were selected by artists Tracy McKenna, Cornelia Parker, Adam Reynolds, and Acme co-founder Jonathan Harvey.