Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blanca de la Torre talks to Alevino Sala, Democracia, Elena Bajo, Josechu Dávila, Jacobo Castellano, Maider López and PSJM.

Blanca de la Torre: How do urban spaces effect your work?

Alevino Sala
: I am interested in the communication of ideas in public spaces as a way of making people rethink, deconstruct their lives and the society in which we live with the paradoxes and contradictions, working in the streets is very lively, it has realism.

Democracia: On many occasions our work has been connected to urban spaces. in these cases we try to be aware of the context. beyond the urban or formal considerations, we are interested in the social context, in the communities and their memories. recently we worked the streets of Cartagena, in South East Spain, starting with the strong presence of the immigrant Moroccan community. The project was aimed at that community - we intervened in the city through big billboards with political messages written in Arabic. This meant Moroccan people could understand them but not the native Spanish who on the other hand, would be made aware of the presence of another community, culturally and socially different and in the heart of city life. In this way some distrust was manifested from the Spanish side that smacks of racism and latent paranoia.

Elena Bajo: My work is generated by informative found and researched in urban spaces, historical, social, political and personal. I don't conceive of my practice without the urban element, whether on the scale of cities or on a microscale. This zooming in and out is part of investigation. the space of the city and everyday life contain the basic materials I need to establish the dynamics of the work. This is expanded into an internal dialogue, a variety of discourses then become embedded in the work and an open dialogue a developed between the viewer and the place.

Josechu Dávila: Urban space doesn't directly effect my work and it's not a terrain which I'm specifically interested in however, as it is my natural habitat it has been an important element of reference and medium for most of my works. In the piece "You Are My Artwork" (2004) after selecting an urban rectangle in Madrid of 480 x 937 m2 as an artwork, the thirty six thousand seven hundred and twenty people who lived in that area were informed they were part of an artwork. Each notification with the measurements proportioned to the urban rectangle corresponded to a slip numbered identically that recreated the same rectangle inside the art gallery where the project was presented. In the end, the installation suggested an atemporality reflected in a commitment of passing these notification slips to the past and future inhabitants of the rectangle.

Jacobo Castellano: I have never worked directly on the street, so this project is a challenge. It is true some that some of my projects have been associated with the exploration of private spaces, particularly in some of the houses where I used to live. In those houses I recovered objects with a personal and to some extent, collective memory. In this situation I plan to engage the street with a similar approach; as an explorer in search of strange objects or sounds that will situate me in the space.

Maider López: My projects are made with specific spaces in mind and the context is the starting point for the development of the project. The ideas grows from the experience of the city and how people live and enjoy public space.

PSJM: We always work with urban space regarding it as public space that includes mass media too, such as advertising. T.V., internet and the like. Actually our work is inspired by socio-commercial behaviours which wholly belong to society. We focus on the industrialised cartography, in the sense that we play with signs that mark the city and produce meaning for us urban cartography is a point of departure and a destination at the same time.

Read the rest of this interview and more in the Autumn edition of The A Bulletin, available at the A Foundation galleries and at selected bookshops and art spaces.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ben Rivers talks to Jordan Baseman

Jordan Baseman: Can you describe your films for me and perhaps more importantly why you make them?

Ben Rivers: When I start shooting they are closely related to documentary, but they are not about facts. I'm not just documenting, I am of course recording actual people in their actual living settings, but I always think of that just as a starting point. it's a catalyst for what the film is actually going to be, which is only worked out while its being made and even more so while its being edited. By the time I'm at the editing stage I'm not thinking of the work as documentary, its become much more fictionalised. I'm doing so much construction, particularly with sound I'm transforming it into some other world which is somewhere between dream and fiction.

Jordan Baseman: I've looked at your work, some of it seems very portrait driven, would you use that word to describe it?

Ben Rivers: I would. I've talked about all of the films of people as portraits. but somehow I try and move away from just creating a portrait. I do hope that an element is still there in the finished film, but at some point in the film it moves away from being a portrait directly and becomes more about something else I've seen in that space. I want to be truthful to that person and sensitive to their way of life, but at the same time I'll discuss with them that the film is going to go off on tangents. for example with "Ah Liberty!" all the adults are left out, so that film becomes much more fictionalised and unlike what it's actually like to be there, but at the same time somewhere at its core, there's a portrait of a family.

Jordan Baseman: Does this "something else" really start to come through in the editing process?

Ben Rivers: That's when it starts to make sense. when I'm filming I try and make more than one visit and that's increasingly important. so I'll film than go home and look at what I've got, get a sense of what the film might become and then go back and do some more filming, responding to what I've already done. the editing is crucial, that's really where the work is made. the filming is the gathering material, it's the fun bit, the bit I enjoy the most, I get excited by the travel and the adventure - the work really starts when I'm back home. when what I've seen and experienced has been transformed into something else by the camera and will then undergo further adaptation.

Jordan Baseman:
I totally understand that. Can you please tell me about making your films, how you find your participants and why you choose those people?

Ben Rivers:
Generally I've found people through friends. The participants tend to be friends of friends and not that far removed from my life really, I spend quite a bit of time in the countryside therefore I get to know people who live out in the sticks and they know other people who live out in the sticks! As the films have grown I get recommended to people - you know, "there's a guy who lives 20 miles down a dirt track - you should go and visit him."

It's been a really natural progression, the whole thing started by accident really, with, "This Is My Land," I wasn't thinking about making portraits at all, I was making things in a studio without people and I suddenly felt the need to put people back in the work...
Read the rest of this interview and more in the Autumn edition of The A Bulletin, available at the A Foundation galleries and at selected bookshops and art spaces.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Whitney McVeigh: New Work

A Foundation London
Rochelle School & Club Row
Arnold Circus
London E2 7ES

Curated by Sotiris Kyriacou
Friday 9 October - Sunday 1 November 2009
Daily 12 - 6pm, late Thursday until 8pm.

Solo exhibition of New Work by American-born artist Whitney McVeigh, curated by Sotiris Kyriacou showcasing a selection of monoprints, collages and works on found paper. A catalogue with text by JJ Charlesworth will accompany the exhibition.

But perhaps the bodies in McVeigh’s works should really be called ‘figures’. What, then, is the difference between an image of a body and an image of a ‘figure’? If nothing else, this has something to do with what we understand a human being to be, as distinct from a human body. With McVeigh’s work, I’m preoccupied with the distinction between a body and somebody; between the mass of flesh and bones that makes up each of us, and the presence of thinking, living, communicating beings that are this thing we call human, which can’t simply be reduced to just a heap of dumb matter. In her monochrome works, it’s as if this distinction is the only thing that matters in the world.

New Sensations 2009

A Foundation London
Rochelle School & Club Row
Arnold Circus
London E2 7ES
Friday 9 October - Monday 19 October 2009

An exhibition of work by 20 shortlisted graduates chosen by judges Gavin Turk, Ralph Rugoff, Louisa Buck and Alison Jaques. New Sensations was launched in 2007 by Channel 4 and The Saatchi Gallery to find the most imaginative and talented artists graduating in the UK and to support students leaving art college.

This year's judges are: artist Gavin Turk; Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery, London; critic Louisa Buck; and Alison Jacques, owner of Alison Jacques Gallery in London.

The four finalists chosen by the judges will be given a bursary to make a new work to present at the exhibition, and each of these 'New Sensations' will have a 3 Minute Wonder Channel 4 film made about them which will also be aired in October. The ultimate winner of the competition will be awarded prize money to support his or her future artistic endeavours.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Haroon Mirza

2 October - 14 November

A Foundation Liverpool
67 Greenland Street
Liverpool L1 OBY

Haroon Mirza considers the acoustic and the visual of equal significance in his work. Combining antique furniture and familiar electrical goods with existing video, musical recordings and noise created by water, static or interference, Mirza’s sculptures create latent symphonies between seemingly disparate objects. This, Haroon Mirza’s first solo exhibition, will include two newly commissioned works. One of the new works continues Mirza’s interest in the effect of sound spillage that occurs between artworks in group exhibitions. This new sculptural installation will incorporate edited and modified film works by Guy Sherwin and Jeremy Deller to create a single musical composition.

The exhibition will also include Adhãn, recently shown as part of Lisson Presents 3. The title of the work is the Arabic word for the Islamic call to prayer, and emerged from the artist's extended visit to Pakistan in 2007-8 during which he researched the place of music in Pakistani culture. The work includes a looped 1970s BBC clip of Cat Stevens playing acoustic guitar, a close-up film of a cellist projected onto found furniture and the rhythmic activation of radio static caused by a desk lamp turning on and off.