photos by julia waugh
This is a paradox as she first started creating artworks after leaving the Self Defense Forces in Japan because ‘the life of artists seemed so free.’ Her work since 1997 has explored the regimes of subjectivity which are imposed by society, most explicitly in her series of performance works.
Abe says of this work, ”While the job sounds boring, it was a “dream job” for young girls because it was believed then that only the most beautiful and elegant person could be assigned to be an elevator girl.”
Her more recent works continue to explore disquieting routines that provoke anxiety and touch us in ways we cannot explain. In Cut Papers Abe invites the audience to experience an intimate space in which the constant snipping of scissor blades is the only measure of time passing. At A Foundation Liverpool Abe will perform for the duration of the Biennial but be warned Abe says. “My work is neither beautiful nor meditational.” Rather it is an aesthetic paradox that locates the artist at the center of a field of reciprocal subjectivity, she is an object of the gaze that returns the subject to themselves by activating a feedback loop.
Cut Papers is a series of works that create a surplus of meaning within an apparently simple aesthetic economy. It is this scenic space of perception and production that is the focus of the work. Abe will present the performance in an environment of large scale sculptural interventions in the Furnace gallery and a new large scale drawing work produced during her 2010 residency with A Foundation funded by the Pola Foundation. An intricate graphic weave produced by intensive durational periods of drawing which might be best apporached through the dimension of the fold as expressed by French Philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Like Cut Papers Abe’s drawings invite us to contemplate the intensity of ideas which accumulate and are disseminated in the transformation of a white sheet of paper into medium of communication.
A Voyage across the Mersey.
He will also present a new commission for the Liverpool Biennial. This new work will be the building of a vessel in the gallery of A Foundation Liverpool and an inaugural voyage. The Bark is a boat made from ancient bark collected from the floor of the forest. It has both metaphorical and material qualities. It can transport us from the place of origin to somewhere else far away. In this story the bark will be transported by boat from Finland to England and then made into a vessel that will transport the artist on a voyage across the Mersey.
Antti Laitinenworks across idioms of performance, video and photography in a collective mission to stage mythologies and erase the boundary between success and failure through a trajectory of personal endurance and almost delusional imagination. Laitinen takes us beyond the normal realms of the world into a new reality at once both innocent and yet haunted by the knowledge of our contemporary ecological crisis. He encapsulates an artistic vision that explores the imperfect resolution of the world when faced with the sublime limits of our imagination.
He says of his work: “It is more important to struggle for your dreams than succeeding in them.” The crtitic Peter Suchin suggests; “The term “authentic” is so deeply embedded in the ideology of the artist that to suggest Laitinen moves away from the special world that this word implies may seem to some a heretical assertion. It is, rather, a point of criticality to raise questions around received ideas about art and the special status of the artist, and in this respect Laitinin’s work is, surprisingly, a type of realism. The more absurd it looks, the more real, in a certain sense, it is, a man like any other man carrying out in a painstaking fashion extremely demanding tasks.”
For A Foundation Laitinen will present a survey of keys works from the last decade of his performances including, the It’s My Island trilogy, Bare Necessities, Untitled and Walk the Line among others.
Antti Laitinen has exhibited extensively internationally including; NETTIE HORN, London, UK, 2009; Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark, 2010; Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland, 2010;; Athens Biennial 2009 and most recently in England with a video of his performance work, It’s My Island exhibited in Earth at GSK Contemporary, Royal Academy of Arts.
New Contemporaries is proud to announce it will return to A Foundation, Liverpool, this autumn. Opening on the 18 September and featuring the work of 49 artists across a range of media, the exhibition provides a unique opportunity to engage with new practice and ideas from across the UK.
Established in 1949, New Contemporaries is an important and highly regarded annual initiative that gives art students and recent graduates essential support and recognition at a crucial stage in their development through a high-profile exhibition.
Participants are selected by a panel comprised of influential arts figures, predominantly artists - often who have themselves previously been a part of New Contemporaries - and through a rigorous process that is open, fair and democratic.
“Since the Liverpool Biennial began in the year 2000, New Contemporaries has always launched at the A Foundation. This year, 2010, we are delighted to be continuing this tradition with such a vibrant and vital selection of artists who all remind us how visual art can be.” — Rebecca Heald, Director, New Contemporaries
Exhibition continues its tour to the ICA, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 26 November 2010 – 16 January 2011: www.ica.org.uk
Photos by Minako Jackson
"We had a good time at the Wrong Love alternative Valentine happening last Saturday night at the A Foundation, the only problem being as we left before midnight and it went on until 3am we obviously missed a lot of the live action.
I liked what we saw though including the big cardboard tent that seemed to be a sort of homage to Cowboys and Indians, a tunnel of love with messages on heart-shaped stickers. Liverpool artist, Jayne Lawless (http://www.jaynelawless.co.uk) created an interesting installation using 86 pairs of tights, adding femininity to this masculine building".
Minako Jackson & Ian Jackson
For his first exhibition at the gallery, Coates has absented himself from the gallery, displaying only the material peripherals of these performances. We are presented with the questions asked and answers offered, as well as the costumes and objects used to facilitate the exchange, displayed like anthropological artefacts of a strangely familiar culture. The questions and answers are translated and transcribed during each performance, the handwriting indicating a sense of urgency behind each social, political or personal problem addressed. The objects have been collected, adapted and reused over years, bridging the utilitarian and the symbolic, the everyday and the mythical. Several pairs of glasses bound together become a mask and a mode of seeing beyond the immediate; lemon juice produces a soured, contorted face, which, in some shamanic traditions, increases the chance of admittance to the grotesque realm of the spirits.
Essences of London was a year-long project involving the London Boroughs of Brent, Hackney, Lambeth, Newham and Tower Hamlets. The aim was to create a composite portrait of London by capturing essences of city life through the sense of smell. Hundreds of Londoners were interviewed about their personal smell associations, including workers in 'aromatic trades' such as cobblers, fishmongers, florists, bakers and refuse collectors.
Like a road trip into the atriums of the heart, or a song whose first chords fill you with sweet despair... the quiet power of Leslie Hill and Helen Paris's performance lies in its low-key directness, its quirky juxtapositions and its understanding of the geography of loneliness and the myth of return.
Helen Paris and Leslie Hill have been working together as Curious for the past twelve years. In that time, they have made over forty projects in a range of disciplines including performance, installation, publication and film. The work is global and domestic: sometimes large, sometimes small in scale. Intimacy and a shared sense of encounter with an audience is always an important element.
Helen and Leslie called their company Curious because what drives them as artists is an intense curiosity about the world in which they live. Each of the projects starts with a question; What is the relationship between smell and memory? What do you long for and where do you belong? What is lost and what is found in places undergoing rapid regeneration and change? What are gut feelings?
photos by Graham Gaunt and Julia Waugh