Monday, 15 October 2012

In The Window - Adam Kelly - Survived Socialism

Survived Socialism

With Survived Socialism graduate artist-in-residence Adam Kelly presents a new series of sculptures which aim to explore the history of modernism, with influence from architecture seen in various towns and cities such as Stoke-on-Trent and Warsaw in Poland. The series' title is derived from a memory that describes Kelly's Polish maternal grandfather, Edward Jezycki. Inventive with unused items, both share common passions for knowledge, museums and geography as demonstrated by this series of work crafted from second-hand steel frame tables (attained from around the city) as well as contemporary objects such as strip-lighting.

The pieces; structured and abstract; are to be switched between the course of the interim Window exhibition, and are bordered with foreign exotic rugs, allocating them space and time.

 The new works and the series are dedicated to Edward Jezycki (b. 1919 – d. 2005). Born and died in Warsaw, the city he loved.

Adam Kelly’s multi-media work explores the idea of self-identity,. His characteristically Eurocentric work reveals personal successes and failures to represent nostalgic memories that are both devastating and promising to different communities and individuals.
Within Adam's practice, his compositions have an autonomous determination and often exorcising approach that links his oeuvre to modernism, re-appraising avant-garde techniques with found and discarded items, and constructs new situations to comment on farcical ideas such as diaspora and nationalism.

Adam Kelly is currently a beneficiary of AirSpace Gallery's Graduate Residency scheme. Contact the Gallery for more details.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Brownfield Ikebana Workshop with Anna Francis

Over the last 12 months, AirSpace has hosted a variety of workshops, with great success, and the latest in the line happened on Saturday - a "Brownfield Ikebana" workshop led by Ikebana master, Anna Francis. Though Anna showed an example in the recent AirSpace Studio Show, she had always intended that the workshop would actually be her contribution to the exhibition - a chance to get people to explore the phenomena of urban brownfields - areas of wilderness which spring up when demolition and halted regeneration programmes create large gaps in a city's fabric.

Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement and comes from the Japanese ikeru (生ける?, "keep alive, arrange flowers, living") and hana (?, "flower"). Possible translations include "giving life to flowers" and "arranging flowers".

The workshop started with an introduction to the art form, as Anna led the group through origins, types, techniques and everything to equip the participants with the ability to head off to the site of the city's old ABC cinema to collect vessels, and flowers/plants to create their own arrangements.

the talk was accompanied by a selection of japanese sweets and authentic green tea
After the talk, the participants were each given their tools, a tray lined with wet newspaper to keep the collected greenery fresh and set off to the site for inspection and collection. Anna had informed that Ikebana is a site specific thing - in that the arrangement should be constructed with its intended site in mind - so the first job was to have a look at the part of the gallery that they were intended to be displayed in.

We were on the site for a good 45 mins and it was really interesting to witness nature's reclamation of the land. Dozens of different plant-types which would normally be considered as weeds or wortless, but collectively made for a pleasant urban wild meadow - a refreshing visual break from the overly concrete retail nature of the modern city. 

Once done,  we headed back to the gallery to create the arrangements. Accompanied by soothing Japanese meditative music, the creations began. Reminders of shin soe and hikai, kenzan, angles - 75, 45 and 15 degrees - the correct height ratios of each element - so much to remember.

Once made, each Ikebana was photographed in the gallery, and then an image printed out. Each participant left with a print and was emailed their image for future use. The collective Ikebanas were displayed on the Resource Room window for passers-by to appreciate.

It was a really interesting workshop. I was particularly struck by the interest of onlookers and passers-by generated by the activity. You could sense peoples' puzzlement at this group of people foraging and inspecting, cutting and gathering on a site that I imagine most people think is a bit of an eyesore, or a blot on the city's landscape. And, for me, this was the worth in this project. It acted as a prod - a highlighting of a phenomena that is repeated in cities all over the country - areas once occupied by buildings, and now left for nature to reclaim following demolition programmes and site clearances. Perhaps there is a future for these brownfield sites - maybe the natural reclamation could be seen as a successful land-use in its own right. 


In The Window - Adam Gruning - The Last Adventure

‘The Last Adventure’ - Adam Gruning

In ‘The Last Adventure’ recent graduate Adam Grüning explores a relationship between the consumer, the gallery and the explorer through the use of subtle word play and familiar shop signage design. The work employs a humour and attempts to investigate a possible social dilemma of what is left to do and discover in a spectacle-based society under the superficialities of consumerism.

Grüning’s work centres around elements of design, placement and choice towards various spectacles in society, with his current concerns revolving around the display of imagery and visual communication. There are continuous gestures relating to permanence, existence, spectacle and language in his work, in some way questioning or re-addressing a relationship with it. It is most often through photography that he formalises his work, as it is a medium that he feels handles the dialogue of image and design most directly. Previous work such as ‘Shit Sprayed Chrome,’ displays these characteristics and nature of his practice in creating a conversation between notions of the situationists as well as the medium of photography itself. However, most recently, and on exhibition here, his practice has developed into investigations of text works.

Adam is currently one of two AirSpace Gallery graduate resident artists and is showing this work as an interim exhibition in the Gallery's window space, as his residency nears its halfway point.