Labour of Love Caroline Jupp!labour-of-love/cee5

Another Labour of Love that I was not aware of. A residency in London’s Queen Elizabeth Park. Escanear (1)

Artist Caroline Jupp was resident in a shed in the park for 3 months in 2014-5.!labour-of-love/cee5

Open Studios 7-8th May

This is a biannual event in my neighbourhood. Unfortunately this year it coincided with the MA2 digital subission date for written work. However I really didn’t want to miss it as I believe it is a really positive experience for everyone concerned and it also allows you to get feedback from a direct audience. Of course the display cannot be ideal and how you would really like it to be but that is understood by all. There are also dead hours (around and just after lunchtime) but you can carry on painting at those times. There are also those moments when someone loves a painting you are considering painting over and dislikes most of what you do (although they are more polite than that). It also gives you a lot of practice of talking things through and at times see your work in a new light.

The most interesting conversations I had were about the work in the streets which people had seen and realised it was mine. They were all a bit disappointed it had lasted such short amounts of time as some lived very close to it. I also discovered that the ‘work’ roles need to be very clear in the street aIMG_0882rt. The visual language of the street is quite different to that of the gallery or more typical art space. The woman on the phone for example is  ambiguous and looks like she might be an executive. I always felt that she was probably a mother / sex worker who possibly did some cleaning etc… However that ambiguity probably doesn’t work or at least does not fit in with the rest of the project.

I also showed the bed frame piece upright which made a great space divider and, although still unfinished I continued to work on it during the weekend.

Lastly I would like to get in touch with some more of the artists on the route as soon as MA submission of actual work is over. I know a few of them but not well and it is an excellent way of meeting artists who are working in my area. There are a lot of new studios which have opened since 2014.

Back to submitting….


Spidertag – street to gallery?


Spidertag is mainly known for his ‘spider’s webs’ which he makes in public places using nails and wool. What is special about the work is that these ‘webs’ using wool are often in abandoned buildings and have a special textural materiality to them. I respond to both the sites and the textures. I know the work mainly through videos in which an assistant videos him making the work on site. There is also a great variety of still digital images of this work online.

Last week he opened an exhibition in a local gallery so I went along to see how he would deal  with the street to more traditional space. The gallery, Swinton & Grant, has a reputation for working with street artists and I have recently been trying to make a relationship with them and @laborolove via twitter with only moderate success so far. The gallery is a very typically white but certainly no cube. It is downstairs beneath a bookshop/bar. The pieces would actually have been at home in a white cube. Although the materials suggest a connection to the artist’s history, wood from palettes and the signature wool and nails, the site responsive nature is totally lost and the objects, whilst aesthetically pleasing, have an almost art for art’s sake quality. The objects are pleasing to look but they have lost something and most barely interact with the space.

spidertag swinton and grant

There was one of Spidertag’s videos of the site specific making playing on a screen, however this was largely being ignored as it was almost hidden under the stairs. Maybe Spidertag’s site specific work responds only to the formal qualities of the site and therefore the gallery site is what it is, a shop? In the exhibition text he is very clear about the interest in abstraction, geometry and colour and makes specific reference to balance, straight lines and diagonals. This suggests that his interaction with forgotten places and abandoned villages might be aesthetic rather than interest in the abandonment. One of the main reasons I was drawn to this work was his choice of sites and the weight of their pasts. 

This exhibition raised several questions for me and my own practice, some of which are related to the points I mentioned in my post about Blu. The first is about the relationship of the work in the site and in the gallery site – to what extent can it retain the ideas and still be a commercial interest to a gallery. In the case of Spidertag I don’t think he is claiming to do this. I am questioning the ethics of the gallery space like many artists before me. Even galleries who represent artists who are critical of the artworld are part of it. They are essentially selling the work which criticises them or does their approval negate the criticism and expose the artist as compliant with the system.