On April 16th I’m going to a talk about Art & Class the event by Into a better shape, which is to be chaired by artist Rebecca Chesney, I for one can’t wait to hear what this panel of established artists and writers have to say about art, social class and the space in which we place art. How this engages curious minds and why social class plays a part in the experience of gazing at the work of artists past and present.
For me this is something that I have been exploring for some time, I’ve put my work in cafes, pubs and galleries, I’ve even conducted my own experiment with a Van Gogh painting, (obviously not a real Van Gogh) placing it in several public locations in Leeds city centre waiting for some sort of observation or conversation to start around the painting. What I found was those who engaged were children that recognised the painting, remarking that they’d seen it in before or even that they knew who the painting was by (even though the artist of this replica remains unknown) but in doing this experiment I learnt that space in which we see a Van Gogh adds value to what makes us stop and pay attention
I remember seeing my first Van Gogh painting ‘Sunflowers’ at the national gallery, I recall the space being very prestige, you can hear the echo of quiet chatter, each footstep. The walls grey and the work vibrant, with a small placard placed to the side with a tiny bit of information about this incredible work of art.
There’s a sense that you’re in space which is very secure, the protection of copyright of a dead artist, the gallery assistant sit’s in the corner and observes the people in the room, there’s a tension between me the painting and the person watching me, planning to steal the painting, I mean admiring this work of art, how and why this tension created I’m unsure, maybe I’m out of my depth, maybe this place is too classy for me?
Salford Thursday 28th March, my friends Hannah & Maria have got their art on display at the working man gallery, so off I go to sunny Salford too see what they’ve put on, the address I’ve got written down is 473 Liverpool Street, Salford M6 5QQ. I jump on the Metrolink – Eccles (blue line), get off at Langworthy a couple of stops after media city walk over the Motorway bridge take a left onto Liverpool rd, and within 5mins I’m standing outside a two up two down terrace house in Salford, I know I’m here as there’s a sign in the front bedroom window saying Working man gallery!
What can I say What space what an engaging place, an open door in the middle of the community, a place full of creatives, people from as far as Sweden and Berlin and the hosts themselves from Estonia, I briefly got to meet a couple of the hosts, and a few of the other guests, a very busy night. I got to walk around the gallery space and have a look at both Maria & Hannah’s Photography, film projections, tapestry and collages, followed by a performance by the band they’re in Dream English Kid which Liam is also a member adding to the dreamy ethereal feel of the night, an immersive art exhibition, in an immersive space breaking all the rules and crossing all the imaginary boundaries
Well done to all involved, I can’t wait to return, I would love to create a photo documentary on the house and the people involved in setting up the gallery, hopefully that will happen, if so watch this space, in the meantime please have a look at my photographic response to the night, it isn’t a usual documentation, its more of an emotive dreamy response, also links to all that I’ve mentioned in this post are down below;-