Working Title: Exhibition

A quickly thrown together video of the ‘Working Title’ exhibition, come in and experience it for yourself, it really is a bit of a marvel. The exhibition only runs until the 9th October so hurry hurry!

Jason Taylor’s ‘Golf loop’

Above is a video of a piece Jason created in his final stint at Working Title, using his previously made golf chair, the viewer/participator must place the ball into the structure in front of them.

Like Flies On – It’s Time to Celebrate

It would be sweet on this the last day of the ‘experiment’ (as the aspex website categorises the past 3 months  of Working Title), be sweet if the junk pile was resolved, vanished/vanquished, with the final object created – like one of those satisfying endings to a cinematic game of checkers, where the last white piece jumps here, there and everywhere taking all the black counters in a single go – with the completion of that last ‘thing’ all the scrap would be gone, used up. Job done.

That will not be the case. Tomorrow, when Clive and I stand amongst the mix of ‘art-things’ and waste, we’ll be far more aware of the stuff we’ve got to get rid of, than the art made. This is an example of Art’s place in real life – putting out the bins comes first. Luckily, some of the scrap will be going on to Highbury College, for students to sculpt with.

That’s an interesting aside: has Working Title been a sculpture show? Well, about half the artists participating admit to producing sculptural work, amongst other kinds (drawing, painting, digital, installation etc). The rest ‘make’ – and, this ‘making’ includes 3-D objects. From a personal perspective, about half the work produced since July I’d describe as sculpture – the rest, mmm… I’d call it ‘art stuff’… work concerned solely with its becoming and existing. At best, we can call it a mostly three dimensional show. Objects will beget objects. Perhaps, had we been given a mangle or a road-roller, those objects could’ve been 2-dimensionalised. Paul Matosic’s work is 3D things submitting to 2D aesthetics – if his floor arrangement were transposed to a wall, well…

What I know will be sculptural, will be the mode by which the current workshop becomes an exhibition (the kind of exhibition it intends to become). We’ll need to hack away, excavate, to reveal the artwork. The environs in which the work was created cannot be dismissed, so we intend to exhibit something of that workshop in the coming show. In a way, this is Clive, Jo W and my opportunity to participate on a creative level in WT.

All forms of exhibition require a degree of curation, this week long show will be no different. Space will dictate some decisions, the success of artworks will be debated, the best manner of presentation will be decided, and some coherent discourse delivered. That is the nub of it, what is the story of Working Title – the unique story, its individuality?


Yesterday, I asked what is the story of Working Title? I had no immediate answer, beyond repetition of all I’ve written to-date. But, now, this is an end, a moment for reflection, for the answers (which are always in the back of the book) to reveal themselves. I’ve spent the day clearing what has now been designated rubbish from the gallery. My sense of the work produced during the three months is growing, as the unique nature of each creation (the personality of the objects – the thingness of them) becomes evident, extant from the detritus of their making. Just like an archeologist I’m unearthing artworks, and they are quite extraordinary – even those I’ve been aware of over the course of the studio-workshop phase, well, they’ve taken on a purity of being, their own light. It’s a birthing process, we’re delivering these babies by Caesarean (who’d otherwise continue on fully developed in the womb of the studio). Even the artist makers who generated the work cannot fully comprehend the success, the distinct quality of their objects – it is Clive, Jo W and I who’re getting to paint a margin between the works, a respectful and legitimate separation.

The parents watch as the fledglings head to the brim of the nest, to its brink, where they `cacophony’, uncertain of flight, and they fall into flight, because their sole sense is to fly – there are those birds who will not or cannot  fly, there are those denied flight (the instinct or talent for it) – but most capture the wind under their wings and beat upon it. They are not fledgling any more, they are all they will ever be, balls of muscle, feathers, song and flight – something we’ll look at with wonder or we’ll not look at – they’re birds, the sky is filled with them – wondrous and commonplace.

To establish if WT has been a real glimpse into the process of these artists practice, I’ll need to ask them – surprising what you cogitate, kick about in your head, when you could just ask. They’ve enjoyed the experience, they’ve told me so. They’ve thanked us (which is daft, when we must thank them) because they’ve been channelled (funnelled) into making, no procrastination. I think it’s the fun they’ve had, making without real consequence – playtime. I’d categorise the last few months of the studio, ‘playtime’ (not an experiment). Next week’s exhibition presentation of the work is not a consequence, not one like exam results or any judgement. It’s a real celebration, an opportunity, we didn’t plan for there to be a show, it has made itself a reality.

It is this exhibition I’d call an experiment. It isn’t a show of exquisitely honed art (not in the conventional manner) – it’s a here-you-go, I came up with this and I’m not ashamed of it. And none of us are ashamed of it, this thing called Working Title.

The story of WT has been making. ‘Making’ something in the same way flies eat, regurgitating, slurping back up, regurgitating, re-devouring. We’ve all been flies feeding on the substance of this heap of scrap – I’ll not elaborate further on the metaphor. But everything that remains extant of the crumb leftovers of that heap are a product of re-use, re-re-evaluation, restructuring, re-consuming – and I’m referring not just to the artworks, but to the animateur asides, the contextual context and the manner & presentation of the WT exhibition.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Experiments, failures and other work…

Some of the less finished or less successful work I created…

Seventeen seconds

This piece re-organises itself every 17 seconds – the median time that a gallery visitor spends in front of each art work.

by Tom Davis

Tom Davis’s snow globe.

Its a ‘that-goes-with-that-then-that-fits-there’ sort of thing.

“I’m not artistic”, a phrase I have heard from a countless number of people. Do they judge this on their ability to figuratively paint a family portrait in oils or make a lifelike sculpture of a dancing horse, Do they believe, for some reason, that this is the only outlet for creativity? I believe that we all have something which tells us what we want from a material, that-goes-with-that-then-that-fits-there-and-that-colour-is-really-good-and-I-really-want-to-touch-that-but-I-prefer-that-pattern. Whether we see this as ‘artistic’ is subjective, but we all have the creativity to know what we want. There are processes we go through, whether we are an artist applying them to art, or simply applying them to everyday life.

Every artists in Working Title goes through a different process, I know myself from making things in my own practice that we sometimes give ourselves rules, unconsciously or consciously, some more strict than others (Now, this object will be REALLY small, I can only use ONE colour on this .) Some are there so we can purposefully disobey them, creating something simultaneously pleasing and awful, dirty and good…so wrong and so right, as a friend puts it in a review of Phyllida Barlow’s most recent exhibition,

‘Then you look up, or down; then its big, stupid and awkward – an installation in the top room was so unbelievably harsh I actually wanted to punch its stupid pointy parts in, and the colour and the gorgeously carefree way pink paint had just been slapped on to naked metal, well that was just despicable. I hated that room but it was brilliant; everything jarring and crammed in like that…’

For artist Beata Kozlowska, it is always important that her pieces are clean. Clean lines and clean shapes, as well as being literally clean, she could not bare the idea of constructing a work using a dirty chair, yet for some artists, using an object as it comes, or even going against what seems to be right (Instead of a white box, I will use this brilliantly dirty old crate as a plinth) is all part of the fun.

There is an infinite amount of points (most of which I wouldn’t like to touch upon) to consider when thinking about how an artist creates and thus ‘gets’ to an artwork, whether there has been a thoughtful step-by-step decision making process or a haphazard purposeful lack of thinking, I find it curious how even if we want a piece to be spontaneous or naive, we will always carry the baggage of pre-thinking.

If you are not familiar with the Working Title artists (successfully avoiding the barrage of tweeting, facebooking and blogging), or have never stepped into the realms of artwork created in this fashion, it is possible you will say to yourself (secretly or out loud) “This isn’t art”. I often wonder why this is, possibly the cheapness of the artwork’s materials, its recognition as something too familiar or  that its creation has come about with an apparent lack of skill. This issue is raised in ‘Make do and bend: The adhoc in sculptural practice’, an essay by Joanne Lee.

 There are huge anxieties of inadequacy [for artists], as if perhaps people fear that everyone else is doing it properly, whilst they themselves are not. Contemporary art frequently displays a rather complicated relationship with its materials and means of making; artists aren’t quite sure how to validate their practice to the non-cognoscenti when working outside an established craft tradition or with cheap, everyday materials (those employing sellotape as opposed to say, casting bronze)…such work does not easily convince those for whom some clear demonstration of technical ‘artistic’ skill is still a requirement. Of course matters are not so neatly binary…lo-fi materials are at times laboriously crafted with the kind of attention paid to costly stuff.’

As we have re-iterated, throughout our blog posts, these materials are fun, they are begging to be played with and experimented with (I bet that conjures up a few images), but perhaps this is the reason that some can’t take it seriously, It seems a bit tacky to proclaim that you have ‘creative freedom’ with these objects, but you do, and I think that is simultaneously why people are so attracted to using cheap materials (in an extremely experimental way) in their artistic practice, and why it is often seen as a waste of time (it is thrown together without any worth.)

The bits and pieces gathered from the craft bank and set aside in the visitors section of Working Title are placed there without expectation, these materials are not like a pencil waiting for a drawing, they are like a pencil waiting for you to maybe construct a strange 3D sculpture comprised completely of pencils, they are objects waiting for your decisions, as small or grand as you like. I think it takes a creative gesture on a supposedly mundane material to disprove the statement “I am not artistic”, and sometimes it is just a simple gesture that can make us realise the potential that lies in something we might often overlook.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.