Limbering up for Play Ground

The City Gallery, Leicester have asked me to lead some activities for the education programme for their upcoming exhibition Play Ground at New Walk Gallery.

At an art gallery we usually have to follow a series of rules. Don’t touch the work, don’t run, don’t shout, don’t play. Don’t, in short, have fun. We thought it would be good to try something else – this exhibition shows contemporary artists that treat the gallery like a fairground rather than a church.

I’ll be there over half term, (21st – 25th of February) and treating the time as a residency where we’ll be exploring process rather than aiming towards a particular end result.

In the spirit of starting how we mean to go on, I’ll be using this blog as an online sketchbook as I explore some initial ideas. You’re invited to join in with any constructive responses and suggestions – everything is wide open at this stage so this is your chance to influence what happens at New Walk in just over a month’s time.

To get started then, here are some of the things that will be in the exhibition that I’ll be working alongside.

Mungo Thomson – Skyspace Bouncehouse

Skyspace Bouncehouse by Mungo Thomson

Skyspace Bouncehouse is bulbous and luminous as if designed to be a comic book rendition of a log cabin for the Michelin man, and the title refers, in part, to those brightly colored, inflatable structures one might see in an urban front yard, waiting for kids to climb inside and jump until they lose their birthday cake. Thomson first created customized “bouncehouses” for the Frieze Art Fair Sculpture Park in Regent’s Park, London in 2002, where the public could freely enter and bounce. [source]

Fischli/Weiss – The Way things Go

The Way Things Go (German: Der Lauf der Dinge) is a 1987 art film by the Swiss artist duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss. It documents a long causal chain assembled of everyday objects, resembling a Rube Goldberg machine.

The machine is in a warehouse, about 100 feet long, and incorporates materials such as tires, trash bags, ladders, soap, oil drums, and gasoline. Fire and pyrotechnics are used as chemical triggers. The film is nearly 29 minutes, 45 seconds long, but some of that is waiting for something to burn, or slowly slide down a ramp.[source]

Bob and Roberta Smith – Will you make it as an artist?
Bob and Roberta Smith. Will you make it (as an artist)

Angela Bulloch – Sculpture for Football Songs (T12307)

Bulloch has made a number of works using Belisha beacons, which are more commonly used to illuminate pedestrian crossings. Here they are linked to a microphone in the gallery space and respond to sound, which initiates a sequence of flashing lights. The colours of the lights reflect the colours of the West Ham football strip, and the work’s title suggests that football anthems are a particularly appropriate trigger to speed up the light display. The unpredictable interactive element of this work is typical of Bulloch’s practice. [source]

That’s a small flavour. There will also be work by Cory Arcangel, Takashi Murata, Chris Marker, Hassan Hajjaj, Erwin Wurm, Marcel Duchamp, Annika Ström and Martin Creed. …And doings by me – we’ll find out more about what they could be over this series of posts.