Thursday, 15 November 2012

Liverpool Biennial v. World Event Young Artists

Liverpool: 242 artists in 27 locations for 72 days.

Nottingham: 1000 artists in 37 locations for 10 days.

Having been lucky enough to have attended both these major art events within the last few months, I feel that there are several comparisons to be made between the two. Maybe the Liverpool Biennial would be been a completely different experience had I been a exhibiting artist as I was for the World Event Young Artists (WEYA) in Nottingham, but both depended on the viewer or participant giving a lot of time, energy and dedication to seeing the ‘whole’ thing rather than just a snippet.

I have heard first hand from the people who only managed a ‘snippet’ of both, and the story was not good. They felt that the promises made in advertisements and general hype around the event was far more than what it actually delivered. I can see how this can be true. In order to fully appreciate the Biennial or the World Event you had to be prepared to immerse yourself in the art. Don your best walking shoes; make sure you packed a waterproof coat (and sun-cream – always living in hope); camera; event leaflet/guide; and some food… after all I am talking about long days here. Oh, and for me it helped if you took a friend along for the ride. It’s always great to have conversations about what you have just seen, whether it be positive, negative or indifferent.

For the World Event Young Artists the organisers made sure the artists were in the city for the full 10 days of the festival. This certainly helped enrich our experience. There was nothing else to do except throw yourself into seeing and doing. Every morning was spent walking around the city intentionally searching for or stumbling upon venues hosting the visual art side of the event. I normally managed between 3 and 5 a day; so much depended on how close together in proximity the galleries or spaces were. In the afternoon workshops were programmed or a matinee of a performance was attended (musical/theatrical/other). The evening was spent eating with new friends made at the event and going to another performance (mainly at Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham Trent University or Market Square). The days certainly went quickly as they were action packed. Although we were all rather tired towards the end of the 10 days – everyone knew it was totally worth it.

Liverpool Biennial opened on the last day of WEYA, meaning sadly I couldn’t get to the Biennial launch events (instead I was at the WEYA wrap party at Nottingham Contemporary – ah-hem). I did however; make the short un-arduous journey from Manchester to Liverpool once I got home form the World Event. One day is not enough to see a Biennial that is for sure. I went back for second day of Biennialing – and I really packed it in. Unfortunately I didn’t even touch on The Independents really – only making it to one: the Fallout Factory, which is a great little space that I intend to visit again. The guys running the space were friendly and enthusiastic about what they were planning, although I couldn’t help feel at only two months old, they had a lot to contend with and lots to learn still. Fallout Factory reminded me of Surface Gallery in Nottingham – very similar size space, run voluntarily and pretty central within the city.

The use of interesting spaces and usually not accessible for the general public were used as venues in both. In Liverpool there was notably Liverpool John Moores University Copperas Hill Building (old Royal Mail sorting Office), The Cunard Building and The Munro which were exciting for me (as a nosy parker) to explore and encouraged me to think how I, as a site-specific installation artist, might make work and respond to that space. At the World Event I was charmed by Primary, an artist’s studio and gallery facility that has been transformed from an old primary school, as the name suggests. If I were a Nottingham-based artist I would crave a studio space there. It is THE most exciting space I have seen for a long time. Other studio’s were used as venues in the Biennial and World Event: The Royal Standard in Liverpool and Backlit and One Thoresby Street in Nottingham… All places where you could see there were artist communities and spaces available to make work of all scales. For these venues to be used in the two events seemed natural.

As well as studios, bigger, more established gallery spaces were taken over by participating/selected artists. Conventional gallery spaces in Liverpool such as: Tate Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, Victoria Gallery & Museum, The Bluecoat and FACT were used (some successfully, other less so – a nod to the Bluecoat here is necessary as there Biennial exhibition was a triumph). The Tate pulled out old pieces from their permanent collection much to my disappointment, for me this wasn’t in keeping with the ethos of the Biennial – of bringing new ideas, work and artists to the city. They surely have more budget than the artist-lead spaces to curate and develop a special exhibition – yet it was the smaller galleries that were pushing themselves and introducing us into international or lesser-know artists. Bravo to them.

In Nottingham a slightly different story – every venue was taken over by WEYA artists – an eclectic mix of national and international artists with varying levels of craftsmanship, age and experience were all exhibited side-by-side. Nottingham’s best-known galleries were used, including: Bonington Gallery (where my work was), Lakeside Arts Centre (where Alana’s work was), New Art Exchange, Nottingham Castle and the Lace Market Gallery. The decision to exhibit our work in these type of venues made by the galleries and event organisers was refreshing, and allowed us as artists to be taken as seriously as other more prestigious names.

I thoroughly enjoyed both and am glad I made the effort to attend. For both the World Event and Liverpool Biennial there was a real buzz created on social media and within my artistic circles. I am so glad that I gave both the time they deserved. As a participating artist in WEYA, I know how important it felt that people were making the effort to go search out your work in a city full of things to explore.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Press Release: ' The Div/sion of Power' Exhibition




Adopting its title from a governmental blueprint to define the separation or division of power between constitutional authorities to establish a balance within the body politic. Reference is made to the separation of powers; within this context we define the roles as artist-curator- institution- audience.

After splitting the practice of curation and of exhibitions themselves, the exhibition represents the idea of a gallery reinstated. Fletcher Moss Art Gallery (Didsbury Parsonage) was once a branch of Manchester City Art Gallery. At its peak Fletcher Moss Art Gallery exhibited works of Goya, Lowry, Turner and other eminent artists of the time. Fletcher Moss Art Gallery closed its doors for the last time in the late 1980’s, the space since languishing in the care of the local authority.

The Institute of Temporary Art in association with Higgins & Renshaw presents the idea of Fletcher Moss Art Gallery returning. The ‘temporary’ notion of exhibitions within contemporary society in many ways exemplifies the relationship of curatorial practice (within the four stages stated) as having fluidity.

The exhibition challenges the audience and the artists, providing the opportunity for them to reappraise and reconsider the nature of conventional exhibition etiquette. IOTA will present work by over 40 artists, which is specifically commissioned to respond to the space and its environs.

‘The Division Of Power is an exhibition that aims to examine the very nature of curatorial practice. In many ways it is a research methodology, which we are presenting to the public. The discussion about curatorial practice is a key topic, which is seemingly becoming a catalyst for debate and intrigue in this area.

The exhibition can be viewed as a complete examination of institutional critique in its presentation. This exhibition has been developed to shine a spotlight on the four key stages involved in the process of curating this exhibition. The artist, curator, institution and audience become part of a wider conversation about the very nature of Fletcher Moss Art Gallery, and by extension all artistic institutions’.



PREVIEW: 16TH NOVEMBER 2012. TIME: 17:00 – 21.00



Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Autumn Newsletter... Coming up 2013!


Below is a quick update of various exhibitions and events that I am involved with in next few months and into the new year. Exciting times ahead!



Institute of Temporary Art

Div/sion of Power
Opening 16th November
Exhibition runs from 17th - 25th November

Liz West will be part of 'The Div/sion of Power' exhibition, curated/hosted by the Institute of Temporary Art at Didsbury Parsonage Trust. West will be making a new performance work on the opening night... don't miss it!

West states, "As a live performance I want to arrange my vast collection of single-coloured objects inside Didsbury Parsonage. I will respond to the space around me when assembling my collection. After I have finished my arrangement (using my own systems) I will open the work up for public engagement. I would like other people to arrange my collected objects using their own invented systems. Others could potentially use alternative spaces, tactics and select or deselect objects. This work questions how we each make choices, selections and categorise the everyday. Using found objects (recognisable from the world around us), each person reinvents the objects’ identity by including it in this ever-evolving work."  

Fletcher Moss Art Gallery
Didsbury Parsonage
Stenner Lane
M20 2RQ



Opening 25th January
Exhibition runs from 26th January - 24th February 2013

Liz is pleased to announce that she will be part of FOUR, an exhibition of four new commissions specifically created for the Cornerhouse show including work by Tristram Aver, Nicola Ellis, Kate Sully and Liz West. Curated and developed by Cornerhouse’s Young Curators team, three talented people from the Greater Manchester region, FOUR will feature inspiring and thought-provoking art that has been carefully selected from over 600 international applications.

West's new work will reference the domestic, presenting the vessel of a second-hand wooden wardrobe allowing the viewer a glimpse through the partially open doors. Inside, a video work will be mirrored to infinity, creating an immeasurable landscape within the wardrobe, alongside an endless expanse of single-colour objects that will glimmer and entice audiences to look further. The piece will continue the artist’s investigation into the use of physical constructs to experience the viewer’s own emotional and psychological relationships with colour.

70 Oxford Road
M1 5NH


WEYA After Ours

Liz West (UK) and Alana Tyson (Canada/UK) met at World Event Young Artists (WEYA) in Nottingham as two participating visual artists. After spending 10 days together at WEYA, they formed a close friendship and joint interest in the future of each other's careers. Both share many interests, one being obsessive behaviour, which is often implemented in the making of their work.

Liz and Alana intend to share their thoughts post WEYA on this blog: explaining how the World Event has helped them, discussing future exhibitions/works and inviting other WEYA artists to guest blog and join in the fun.


Revolutionary Sculpture Book

By Jac Scott
Published in 2014

Liz West is delighted to announce that she has been selected for inclusion in a new publication written by award winning artist and an associate of the Royal British Society of Sculptors; Jac Scott. ‘Revolutionary Sculpture: New Attitudes in Mixed-Media Art’ will be a visual feast featuring 30 international artists. The book will be published by The Crowood Press Ltd in 2014. 

Other artists selected are: Andre Woodward, Catherine Bertola, Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva, Liliana Porter, Mary Giehl, Marilene Oliver, Pascale Pollier, Kate MccGwire, Niko Neelova, Michael Shaw, YaYa Chou, Yuebin Gong, Peter Freeman, Paul Moss, Rachel Allen, Eliza Bennett, Awst & Walther, Andrew Burton, Noam Ben-Javov, Ricardo O'Nascimento, Stelios Manganis, Mark Houghton, Janet Curley-Cannon, Cath Keay, Liz West, David Alesworth, Dorcas Casey and Andrea Hasler.

Monday, 5 November 2012

'The Div/sion of Power' Exhibition at Fletcher Moss Art Gallery

I will be part of this exciting exhibition 'The Div/sion of Power' curated by the Institute of Temporary Art at Didsbury Parsonage. I will be doing a performance work on the opening night... don't miss it! 

"As a live performance I want to arrange my vast collection of single-coloured objects inside Didsbury Parsonage. I will respond to the space around me when making my arrangement. After I have finished my arrangement (using my own systems) I will open the work up for public engagement. I would like other people to arrange my collected objects using their own invented systems. Others could potentially use alternative spaces, tactics and select or deselect objects. This work questions how we each make choices, selections and categorise the everyday. Using found objects (recognisable from the world around us), each person reinvents the objects’ identity by including it in this ever-evolving work."

Hosted by the Institute of Temporary Art at Fletcher Moss Art Gallery (M20 2RQ)
Preview is on Friday 16 November 2012, 17:00 to 21:00. Performance by Kathryn Edwards.
Open from Saturday 17th November to Sunday 25th November 11:00 to 16:00