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Issue 13Autumn 2012
£3.00 (UK)$4.60 (Australia)
Zine orders: ta[email protected]. Also available at Sticky Institute, Melbourne
Back issues can be viewed at Issue.com
tangent is independently produced on an irregular basis and resides with TangentProjects, an independent platform for collaboration and project development.
Further information: tangentprojects.org
All contributing artists’ work in the form of text/images is copyright by the artist credited.
All other content ©Karen Ay 2012. All Rights Reserved.no stealing allowed; hey, make up your own ideas FFS - after all, we have.
Front coverSteve Smith, London Stone - Foundation (detail) (2010) London Stock brick fragments; variable dimensions, time based
Back cover Robin Tarbut, Data Blocks Print (2011)Collograph, 42x35cm; edition of 12
Cuts to arts funding are at an all-time high, many spaces are closing or have done already, studio rents are ridiculous and frankly, we are not ‘all in this together’.
The economy sucks to put it, well, economically.
With that in mind, we have selected a range of work that, for one reason or another, resonated with the term ‘economy’.
Whether it’s a nod to sustainability via choice of materials, an economic use of space, scale of work or a social comment, one thing is certain and that is this:
As artists we may be economically challenged but we are never bankrupt of imagination.
Inside in no particular order
Russell HerronRobin TarbetSteve Smith
Danny PocketsPak Sheung Cheun
also . . . Nicholas Sharp
answers 10 QuestionsSteve Smith shares his Not so private View
Karen Ay adds some random thoughts
and imagesand tangent lists
some stuff we like
The largest percentage of recent Arts Council funding cuts - almost 25% in fact - have been in the visual arts. Is there light
at the end of the austerity tunnel?
I think we have to create our own.
Russell Herron, Capgras Syndrome (2012)
IN recent times the edges of society have come more into focus, the global economic collapse has brought the stark realities of poverty closer to many than they thought possible, the gap between rich and poor has widened in the UK more aggressively in the past 30
years than any other of its fellow OECD states. In times of prosperity the plight of the poor, the overlooked and socially marginalised remained isolated from view. As salaries are squeezed further in those echelons of society that were once removed from such realities and as the global north continues to see wealth polarised and less integrated into the social fabric of our societies we see the deterioration of the physical architectural spaces that surround us. The margins of our society continue to be neglected as investment is removed, Capitalism relies on growth and as capital contracts or is removed our urbanised environments reflect our diminished circumstances.
As societies are housed increasingly into highly urbanised areas with 50% of the global population housed in urban zones we see the phenomenon of rural depopulation and city growth with capital and wealth absorbed into these growing cities. However, as wealth polarises in society so does its reflection in the physical world become starkly focussed. The edges of our city are where the less wealthy reside and consequently the lack of investment that comes with economic contraction manifests itself at the social and physical edges of our society.
Art and literature are increasingly concerned with such spaces and as the natural world encroaches and reclaims the man made environment artists depict these changing environments to capture the poetic nature of this change of our material environment. The extent to which this change is now evident and increasing is noticeable when institutions such as the Fitzwilliam Museum choose to curate an exhibition entitled and showing artist responses to these ‘Edgelands’.
The combination of the work of artists George Shaw and Michael Landy in the small Shiba exhibition space within the Fitzwilliam Museum is a gentle, unassuming insight into these transitional urban zones of change. Many terms have been coined to explain these spaces, from Will Self’s evocation of ‘Interzones’ and the much used description of these environments as ‘Liminal’.
In the hands of George Shaw’s series of prints entitled ‘The Appointment’ these edges are depicted as empty, greying, melancholic territories. The architecture of these suburban areas in Shaw’s prints of his home The Hill Estate in Coventry remind us that the Ghost Town of the early ‘80’s that Shaw’s fellow Coventrians The Specials informed us of can easily be resurrected by similar economic and political factors some 30 years later. In the twelve prints which detail views Shaw encountered on 12 short walks around his home estate we can imagine the reality of these factors and their physical manifestation in our built environment. We see leafless woodland abutting lifeless mid-century suburban housing and the leaves of bushes encroaching through a fence into a path, the edges of nature hemming us between its reclamation of this edgeland and the adjacent warehouse or garages. A simple image of a wall that depicts a zone that appears neither garden, estate or wilderness becomes the fullest visual expression of ‘edgeland’.
This proximity of nature and its infiltration into our man made environment is a slow but relentless reminder of the fragility of our control over the physical, social spaces that house
us. In an image of an alley between two houses the gravure printing technique creates a watery, puddle effect and grey trees imply a rainy scene, a washed out image evoking washed out life. Our minds wander into a voyeuristic melancholy to the emotional life of these spaces; bored kids, adults crushed of vibrancy, the only life inside these identical houses is a humanity only assumed, unseen or barely glimpsed. This implied humanity both architecturally and socially housed on the edges is most strongly evoked by an image of garages, the evidence of life is a violent act of kicked in garage doors.
In a print entitled ‘The Terminus’ we see the end of a bus route. The end of the road is cut at the edge of the frame of the picture, an impression is created that outside the frame the road continues beyond, an impression of going somewhere but perhaps not knowing where or why. A pathway of escape without a true understanding of the journey beyond. Is it the end of the road or a road to nowhere?, The edge of something unknowable.
Michael Landy’s depictions are much more hopeful, also depicting the natural encroaching on the urban, this ‘rus in urbe’ of wild flowers are collected from between the cracks in and between paving slabs and edges of parkland around South East London at locations such as Tower Bridge Road or adjacent to the Millwall football ground. Landy has collected these specimens and fed and watered them to keep them alive to create the hard-ground etchings displayed in the exhibition. The twelve images appear similar to encyclopaedia illustrations of plants and these life size renditions show plants such as Common Toadflax, Creeping Buttercup, Shepherds Purse and Thale Cress. They are simple images, on blank white paper these depictions are isolated from their environment and presented in such a manner minor details take on a real beauty, the delicacy of the root system of a specimen of Herb-Robert and the fineness of hairs on the leaves and flower-heads of Annual Wall-Rocket contrast with our understanding of the dusty and perhaps harsh environment in which they thrive. The display of the images becomes another “edgeland” in itself, the plants appear to be reaching for something in the blankness of the page.
One is left with a feeling that Landy’s specimens are “hanging on despite” and perhaps in such harsh current social and political environments many of us also feel that we too are hanging on in troubled times but within that is the hope that thrives in Landy’s work. Despite the harshness and transience of many of these edge territories that Landy and Shaw’s works evoke, Landy’s weeds tell us of something that remains hopeful for all of us in less certain times or places, those that remain or thrive in such edgelands tell of power and hope in tenacity.
Edgelands ran from March through September 2012 at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
Tinsel Edwards, ShoeboxGiclee print on Somerset enhanced 300gsm paper, edition of 25
Pak Sheung Chuen, Ever Gain (2004)Mark Six lottery ticket
oneeyeman.blogspot.com and pakpark.blogspot.co.uk
Karen Ay, All in this Together (2010)Neon, transformer, cables; 127 x 14cmImage credit: Paul Tucker Photography
for Nicholas Sharp of The Multiple Store...Tell us a bit about the Multiple Store. How did it come about?Well I was keen to get involved in commissioning artists, having been involved in the less creative aspects of the commissioning process in my Art law practice (eg contracts and disputes!). And then I was introduced by a friend to someone (Sally Townsend) who wanted to do the same but had the idea of reviving interest in the artist’s multiple…and the rest is history!
I was lucky that I was left some money in a friend’s will which we used to launch the first 7 commissions, at the ICA, in November 1998. By then we were also receiving some support from Central Saint Martins College, where we had an office for the next 5 years.
What was the first piece of work you bought?Actually we commissioned the first seven editions at more or less the same time. The artists were Cornelia Parker, Keith Coventry, Dalziel & Scullion, Kenny Hunter, Grenville Davey, Graham Gussin, and Simon Periton. Looking back at it, I can’t quite believe we managed to launch as many as seven works on a shoestring budget, all of which I reckon have stood the test of time. And fortunately for us the artists’ reputations have grown nicely since then.
Do you think the boundaries are now blurred between ‘multiple’ and ‘edition’?Totally. No-one has come up with a satisfactory definition of the artist’s Multiple (our definition is quite broad). And if the artworld can’t agree, you can be sure that most members of the public have not got the slightest idea. We have started to resort to ‘limited edition in 3D’ but that hardly trips off the tongue…
Smartest decision in relation to the business?That’s a hard one. I’ll get back to you on that, if I may!
Worst mistake?Two actually: first, not having enough working capital and secondly, not giving enough time and attention to Marketing…
Any thoughts on the state of today’s Art Economy?It seems to be in two halves, the top end is thriving (with collectors being prepared to pay vast sums at auction for major works) and the bottom is struggling… was it ever otherwise, it just seems more extreme now.
If you could change one thing about today’s art scene, what would that be?Making it easier for less well-known artists to get opportunities to show and sell work.
Favourite non art-related thing to do?Cycling (good for contemplation) and percussion (oddly similar).
What shows have you seen recently?Bruce Lacey at Camden (our very own Dadaist), Yoko Ono at Serpentine and ‘Moments of Reprieve’ at Paradise Row (the old David Roberts Gallery)…highly recommended.
Any words of wisdom for artists?Persevere, be professional (remember you are running a business as well as producing art)… and become an AIR member of a-n The Artists Information Company (a-n.co.uk/air).
LEFT: Ackroyd & Harvey, ‘Shoal’ (2011)
Sea bream skeleton, alum crystals, perspex case, 325 x 150 x 65mm; Edition: 30
FACING PAGE: Alison Wilding, ‘Rising’ (2001)
Cast acrylic with pigment, 17 x 14 x 17 cm; Edition: 35
TOP: Robin Tarbet, Monolith - Disk Tower (2011)80cm high tower of floppy disks
BOTTOM: Robin Tarbet, Data Blocks (2011)Concrete casts from floppy disks
FACING PAGE: Robin Tarbet, Circuitboard Cityscape (2006) Photo etching on Sommerset paper; edition of 12
ABOVE:Danny Pockets, Saint Joseph of Cupertino (2010) Oil, Chinagraph, Aerosol, Shellac on Found Panel
Danny Pockets, SiNCiPUT (1992 - present day/ongoing) (Photocopied edition of 1000 each publication.)
Adapted texts. Handed out: outside tube stations; at demonstrations; outside clubs and venues; at bus stops; distributed; posted by mail; left in museums and galleries internationally and posted through domestic and corporate letterboxes.
pickapocket.org and dannypockets.co.uk
ABOVE:Steve Smith, London Stone - Foundation (2010)London Stock Brick fragments; dimensions variable, time based
The Art Newspaper
Blank Media Collective
Grrrl Zine Network
Milk Two Sugars
Smoke: a london peculiar
Stuart Hall Library
We Make Zines
LOOKING1a Space (Hong Kong)
Art Club Caucasus (Tbilisi)
Castlefield Gallery (Mancs)
Centre for Recent Drawing
Flux Factory (NYC)
Fotanian (Hong Kong)
Karin Janssen Project Space
Location One (NYC)
The Multiple Store
Para/Site (Hong Kong)
Platform Artists Group (Melbourne)
South London Gallery
Space Station 65
The Photographers Gallery
ETCA Bliss Framing
Artist First Management
Arts Jobs Listings
Richard Dawes Framing
Michael Dyer Associates
Paul Tucker Photography
Royal Geographic Society