Magazine: Issue 19
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Spotlight: Ceri Hand
As Ceri Hand finds her feet in south London we are pleased to steal a few precious minutes with the gallerist…. SPOTLIGHT ON: CERI HAND BY TINA EMENYEONU www.cerihand.co.uk Can you please give an overview of your current show and future shows/plans for your gallery? We currently have Henny Acloque’s third solo show with the gallery ‘Life After Magic’, which runs until 11 May and presents a new body of work by Acloque that continues her excavation of historical narrative and landscape paintings, reflecting on a series of seemingly mysterious ‘happenings’ or ‘awakenings’. Next up we have a group show curated by gallery artist Rebecca Lennon titled ‘Fresh Trauma, running from 24 May - 22 June 2013, featuring Gabriele Beveridge, Edwin Burdis, Benedict Drew, Angus Fairhurst, Rebecca Lennon, Chooc Ly Tan, Shana Moulton and Heather Phillipson. Then we have another group show from 12 July – 10 August 2013, with Jonathan Baldock, Mel Brimfield, Grant Foster, Sophie Jung, Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau, Bedwyr Williams and Jen Liu. Following on are solo shows by Samantha Donnelly from 13 September - 20 October 2013, Hannah Knox from 1 November - 30 November 2013 and Charlie Billingham starting Dec 2013. Poppy Sebire’s gallery sadly closed but there was collective rejoicing when it was announced that you would be taking over her space - why did you move to South London as opposed to East London for example? Ah that’s nice! What a lovely welcome, thank you! Actually I had seen about 160 spaces (!) from October 2011, when I was still in Liverpool, through to Dec 2012. I had offers on a couple of places (which fell through) in the centre of London, where I was focused on. We took a ‘pop-up’ space in Convent Garden from June - February to run 5 shows whilst we tried to find the right place. During this time the landscape in the centre of town started changing too...then just before Christmas I thought I’d drop in and see Poppy as I was really sad she was closing. It was when I came to the space and we chatted and I told her I was still looking, that we decided there and then on the spot that I would take it on…I was so thrilled as I loved this space and I loved Poppy – she’s such a nice woman and is well respected - so it felt like she was passing on the baton to me, which I really appreciated. So the character of the space, the potential for my artists to do great art, the location and network of other spaces (Tate, Jerwood) combined with having enough space for us to carve out our own thing was what sealed it, combined with the rent! Matthew Houlding, ‘The Oceanic’ Installation view, Ceri Hand Gallery, 11 January – 09 February 2013 Photo: Anna Arca When you first opened your gallery in Liverpool in 2008, there seemed to be a lot of sanding of floors and scrubbing of urinals. How has it been this time, setting up shop in Copperfield Street? Well the space was already beautiful and so not as much to do, but Hannah (our Gallery Manager), my business partners Paul and Jean Henry and I were still here for 2 weeks, in advance of installing the Juneau Projects inaugural show, sanding and painting the toilets, walls, filling windows, fixing heaters etc.; we had two weeks of 14 hour days, combined with an art fair either side of moving in and opening our first show! It’s been a hectic few months, but now we are catching our breath and starting to settle in and feeling very happy to be here! Although you moved from Liverpool, do you still have an artistic presence/any affiliations there? Very much so – when you make contacts and networks you don’t just lose them because you move, you just have to work to retain them! We are in touch with the Royal Standard, The Biennial, FACT, Metal, Openeye, Bluecoat etc. and keep an eye on all their programmes. We have just hosted the LOOK13 photography festival launch at our gallery, which launches in Liverpool in May 2013, so our connections are very strong. Lots of artists, collectors and curators attend our previews too, so that’s so nice to still have that support. I also go on studio visits with artists I know from Liverpool who are at art college in London too… I have read that you moved from Liverpool to give your artists more exposure in a challenging economic climate. It was a hard decision; do you think you made the right one? No shadow of a doubt. Why did you decide to turn from artist to gallery owner? Well my journey from artist to curator to gallerist is connected through ideas and an ignition moment…it’s all about a desire to communicate, connect with and make sense of the world, to shift and unravel things slightly… Do you still make art? No, but I spend a lot of time talking about it, thinking and reading about it and giving people ideas, so I feel creative… Do you think the British public gets art and have you seen a change in the last 20 years in the British public’s perception of conceptual art? Yes, I think the public has a desire to see and experience art and there has been a massive positive shift in the last 20 years. Gallery visitor figures are up and so many more visitors are looking at conceptual art. Our viewing habits are changing though, so people are as likely to go see a Banksy show or the David Bowie show (at the V&A) as a Monet or Hirst show – the blockbuster shows will continue I think. Technology and looking at things online is changing things again though…galleries will be shifting even more in the next 10 years to accommodate this user-interface society and audience driven content will continue to shape gallery programmes. Henny Acloque, Tarantella, 2013, Oil on board, 11.8 x 15.7 in. / 30 x 40 cm, Photo: Anna Arca Henny Acloque, Come, 2013, Oil on board, 47.2 x 70.8 in. / 120 x 180 cm, Photo: Anna Arca What is unique about your gallery? We love performance art! I have also had a lot of feedback recently that the level of support we offer artists is unusual. We also take a lot of risks in terms of works we present in the exhibitions (not always sensible commercial decisions!) and the length of time I’ve known (and invested in, over different stages in my career) my artists is also pretty unusual – Juneau Projects, Bedwyr Williams, Matthew Houlding and Mel Brimfield for example, I’ve know for 10 years or more now… What part do you play in the lives of your artists? Well I know them pretty well. I often know where they are going with the work before they do! I also understand the obstacles they put in their own way or how stress affects them and the work, so can help them take more risks, I think, by supporting them to push the practice as far as they can and give them license to do so. I am in email or phone correspondence with them often and do studio visits with them as, and when, is needed. We are in more contact when there is a show either at the gallery or offsite, as I give them feedback on the proposals they develop and ideas they have, regularly. What do you look for in curators and do they come to you or vice versa? I guess we connect with curators who are drawn to a similar conceptual rigour, or line of enquiry, or energy in the work. We always seek them out and they come to see us regularly, which is great. Which galleries do you have a relationship with internationally? Lots of commercial galleries, but also with places like the New Museum in NY and Kunstverein Bonn. You mentioned the London galleries Hauser & Wirth and Corvi Mora in an interview, are they your favourite galleries and if not, which are your favourite galleries and/or museums both here and abroad? I love Hauser & Wirth’s programme, Sadie Coles too and I like Douglas Hyde Gallery’s programme, the New Museum to name but a few… If you had not become an artist and were not running a gallery, what do you think you could have been doing instead? I have never not worked in the arts, so I can’t imagine that! I would like to have been an author…maybe that’s why most of my artists use or incorporate text in their practice..! If you had £100,000 to spend on art solely for yourself, what would you buy/do? Actually, I know this sounds political, but I have always wanted to be able to buy a key piece from each of the shows I have staged since 2008, so I think that’s what I’d do…it would be a super personal collection, charting my own journey, whilst also supporting the artists I care about… How did your involvement with the Creekside Open come about? They asked me and I said yes! What is involved in judging it and what was that experience like; is it true that you had 777 works to judge, was it difficult, was it frustrating at all, were there sleepless nights, is your head throbbing? More like 2777! Literally! It was made a painless experience because of the great team at APT actually, who worked so hard to prepare all the works in advance. The only challenge was not seeing the artists’ names and having to include the works from the images provided, as you can’t ask them to provide other works to choose from. So I didn’t include some artists I really love because the work they proposed wouldn’t have worked in a show… How alike/different were your choices from Paul Noble's, your fellow judge? I can’t wait to see his selection! Apparently we only cross over on a couple of artists which is incredible, so I am really looking forward to seeing how the shows differ. Would you do it again? Absolutely! How many prizes/opens etc. have you judged? This last year or so I’ve selected Charlie Dutton’s CRASH salon (2012), the Creekside Open, the Caitlin Art Prize and the WW Solo Award 2013. I’ve also done some mentoring work for New Art Gallery Walsall; The International Led Market Project and The Photographers’ Gallery. So a fair few things! What does a typical day for you entail? Answering emails/calls, meeting people at the gallery, maybe doing a talk (on or offsite), speaking to artists, trying to make some sales, planning the next show, going to a gallery preview, giving artists feedback on their work, researching new artists, strategising for the artists and gallery development. What are your 3 favourite art pieces and why? I can’t limit it to 3! What are 3 pieces of advice for those opening a gallery? Choose your programme and artists carefully, borrow lots of money, keep your rent down! Thanks to Ceri Hand & Tina Emenyeonu.
Review: Melanie Jackson
REVIEW: THE URPFLANZE (PART 2), MELANIE JACKSON Flat Time House, 210 Bellenden Road, London, SE15 4BW 28/03/13—12/05/13 By Simina Neagu In the striking setting of the Flat Time House, Melanie Jackson continues her work around Goethe’s concept of the Urpflanze, a fictional plant that contains all past and future natural forms. The exhibition showcases a series of videos, sculptures and small interventions, covering almost all media in an all-encompassing, intellectual and visually powerful work. Melanie Jackson, The Urpflanze ,Part2 (2013) Melanie Jackson seems perfectly at home in John Latham’s former studio, currently hosting an archive and a gallery. In 2003, John Latham declared the house a living sculpture and in 2008, two years after the artist’s death, it opened as an art space. This seems to be the perfect context for Melanie Jackson’s continuing research into the idea of transformation. The exhibition presents the second part of a project that was previously shown at The Drawing Room in 2010, while the work is the result of an ongoing collaboration with writer Esther Leslie, professor of Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck, University of London. It’s no surprise that the project is an ambitious attempt to bring together aesthetics, natural sciences and politics. Sharing John Latham’s interest in the ‘event’ as a primal unit of existence; present at both the micro and the macro level, Melanie Jackson looks at the idea of a primordial unit from the perspective of natural sciences. Taking her cue from Goethe’s concept of the Urpflanze, a sort of imaginary building block of nature, she delivers a highly complex body of work. She expands the concept by examining the ability of biotechnology to go beyond the existing natural organisms in engineering new forms of life. This is perhaps where Jackson’s work reaches a deeper level of reflection, questioning the current organisation and manipulation of life. Melanie Jackson, The Urpflanze ,Part2 (2013) Melanie Jackson examines form in its essential components, breaking it down to a primordial unit. She engages with the space, intervening in every corner of the Flat Time House. The gallery space becomes her laboratory or botanical garden, hosting a range of experiments in form. Ceramic cabbages and carrots are scattered throughout the house, echoing Émile Zola’s statement: “The day is not far off when one ordinary carrot may be pregnant with revolution.” Melanie Jackson, The Urpflanze ,Part2 (2013) On April 26th, 2013, to coincide with (SLAM) Last Fridays, FTHo will present a kitchen salon with Melanie Jackson and Esther Leslie in conversation. The discussion will elaborate upon Goethe\\\'s concept of the Urpflanze and how as a model for thinking it can transfigure across the social, political and artistic spectrum, acting as a narrative gateway to science fiction and folkloric myths. This event will be included on our Last Fridays Tour: Peckham Edition on 26.04.13. Full details HERE.
Review 2: Pae White
PAE WHITE: TOO MUCH NIGHT, AGAIN @ SOUTH LONDON GALLERY SLG, 65-67 PECKHAM ROAD, LONDON, SE5 8UH 13/03/13 – 12/05/13 OPEN LATE SLAM LAST FRIDAYS: 26/04/13 Review by Luke Neve Heavily influenced by the spaces that she is presented with, Pae White is an artist who consistently unbalances expectations of a variety of mediums and techniques. Based in Los Angeles her work often walks the line between art, design, craft and architecture and frequently reaches a conclusion that marries them together. Her most recent installation is in no way a deviation to her previous work, she reacts to the relentless ethereality of the South London Gallery setting up a perceptual conflict with the work she has created. Just under 50 kilometres of yarn criss cross dramatically through the space and spell out 3 words: unmattering, tiger and time. Pae White, Too much night, again, 2013, installation, mixed media. Courtesy: Greengrassi, London. Photo: Andy Keate. Tension is a key phrase that could be used to describe the new meaning embedded onto the gallery. Her struggle with insomnia as a result of a change in her studio practice and anxiety around the creation of this project, served as the main point of inspiration for this work. She represents the insertion of this unfamiliar "night time activity" in her life through the acrylic threads that become a "self portrait of sorts". As you walk through the centre of the piece letters emerge and disappear as if stuck between dream and reality, the viewer is left in ethereal purgatory as the full words can only be seen from the outside of the work. There is something in the submersion of the viewer in her practice; here you are invited into White's perceptions and memories. Pae White, Too much night, again, 2013, installation, mixed media. Courtesy: Greengrassi, London. Photo: Andy Keate. In the far back corner of the gallery space a pile of pizza boxes and a well-worn t-shirt acts as a nod towards the process of installation for the piece. This glimpse behind the scenes grounds the viewer, reminding you of the hard and cold facts of the construction of 'Too Much Night, Again'. This jarring of the ethereal and the material echo the tension between the work and the space and lends a greater meaning to the project. Pae White, Too much night, again, 2013, installation, mixed media. Courtesy: Greengrassi, London. Photo: Andy Keate. Incredibly thoughtful this latest instalment of Pae White’s artwork is a great example of an artist with a defined and charismatic style. Pae White’s exhibition will mark the start of our SLAM Last Fridays art tour in Peckham. See Pae White’s epic installation and much more inbetween on this ‘Pay What you Like’ art tour, more info HERE.
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