Posts Tagged 'art'

Funeral Procession for the Death of Public Services Manchester Mule Article

After my talk at the funeral, I was interviewed by Manchester Mule (click for the full article). This is an exerpt:

Louise Woodcock, a local artist speaking at the event, said to MULE that the cuts show that the government “doesn’t value art, and are just focusing on things that make money, rather than things that might be meaningful and valuable in other ways.

“We need more meaningful activities and more meaningful forms of communication to make sense of the world, especially when things are difficult – art is how we do that, so at a time like this it’s an essential thing to have in our lives.”

Rosanne Robertson, organiser of the Manchester Artists Bonfire, said the purpose of the event had been partly to bring together artists and other groups of people fighting against the cuts, saying that their concerns “all tie into the same thing: we’re not happy with the way things are and we need an orchestrated response.”

My talk focused on broad ideas about funding for the arts. I discussed the Coalition proposition that we are to accept that the arts should be one of the first things to be cut and that we all have to tighten our belts in this time of recession. I discussed the fact that we are being asked to believe that it’s our responsibility, the people on the street, to make sacrifices to help the ruined economy, not the people who caused the damage. I discussed how the Roosevelt government during the Great Depression in the US during the 1930’s poured money into the arts and other public services. I talked about how the American art establishment and economy is still reaping the benefits of movements like Abstract Expressionism which could not have thrived without early support from the ‘New Deal‘ strategy. I discussed the fact that Orson Welles Macbeth, featuring black actors in lead roles from Harlem would not have happened. I discussed the need for art in our lives especially at a time when we have little resources and feel an urgent need to communicate and to express ourselves, to make sense of the world.

Rosanne Robertson’s talk focused more on the local issues around the cuts especially to the Greenroom and the Castlefield Gallery who are both about to lose all their arts council funding. Rosanne also discussed the need we have for art in a broad sense as well as locally.

Womb performed after Rosanne and I spoke. We used Indian Singing Bowls, used the coffins as percussion and wailed. This was Rosannes first performance with us. Rosanne played the stylaphone. The mood felt sombre but celebratory. There was a definite feeling of positivity, of not of giving up. Someone joined in on a trumpet playing the Funeral March and people clapped along with us.

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Funeral Procession for the Death of Public Services

There will be a funeral precession for the death of our public services on the day of the Royal Wedding, Friday 29th April at 12.30pm. Rosanne Robertson and I will be giving a talk about the cuts to the arts from our own perspectives. Please RSVP to the Facebook event. You must wear funeral attire as a symbolic gesture.

Exhibition: A Map of You at Text Festival, Bury.

I am over the moon to announce I have been asked to exhibit some of my collage series, ‘Leftovers’ at the Text Festival in Bury, Greater Manchester. This is from the site:

The Text Festival in Bury is an internationally recognised event investigating contemporary language art (poetry, text art, sound and media text, live art). Opening on 29 April 2011, the next Festival will be its third manifestation and run into July.

Against the background of global stylistic multiplicity, the use of language spans many artforms and may even be a unifying field of enquiry, a new definition and a new field of international linguistic art practice and dialogue. The Bury Festival is the leading focus of language in 21st Century art.

The Festival specialises in experiments, in new experiences, in performances and exhibitions that mix artforms in ground-breaking combinations that challenge traditional language art boundaries and offer artists a forum for dialogue and exchange of ideas.

Art Monthly commented of the Festival:

“According to Foucault, the singularities that serve
to rupture and renew normative discourse
always emerge from the interstices – in other words, where nobody is looking. Almost certainly nobody was looking
in the direction of Bury for the emergence of this significant project…”

My work will be exhibited in a show curated by Philip Davenport called A Map of You, part of the Text Festival. Tony Trehy is the overall curator of the Text Festival. The show features truly innovative writers and artists from past and present. I’m very moved to be part of it:

Bury’s newest museum opens its fascinating space and collection to interventions and installations secreted as playful gestures and paratactic commentary. The show will feature works by Matt Dalby, Márton Koppány, Liz Colini, Peter Jaeger & Kaz, Bob Cobbing, participants in the Map of You Project and many more.

Curated by:

Phil Davenport

Commissioned by:

Text Festival & Bury Transport Museum

Ticket Prices:

Adult: £2.80; Child: £1.90; Concession: £1.90;Venue:

Bury Transport Museum

Castlecroft Road

Bury

http://www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk/bury-transport-museum-2/

My pledge – Manchester Artist’s Bonfire 28th January 2011

Click for the Manchester Artist’s Bonfire site.
Details of artwork:
I will burn a red wax skull that was part of my degree show installation at University of Salford in 2009. The installation was a personal take on the vanitas still life painting tradition which used the skull to remind us of our mortality and the futility of material things, a Memento mori. I used wax because of its transient nature but used rough layers of vibrant reds to create a rock-like but visceral effect.
The installation consisted of red wax objects on a dressing table opposite a TV on static which was the only light source and its subtle hum and hiss created an intense ‘silence’. My intention was to create a past state of being, a relic of the fear and isolation I felt I had largely overcome.
Pledge:
Vanitas literally means ‘emptiness’. The skull wakes us up; it makes us feel more alive. Burning the skull will be an act of defiance against capitalism and Coalition oppression, the promise of fulfilment through buying and financial gain, manipulating our desires and creative drives to do so. I could sell the skull but instead I choose to burn it; it will be a sacrificial act. I will destroy in order to create, to make art no matter how throttled we become through poverty: by any means necessary.
The skull also represents a crippling fear of mortality I once had, although I will not/cannot abandon this fear altogether as it is vital to my drive to create. The action will be a catharsis on many levels.

Cuts to public funds will make art and artists in this country suffer, but the positive out of the negative, the antithesis to the thesis, could reconnect us with our instinctive creative ‘will’. We may become more in touch with what really moves us irrelevant of monetary concerns. Poverty can inspire, but this is not to condone the impoverishing of artists and the lack of respect this culture has for us as the cuts demonstrate. I hope that we realise we can overcome these obstacles if we maintain our individual and collective passion to create and spur each other on, if we keep on keepin’ on. I hope you will join me in the Danse Macabre.

Project Potato

I discovered a stray potato in my vegetable cupboard. I found it quite disturbing. The fur-like texture on the growths and the vein-like qualities and spiny bits are all quite unsettling. The potato part looked like the shrivelled head of some sort of creepy octopus. It was inspirational. I didn’t know what I would end up with but I knew I wanted to use it for something. I thought I would try taking a mould of it and cast it in plaster.

I knew the tentacles would be a nightmare to mould but I managed to get some tiny fragments which look quite beautiful in delicate plaster.

Manchester Artists’ Bonfire 28.1.11 – A call for pledges

The blog is up and running:

About Manchester Artists’ Bonfire

Manchester Artist’s Bonfire
Islington Mill
Friday 28th January 7-9pm
After Party 9pm until late
Submission of pledgesDeadline: Tuesday 18 January 2011.

Rule: You must burn some of your artwork.

This January a plethora of artists working in Manchester will join in a mass art burn. Artists submit their pledge to take part with a paragraph of writing related to their thoughts, feelings, responses about and reactions to this event.

This defiant symbol of dissatisfaction will act as a catalyst for change. The Artists’ Bonfire is unapologetic about the more obvious connotations such as; strike, destruction and renewal but it is also open to new interpretations, be they political or personal or both.

The pledges collected from Manchester artists will frame the event and provide the context in which we burn the art. We join in a festival of flux and celebrate it on our own terms.

A collection of extended pieces of writing will be published online and in print post event ranging from new theoretical writing to reflective accounts of the experience, providing a unique cross section of Manchester’s art scene in words. All printed material will then be expected to make its way back to the bonfire the following January where we all start again and where it will meet its end- or its beginning depending on how you look at it.

To pledge click here.

Dead Rat

I found a strangely mutilated rat while walking the dog around Hulme. I actually cried out when I saw it as I was so disturbed. It’s one of the most horrifying and fantastic things I’ve ever seen. It’s head was missing and it’s flesh was folded like a foreskin revealing much of the headless spine. I took some photos of it, I visited it a couple of times. I’ve grown very fond of this rat and have been drawing it and making objects that resemble it. I am fascinated by the abject… “No shit?”

I’m still trying to hone my watercolour techniques. It’s not easy. I’ve had some success but not much. Some of these are too careful. The freer ones work better but they still take a lot of work.

I decided to make a version of the rat using clay. I wanted to make an oversized version. I have thought about sound with it and can imagine the sound of rats scratching wood, like when you can hear them running under the floorboards. I need to do a lot of recording with live rats. I will approach some pet shops although it would be better to have the real sewer rats like the one I found.

I made a sort of armature with steel wire to support the clay.

I found that I wasn’t happy with the finish and the structure wasn’t strong enough to support the clay. I haven’t worked in this way with clay before so I have a lot to learn. I learnt that to dry clay without cracking you must dry it slowly and cover it with plastic and damp cloths (thanks Matt Dalby and Jennifer McDonald for the advice).


Louise Woodcock

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