Things That Have Interested Me
Simon and Tom Bloor, Dan Coopey, Benedict Drew, Robert Filby, Leo Fitzmaurice, Colin Guillemet, Suzanne Mooney, Fay Nicolson, Peles Empire (Barbara Wolff and Katharina Stoever), Hannah Perry, Helen A Pritchard, Giles Round
In 1921, the prolific writer Arnold Bennett – author of Buried Alive and The City of Pleasure and inventor of the Savoy’s ‘Omelette Arnold Bennett’ – begun publishing Things That Have Interested Me, a series of miniature essays on subjects ranging from ‘Politics and Morals’, ‘Balzac’s Technique’ and ‘Bicarbonate of Soda’ to ‘Sex Equality’.
Amounting to three volumes and hundreds of entries, Things That Have Interested Me is a cross between journalistic fact-reporting and unrepressed opinion. Verbose and focus-free, the collection is an early-day blog, only published by Chatto & Windus, and not by Tumblr.
In the gallery, Things That Have Interested Me brings together the work of twelve artists, invited by Pierre d'Alancaisez and Olga Ovenden as Bennett would have engaged his topics – through research, acquaintance, recommendation, more research, prior experience, long-term interest, and occasionally hearsay.
The artists use a range of media – from painting to performance lecture – and address topics as diverse as Bennett’s oeuvre. The place of the various techniques and subjects explored by the artists is negotiated in the gallery itself, and the immediacy of time and place is celebrated – just as it would have been in a blog, or a collection of notes and observations.
While this pseudo-democratic method for foregrounding artistic works and gestures may reveal the sometimes-disjointed nature of curatorial processes, this collection of things that have interested us, makes public as much about the curator, as it does about the artwork and its viewer.
To accompany the exhibition, waterside contemporary will re-publish Arnold Bennett’s 1920s essays in fragmented form, in print and in an online blog.
24 May – 14 July 2012
Private view Wednesday 23 May, 6-9pm
Simon and Tom Bloor (b.1973). Founding Directors of Eastside Projects, Birmingham the artists collect texts and images, filtering and re-appropriating these to create coincidental, surprising findings. They have exhibited at South London Gallery, Modern Art Oxford and Ikon, and were commissioned for several projects, creating several permanent and temporary public works.
Dan Coopey (b.1981) investigates the misunderstandings that present themselves when visuals are obscured. By blurring translations and expressions, Coopey invites the viewer to interpret and decipher, creating engaging and illuminating works. Amongst awards including the Hamad Butt Fine Art Award (2003) and the 2004 BT Digital Media Award, he was chosen by Yinka Shonibare to partake in Guest Projects.
Benedict Drew (b.1977) works across video, performance, sound and other audiovisual media. Using the apparatus of film, video and music to investigate and reflect upon our relationship with technology. He has exhibited at Zabludowicz Collection (2012), awarded the OCAD Off Screen Award and is resident of the LUX Associate Artists Program.
Robert Filby’s (b.1976) works initially create a sense of displacement, unease and then reconciliation when the intention becomes apparent. He has exhibited at Outpost Norwich, Contemporary Art Society, S1 Artspace, Sheffield and Center Berlin.
Leo Fitzmaurice (b.1963) is winner of the 5th Annual Northern Art Prize. Fitzmaurice’s practice is characterised by a desire to reorganise the everyday and familiar in order to create new forms. He has exhibited at the Henry Moore Institute, Art Gallery Walsall, and The Lowry, Manchester.
Colin Guillemet (b.1979) poignant works, highly considered in their placement, raise issues of intention; whether we are shown the truth or whether we are being convinced. Guillemet’s work has been included in exhibitions curated by Angela de la Cruz and Alexander Blaettler. He is also director and co-founder of PILOTlondon.org.
Helen Pritchard’s (b.1975) paintings are still lives that become landscapes, leading the viewer from fractured domestic details through layers in space, out and back again to the materiality of the object. Pritchard has also established artist led studio and gallery P.O.S.T.
Hannah Perry (b.1984) has recently shown her performance, installation and video works at Zabludowicz Collection and with Lucky PDF at Frieze art fair. Inspiration for her work is gathered from class structure, cult film and music and arrogance creating brave, beautiful and at times, vulgar work. She is currently studying her MFA at the Royal Academy of Art.
Giles Round (b.1976) creates sculptures and assemblages of made and ready made objects, positioned systematically. Without personal belongings, or the suggestion of an individual they are mundane, melancholic scenes, bereft of drama and suspense. He has recently exhibited at S1 Artspace, Sheffield, Serpentine Gallery’s Pavilion and the ICA, London.
Peles Empire (Barbara Wolff b.1980 & Katharina Stoever b.1982) take their name from the 19th century Romanian castle ‘Peles’, decorated in a variety of styles form Art Deco, Orientalism, Renaisance to Rococo. Following suit, Peles Empire’s crafted archaeological, antique-like artefacts hijack and mix ornamentation from these eras and the castle itself. They have exhibited at Metro, Edinburgh (2011), Frieze Projects (2011) and at Transformations, Deutsche bank (2009) and were selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries (2011).
Suzanne Mooney’s (b.1979) photographs investigate the politics of display of consumer goods. Systems of display made of Perspex, wooden platforms and other functional apparatus are re-interpreted so that their fetish and commercial worth is turned into abstract simplicity. Mooney has exhibited at Spike Island, Bristol following a residency there and the Contemporary Art Society.
Fay Nicholson (b.1984) traces relationships between form and content whilst investigating their connections between history and documentation. Nicolson also curates, lectures and writes, recent curatorial projects include; RE-RUN, curated with Majed Aslam, Banner Repeater. She has exhibited at SPACE, London (2011), Manifesta 8 and Landings; Constitution of the Damned, Norway (2011).
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