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.

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Exhibition and Preview.

For those of you who aren’t aware, we will be having a week long show of some of the pieces created during Working Title after the making and experimenting process has ended.

The Preview will be on the 30th September from 6-8 pm, and the exhibition will then run from the 1st-9th October. 

If you have visited aspex during the process of Working Title, it will be an opportunity to view some of the creations in a junk-free environment (Ironic considering the materials the artwork’s are comprised of.) Being able to view the processes that these artists go through, then viewing the works as pieces on their own should prove to be an interesting comparison.

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Kickstarting, Fishing, Participating

We’ve three artists in the gallery, being exhibited. As technician at aspex, I’m used to artists playing some part in the installation of their work – after the preview, they go away. In a way, this show is all installation – a prolonged transformation of the space – a slow-slow reverse striptease, ending up fully dressed. Still, Will, Andy and Paul (who are kickstarting Working Title) have spent the day doing what most artists do on day one in the gallery, they’ve been nesting. They’ve burrowed into the junk pile that’s accumulated in the space, nabbing what makes sense to them (no obvious squabbles, yet), and they’ve each defined themselves a space/den. Paul’s filming an expanding grid of stuff, a complex hopscotch chalked on the gallery floor with offcuts of MDF, bowls and wind-up toys. Will’s surrounded himself with toolboxes, he’s constructing a fishing rod – not a cane with string and a nappy-pin hook, no – it looks worthy of J.R. Hartley. Andy’s made his encampment right in amidst the scrap, using a tv stand for a seat and an upturned chest-of-drawers as a desk. Something’s happening, but what it is, well, I don’t know. It all seems to make sense to Andy, Will and Paul – which is the only sense you can expect of them right now.

Amazingly, the scrap heap of materials has shrunk from, well, heaps to scraps. So, please, bring us your ‘unwanted’ – gift the ‘done with’ or ‘done for’ with a new lease of ‘possibility’. Everything is latent, and the artists we’ve got working here are expert at tapping that latency. If you’ve any old vhs equipment or cassette tapes and players, old speakers, record players – old wool, cardboard boxes from domestic appliances, lamps, old computer hardware – anything really – bring it to us, become a genuine part of the process. The making of art is always so distant, secreted away in studios, in the mind’s eye of the maker: this is an opportunity to observe the journey from play to definition to object. Ask those questions you’ve never had the chance to – why have you done that? What is it you’re doing? What did you mean to occur? What? This isn’t an exhibition, it’s a show – though the artists aren’t performers, in this context they are. You, as visitor, as participant, become a principal too. You can demonstrate you’re own sensibilities by creating a work with the makeshift materials in the Interactive Area in the gallery space. There’s no hierachy in this show – everyone starts on an equal footing, with a load of old rubbish.

The experience of Working Title will be a plastic one – the makings of one artist seeping into those of another – sudden displays of ‘something’ bursting forth from ‘something else’. It’ll change with the weather, day by day – nothing is forever. So visit us a few times, as many times as you can. Bring your junk, bring yourselves, bring an inquiring mind. Participate.

The beginning of the middle.

After having a search in the shed and collecting a box of unwanted plumbing paraphernalia, I took a trip to the ‘Bring and Bye’ weekend at aspex to add to their every-growing collection of donated household goods. The variety of objects is incredibly visually pleasing, and to add to it and know that these items could become an integral part of an artwork is an opportunity not to be missed.

The items are varied, but still pre-chosen and dictated by visitors and organised collections. It is interesting how this completely open-ended task, with no fixed ideas of outcomes, is still bound by its materials, even though the possibilities created are infinite. And with these infinite possibilities, an object will always carry its baggage with it, in any state it is transformed into. It will always tell a story about its previous life, and the viewer will always place this object is some sort of memory.

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I thought I would try to track a few of these plumbing pieces throughout the process, they could be lost in a simple artistic experiment, or perhaps be sold as part of a sculptural piece, either way they have extensive possibilities ahead of them. Perhaps the most important uncertainty is whether an artist or visitor will use them, I am hoping for both, and am especially interested in visitors reactions to the materials put in front of them.

Today begins the process of artists being in the space, starting with Will Cruickshank, Paul Matosic and Andy Parker, don’t forget to stop in at the gallery during this time (9th July- 25th September) to watch the evolution of ideas and artwork. Take a look here for a full list of artists that are involved in ‘ Working Title’. You can also follow us on Twitter.

The indeterminate object.

Items are beginning to accumulate in Gallery one already, with the space divided loosely into 3 areas, it is starting to take shape. With an area for the artists to create their artworks, a space for materials, and a visitors area, there is a real sense of the space just waiting to progress further, wanting movement and flux.

‘If asked, then: What kind of transformation actually occurs when the everyday object is recontextualised as part of, or the whole of, an art object? I would reply: none. The artist’s work is to engage with alchemical transformation. What occurs is a new entry in a kind of socialised dictionary of art forms. Actual transformation is neither sought or accomplished, but rather an object which we might term ‘indeterminate’ is allocated a new definition, where it rests in uneasy temporary repose.’

Nicholas de Ville, ‘The indeterminate object theorized and the discursive plastic form’, 1993

Bring and Bye.

Saturday 9th- Sunday 10th July, 11am-5pm

Do you have any unwanted domestic goods that you would like to give a new life to?

aspex invites you to donate these objects to be used in our new exhibition, where selected artists and visitors are invited to use these materials to create new and exciting artworks.

Bring along these unused and beyond repair items and see these cast-offs transformed over the course of ‘Working title’.

Please note we are unable to take fridge freezers, mattresses, cookers and other large scale domestic items as these are difficult to dispose of.

Nicola Dale, Fly kim deal 2009