Window Project Spring 2017
Gazelli Art House - Dover Street
In April I was informed by Gazelli Art House that I had won their Window Project Competition for Spring 2017. For this application I had spent a lot of time organising the proposal elements and detailing specifics. Within my application I included an Artist CV, Artist statement (tailored to the work I had submitted), a breakdown of the project's budget and a detailed proposal of the work with images, layouts in accordance to the gallery space and links to videos of previous installations of the piece. I believe this held me in good stead and assured the gallery of my clear intentions in relation to their window space.
My initial intentions were to show 8 videos from the 'WSM' series on 8 television monitors mounted in the windows. Based on the needs of the space itself the gallery wanted to make a few minor changes to the installation of the piece, they felt that my videos would be difficult to see on the top level. The gallery had previously worked a lot with vinyl prints, which allowed versatility and impact on such large windows in an incredible viewing spot (the windows could be seen all the way from the other end of Stafford street.) Together we decided on 3 large vinyl prints in the top 3 windows (showing enlarged stills taken from the videos) and 2 video compilations in the bottom two windows. This was the first time I had had to adapt my work in collaboration with a gallery and it really helped me to push the 'WSM' series into a new direction and dimension.
A constant thread of contact had to be maintained in the lead up to the show, I selected and formatted the three vinyl prints for the top 3 windows and sourced the televisions and television stands for the ground floor. On the day of install I was there to help the gallery technician to attach the two mounting walls for the televisions and adjust the wiring as well as the delicate job of professionally mounting the three vinyl prints to the windows. I really learnt a lot from the gallery technician who had mounted countless large scale vinyls and offered me some invaluable tips.
The work was only supposed to be up for two weeks but the gallery founder and director Mila Askarova liked it so much the duration was extended to a month. The gallery also wanted to sell one of my prints from the 'WSM' series on their website, which encouraged me to organise the print and costings and take the work into a more sellable realm.
At the end of the exhibition the gallery hosted a closing event for myself and since I have maintained a close relationship with a few of the staff who are excited to see any new work. Overall the whole experience was hugely enriching, positive and exciting.
'Boxing Stare Downs' online solo exhibition
In August I was approached by AVD; a new digital platform designed for mobile consumption. The online gallery's curator asked me if I would be interested in showing work in an exclusive mobile format. At the time I had been working on my 'Boxing Stare Down' videos which featured old, slowed down archive footage of boxers before a fight staring into one another eyes before the fight overplayed with old soul love songs. I had shown one of the videos in a University Crit on an old analogue television but there seemed to be something missing; I didn't want to continuously rely on old technology, specifically when referencing old footage. This digital platform gave me the opportunity to test the work amongst modern day viewing formats.
The curator of AVD gave me complete creative control in terms of designing the page layout, I provide the visuals, he deals with the formatting and makes sure every element works online. I really enjoyed this kind of collaboration and there was a constant thread of contact between us as I sent him my page layouts and videos and he got them to function together and uploaded them online.
From 17th September - 28th September AVD released one video from the boxing series every three days (four videos were released in total) and the only way the viewer could see the videos were via a link on their mobile screen. I designed four different page layouts (screen width size) for each video and embedded the video within a stream of fake adverts, porn, betting deals and forums. This online environment is familiar to sports fans who often illegally stream boxing matches online. This was my way of bringing old footage (showing boxing hysteria which is still extremely prominent now) into the view of a modern sporting audience. Mixing low-tech with high-tech, old and new.
I thought this brought so much more life to the work and was such an interesting concept, I'm really glad I was asked to be involved. I will definitely consider this format again; in relation to the 'social arena' it is offering an alternative to a white gallery space, its taking advantage of peoples current obsessions with their phones and its allowing the viewer to decide their own journey through the artwork via a swipe of the finger. As well as constructing the viewing environment and editing the videos I also took the initiative to write my own press release for the exhibition which I used to send round to a mailing list I have been collating. A lot of old and new contacts in the art world responded and really enjoyed the work.
Collaborative show : 'Same Same But Different'
Lightbox gallery, Leicester
Catherine (Howell) was approached by LCB Depot in Leicester to take part in a week long residency as part of her studio collective, StudionAme, Leicester, culminating in an exhibition at the Lightbox Gallery. She asked me if I would be interested in collaborating with her on the project, bringing both our practices together for an all-immersive show. Catherine had been compiling a 3-D installation using a mixture of life-sized and distorted cut outs of collages, sourced from archives of National Geographic magazines and 20th century anthropology journals. We wanted to combine this with some of my previous and more recent video work, often looking at a similar culmination of humankind. We thought that by projecting film onto the work or embedding it within the wooden cut outs this would bring both our practices into another dimension/medium. This project proved massively enriching on a number of levels. We had to prepare, produce, order and transport all the artwork up to Leicester. We had to organise a budget from the gallery itself, install the work, collaborate in the curation of the show, promote and document the show.
I had been working a lot with adapting my 'WSM' series to windows around London so neither of us could resist using the five massive windows at the front of the gallery to showcase five giant strained strongest man video stills. This not only allowed us to interact with the public but it also completely transformed the inside floor space and tied the whole idea of 'Same Same but Different' together. What we loved most was the collaborative aspect and how this encouraged us to analyse the work differently. Not only were we mixing Catherine's painting, collage, wood-cutting techniques with my video editing, large-scale printing techniques but we were subconsciously (through the subject matter) mixing East with West, femininity with masculinity, ritual with sport and personal footage/imagery with found footage/imagery.
Working in Leicester with Catherine has allowed me to connect with a wider art world and sustain contacts with artists/ gallery owners/ studio technicians in a new city. Catherine promoted the exhibition through social media and I documented and edited a video to showcase the progression of the residency (available to watch on the left). We worked together really well, shared jobs equally, transferred and developed new skills and most importantly, created a really exciting collaborative show in a contemporary art gallery.
Tech Team for 'The One that Holds Everything'
Crypt Gallery, St Pancras
For our group show 'One that Holds Everything' at the Crypt Gallery I was part of the technical team. Our job roles included; communicating with artists on their artwork and technical requirements, preparing tool kits and required hanging systems, unloading the work, collaborating with the curation team to confirm placement of work, hanging the work safely, cleaning the space, invigilation, taking the work down safely and with no damage to the building and reloading the van. On top of this I also organised the group loan extension with the AV store, compiled a list of electrical requirements and communicated with artists on specific hanging requirements before reaching the gallery.
When reflecting on the installation of the show i feel that as a group we were really well prepared and committed and installed the work (directed by the curation team) in a really professional manner. Our greatest challenge was the installation of Ada's work, particularly because we were unable to drill new holes into the protected building. After several trails and errors we managed to hang the foundation for a very heavy light installation securely and safely. This piece proved integral to the show through its positioning, scale and execution (initially made possible through the tech team).
Collaborating with the curation team was occasionally strained. In hindsight we could have arrived for installation after the placement had been decided, however the show ended up being moved around right up to an hour before the opening so we had to remain malleable and patient. Overall the tech team found the role quite demanding (perhaps we could have had separate teams for invigilation and taking down work) but we were also really happy to be an integral part of such a successful and diverse group show.