GALLERY OF THE EVERYDAY: Author Richard Makin responds to ‘the temps’ street interventions

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It’s been a while. But today’s post comes courtesy of Mary Cavendish in Hastings, who alerted me to these remarkable street art interventions happening in the streets around St Leonards on the South East coast of England. All the work is by the temps: an anonymous collective of artists, photographers, writers, film-makers and mental health professionals creating impermanent artworks around Hastings and St Leonards during Coastal Currents Arts Festival 2014.

Mary sent me a link to an online post in which author Richard Makin responds to the temps’ Writes of Passage guerilla exhibition in a polemic titled Situationism on Sea (Hastings Online Times). He writes:
“Someone once wrote: ‘You make interventions; I am the intervention.’ This declaration surely applies to the temps, whose unsponsored wheat-pasting and stencilled poetic fragments have already triggered reaction from Hastings Local Authority; this body promptly discharged a jobsworth to remove any artworks daring to raise a head along its vaunted seafront. Notwithstanding, the majority of the temps’ valuable contributions to the Coastal Currents Arts Festival have survived municipal vandalism.

“The brief is simple: the use of art as a transformative medium for psychical healing, a vital strategy in a context of medication randomly administered with the aim of a rapid return to the obedient norms of work, shopping and infantile leisure pursuits—this succinctly expressed by one contributor’s ‘Care Plan’, culled from actual medical reports: ‘Increase anti-psychotic medication, ensure dosage is high enough to decrease over-thinking and expressed emotion’ [. . .] It is poignant to reflect upon the years commonly spent on a waiting-list for effective psychoanalysis, set against the brief hours it took to remove some of this extraordinary artwork from our promenade (ironically, an environment in which a mediocre effort by colour-supplement street artist Banksy has been dutifully protected behind perspex by the Local Authority, who cannily recognize its value as a faux-anarchist tourist attraction).”

Read more at Hastings Online Times: Situationism On Sea

Mary sent some photos and a link to a blog from which the following quotes have been taken. Follow the link at the end of this post to the temporaries blog.

No.1
“The work that I have contributed was borne from an intuitive gut instinct, a driving force that I could not name, could not express, and barely understood at the time. The freedom to express emotions through making work can be cathartic but it can also allow for deep-seated feelings to emerge and resurface. It is a raw response, a physical manifestation of feelings that were, and still are, at times, too difficult to bear. Decades later it seems as relevant as when it was first created. For me, there is no need to justify my work or explain it, my piece is doing the talking, not me.
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“The streets are a public space, a place where people who may never enter a gallery space can come across works, often unexpectedly. The works are diverse – there are collaborative works using pen, paper and colours; there are chalk spray-painted adages and designs cascading down stairways; there are one-off pieces and multiple poster works, and a document that parodies mental health assessment. They are unapologetic, challenging and authentic. And all of them have been made with heart and soul. There are no titles or captions to explain any of the works, and no artist names to attach to them either. The fact that they are all anonymous only serves to foreground the work, rather than the creator of the work. In the canon of visual art, the preservation of anonymity can strip works of monetary value as attaching authorship to art is key to creating value. But what is it, or who is it, that bestows value on work? And why are some pieces sanctioned and others not?

“In St Leonards there is a double standard. The council seems to be saying:
Let Banksy be by the sea, but white wash the rest of them. However, if I am encased in Perspex along the seafront, will I remain intact and become a tourist attraction? Watch this space.”

No.2
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No.3
“I made a stencil of ‘this too shall pass’ which is a phrase from 12 step recovery which i thought was a good comment on the changing nature of mental states and the impermanence of the art we were doing (I used chalk spray paint). After 13 years of hearing this in meetings it felt great to put it to good use.”
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No.4
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“As someone with personal experience of mental health issues, involvement in this project has been hugely cathartic. I have been gradually exorcising my demons through art and writing since my breakdown last year and thanks to this and the incredible support of my counsellor and local mental health services, whose work I found to be incredibly attentive, in depth covering all aspects of one’s humanity, including relationships, personal history, work and spirituality, I feel I am now finally on the road to recovery. I found that the act of posting my work on the walls in our locality to be so powerful as it symbolises the bond between mother and child, specifically between myself and my five-year-old daughter. I collaborated with her to create the works, as a way of celebrating the positivity engendered when this relationship is a healthy one. As someone who experienced overt control and endless restrictions from her own mother, this has been incredibly cathartic for me. I intend to continue this work and would like to see the project grow and grow in order to raise awareness of mental wellness/illness and support those who are suffering from deep-seated mental health issues.”

No.5
“When I was posting my drawing and the accompanying song lyrics a gang of young men asked if they could look at what I was doing. I said ‘of course, that is the point’. I explained to them that putting the original drawing up was a way of honouring my Dad who is dying and reminding people to make the most of each other. They seemed genuinely moved and said they’d let their friends know about the piece. It’s good to be reaching audiences that wouldn’t frequent art galleries.”
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No.6
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No.7
SL01To find out more about the temps go to: thetemporaries at blogspot.com.

 

Award-winning photographer Stuart Griffiths brings solo show CLOSER home after tour of duty

STUART GRIFFITHS’ CLOSER COMES HOME TO HASTINGS
I began making these photographs as a response to my personal feelings towards war. This was long before charities started using cuddly teddy bears as a way of making serious injuries acceptable to the masses. I wanted to show the horror of war and its aftermath and realised early on that it was the young people that carried the worst scars of all. To me, when I began working on CLOSER, it was to be a visual protest against war; now the work is complete, I still feel the same way. Bringing the show back to Hastings is like CLOSER has completed its very own tour of duty and this is the homecoming.
Stuart Griffiths

Closer by Stuart Griffiths

Craig Lundberg was blinded in Iraq during Operation Telic 9. Photograph taken at his mother’s home, Liverpool. CLOSER © Stuart Griffiths

Save the Date next month if you are anywhere near the South East coast of England for the opening of photographer Stuart Griffiths‘ multimedia show CLOSER. Stuart Griffiths began taking photographs when he was a young soldier on patrol in West Belfast in the late 1980s, carrying a ‘sure-shot’ instamatic camera in his chest-webbing alongside 120 live bullets, water canisters and field dressings. This is the first time that the entire show, including artworks, has been exhibited in the South East region.

The show includes candid photos of army life taken in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s during Griffiths’ time serving in the Parachute Regiment in Northern Ireland; an installation of his illustrated and highly personal Xeroxed letters home; and large-scale colour photographs of socially-excluded veterans, accompanied by Luke Seomore and Joseph Bull’s documentary film Isolation (2009), which charts the making of these images. Griffiths’ is not afraid to expose the effects of war making the entire project a candid and unflinching document of life in the British army. CLOSER is the culmination of his complete work to date and will be shown at Sussex Coast College in Hastings from 19 September until 7 October 2014.

Closer Exhibition Photographs

Stephen Shine was injured in Iraq after driving his tank over a roadside bomb. Photograph taken at his mother’s home. London, 2008 CLOSER © Stuart Griffiths

As a body of work CLOSER looks at the consequences of the post-conflict condition. Griffiths photographed British soldiers injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and documented veterans hotels, care centers and squats. Griffiths’ memoir Pigs’ Disco (2013) will also be on sale for £20 at the PV and is published by Ditto Press . The title Pigs Disco refers to the monthly party at the barracks where locals girls would be invited for drinks, dancing and sex. The book is a highly personal, often humourous, journey into the heart of the British army during the time of acid, raves and violence in the late 1980s-90s, and is set against the backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Closer - Photographs of British Veterans, care-homes & serious i

Hayley Murdoch injured in Iraq 2004. Photograph taken at her garage in South Wales, 2007. © CLOSER Stuart Griffiths.

Letters To Bill

Letters To Bill © Stuart Griffiths

Closer by Stuart Griffiths

Television room at Combat Stress, Tyrwhitt House, Leatherhead, Surrey, 2005. CLOSER © Stuart Griffiths

CLOSER is Griffiths’ first solo exhibition and was selected by Charlotte Cotton, Val Williams and Martin Parr as the winner of the Brighton Photo Fringe OPEN 2010. It was selected from over 200 entries and was first exhibited at the Phonenix Gallery Brighton in the same year. The show has been touring nationally in its complete form, notably at Birmingham MAC and London College of Communication and is curated by Val Williams.

Closer - Photographs of British Veterans, care-homes & serious i

Jamie Cooper was injured in Iraq (Operation Telic 9),  2006. Photograph taken at his mother’s home, Bristol 2007. CLOSER © Stuart Griffiths

CLOSER runs from 19 Sept to 7 Oct 2014.

PV Friday 19 Sept 6-8pm at Sussex Coast College Hastings, Approach, Hastings, East Sussex.
CLOSER is open to the public:
Monday-Friday 10am-7pm
22 September–26 September
29 September–3 October
Mon 6 and Tues 7 October
Saturdays 10am–2pm
20 September, 27 September & 4 October

Photo News – Brighton-based art photographer pulls film from East Sussex Open 2014 exhibition

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WHERE’S WENDY PYE’S FILM?
Last week, I was at the East Sussex Open 2014 running until 15 September (open submission visual art competition with judged selection) at The Towner Gallery in Eastbourne for the private view. En route to the show I came across a number of slips of paper stuck to bus shelters, a phone box and a tree.  At the opening, I saw an invigilator picking up similar pieces of paper from the floor next to a cordoned-off installation. Later, whilst talking to filmmaker Andrew Kötting and his daughter Eden about her paintings in the show, Andrew opened a book with the same slip of paper enclosed within it.

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It read: Where’s Wendy Pye’s Film?
On the reverse was a website URL: http://wendypye.wordpress.com

Towner6I came home, typed in the URL and found a blog post relating to her submission to the Towner Open 2014. It appears that her film Six Feet from the Edge was selected for the show but that despite repeated efforts (numerous emails sent by the artist from 28 March through to 2 May and beyond with two phone calls) to discuss how it would be viewed (a vital concern for the creator of the work) she learned that the curatorial team had decided to show the film on a screen with headphones.

Why did the curator fail to respond to any of Wendy’s repeated emails and phone call requests to discuss the work until it was too late and she had no choice but to withdraw her film just before the opening? There is also the question of how filmmakers/artists’ work gets shown in open shows and the extent to which compromises can be made by the creators of such work, without seriously impacting on the viewing experience. It is interesting to note also that Andrew’s film was shown in a sealed-off dark cube, built, I would imagine, by the Towner technical team. Did he make a similar request as Wendy when he submitted his work? Did he request ‘ideal’, as she states she did, or ‘essential’ for the viewing of his work?

She writes: “This experience has left me feeling confused about the role of the curator and I have a few questions:

  • Do curators in public galleries have a responsibility for the artists they are exhibiting and their work? 
  • If curators choose not to have a discussion with the artist for e.g about the viewing experience of moving image work, should they be concerned how their curatorial choices may affect the art work and perhaps reconfigure it?

I leave you with some photos from the opening and a link to Wendy Pye’s blog post in its entirety. I will respond with some more thoughts in a day or so. Till then.

All iPhone photos ©Miranda Gavin

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Photo News – Three days left to make a pledge for Tal Shpantzer’s crowdfunded The Petal Project

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All images © Tal Shpantzer 2014

“Reinforcing the relationship between natural forms, underlines the essential inter connectivity of all beings.” Tal Shpantzer

After a long break, a time for some R ‘n’ R, I wanted to let you know about a crowdfunded project The Petal Project by Tal Shpantzer. The Petal Project is an ongoing portrait photography series shot in Greenpoint Brooklyn, NY studio, from 2010 to present. Tal has set up a crowdfunded campaign to make this record into a first edition printed photo book with a run of 500 copies and it has just three days to go (2 July).

Tal Shpantzer is a fine art portrait and fashion photographer who says of the work: “I am captivated by the dialogues that emerge through each woman and petal portrait. A raw and unpretentious moment can reveal complexities, evoke imagined histories, and hidden truths.”

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“The project began with a portrait of a friend. Exhibiting this first Petal Portrait in a Chelsea gallery, people immediately responded to the provocative expression of femininity, inner power, fragility, strength and sensuality I was able to capture between woman & petal. I decided to continue with a series, restaging that initial photo with different women and flowers.

“I began photographing women around me that I found inspiring: friends, family, colleagues.  As the project grew, a mosaic emerged; an increasingly dynamic and diverse group of women brought their individually unique presence to each sitting creating a rich and complex dialog… Each Petal Portrait has been an empowering and collaborative experience. “

The series is rooted in her own experience with the reconfiguration of personal memory after a yearlong period of amnesia. Her work in photography and image-making has been published and exhibited nationally and internationally, and featured in HBO, MTV, TOPMAN Generation Magazine, Rolling Stone, Italian Vogue, Creem, Kid- In & W Magazine. The Petal Project has been chosen to be in the Saatchi online Curated Collection. You can find out more on her indiegogo website page The Petal Project.

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PHOTO OPPORTUNITY – In Pictures photo agency looking to take on new photographers for representation

UK - TUC protest march - Anarchists demontration cuts through central London. Photo Mike Kemp

UK – TUC protest march – Anarchists demontration cuts through central London. Photo Mike Kemp

China - Liaoning - Dalian, Russian tourists drawn to Bohai sea beaches.

China – Liaoning – Dalian, Russian tourists drawn to Bohai sea beaches. Photo Fritz Hoffmann

It makes a change to be able to post a call for photographers that could actually lead to work. If you are a professional documentary style photographer working in news, features, travel or street photography, In Pictures would very much like to hear from you.

In Pictures is an independent photo agency representing the work of documentary photographers for licensing as features and single images on a non-exclusive basis. Founded by editor/photographer Mike Kemp,with distribution via Corbis and direct through http://www.in-pictures.co.uk

Uruguay - Vichadero - Portrait of Gaucho on ranch.

Uruguay – Vichadero – Portrait of Gaucho on ranch. Photo Christopher Pillitz

TO APPLY
Send a link to your website and a brief introduction about your work and what you do.

Please email your introduction and link to Mike Kemp:
info@in-pictures.co.uk

In Pictures is interested in both London based photographers, and those who are further afield, so if you know of anyone who may also be interested, please feel free to pass on this invitation.

Rwanda - Kibileze - Narcisse prays with his family at home, Photo Stuart Freedman

Rwanda – Kibileze – Narcisse prays with his family at home

United Kingdom - London - Stamford Hill Orthodox Jewish Men

United Kingdom – London – Stamford Hill Orthodox Jewish Men. Photo Andrew Aitchison

There are some excellent photographers included in the list below, who are represented by In Pictures:

Andrew Aitchison (photo above)
Anna Kari
Barry Lewis (photo below)
Chien-Min Chung
Christopher Pillitz (photo above)
Fritz Hoffmann (photo above)
Guilhem Alandry
Jenny Matthews
Kieran Doherty
Kristian Buus
Louis Quail
Manca Juvan
Michael Amendolia
Mike Kemp (photo above)
Mimi Mollica
Paul Hackett
Phil Clarke Hill
Qilai Shen
Richard Baker
Roger Hutchings
Stuart Freedman (photo above)
Tessa Bunney

UK - Literature - British writer Will Self.

UK – Literature – British writer Will Self. Photo Barry Lewis