An Interview With…

June 30, 2010

The huge importance of an exhibition setting or space has long been acknowledged by exhibition goers and emphasised by curators who pain-stakingly spend months reinventing a space in order that it best presents, supports and reflects the work on display. Itinerant art gallery Squid & Tabernacle has taken the concept a step further, deliberately avoiding the restrictive rootings of a bricks and mortar gallery location, instead finding specific locations to suit their exhibitions.

The concept of a nomadic gallery makes perfect sense, allowing the artist and curators to have even greater freedom and input into the final finish and feel of the exhibition as a whole.

You will currently find Squid & Tabernacle located in a disused shipping container just round the corner from Dalston junction Station, Hartwell Street to be exact. ‘An unlikely spot for an art gallery’ was my first thought, but apparently not. The thriving art community that exists and continues to grow in Dalston means the gallery is never short of visitors and apparently many of the other containers on the site also serve as functioning offices or community spaces.

So impressed was I by the ingenuity and logic of the Squid & Tabernacle project, I set out to meet the gallery founders Hanna Sorrell and George Major one boiling hot June evening. Despite our meeting location being an uncomfortably over heated metal box, both were kind enough to answer my questions and shed some light on the intriguing concept that is Squid & Tabernacle.

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Neon Porn? That’s fun art!

June 14, 2010

Five Marching Men, 1985

In my recent trip to Berlin I visited the National Gallery in the Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum of Modern Art. They are currently showing the first major retrospective in Berlin of the internationally famous American artist Bruce Nauman. The exhibition ‘Dream Passage’ runs from 28 May – 10 October 2010 so if you’re planning a trip to the German capital in this time, I’d really recommend a visit. This exhibition is a thoroughly dynamic, experiential immersion into modern art. Colourful, polictical and enjoyable, this was one of the best exhibitions I’ve been to in months.

Since the middle of the 1960s, Bruce Nauman has worked with a diverse range of media; his extensive oeuvre includes sculptures, films and videos, photographs, neon works, prints, installations and vocal works. This exhibition focuses predominantly on Nauman’s neon, film and architectural pieces.

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Squid and Tabernacle Take Up Residence in an East London Shipping Container

March 24, 2010

‘Nervous Wreck’ (Detail), 2010

The nomadic gallery that is Squid & Tabernacle has found a home – for a short while at least and it’s a shipping container in Dalston!

This brand new creative project is launching on Thursday 1st April exhibiting sculptural installations by artist Rachel Price. This will be the first in a series of short term exhibition in varying media and venues.

‘Facade’ (Study), 2010

The show is called ‘Planning Permission’ and will feature Price’s sculptural creations – strikingly unfeasible architectural models and hypothetical landscapes which form an uncanny analogue to the industrial landscape of their surroundings.

Price describes her work to be “driven by a dissatisfaction of our over-reliance on simulation and representation over bodily experience with the objects around us.” Her work investigates the tension between the frank and physical nature of the object and the deceptive nature of the image.

‘The Gist’ (Detail), 2010

‘Planning Permission’ (Installation detail), 2010

‘Planning Permission’, curated by Squid and Tabernacle, runs between 2nd and 23rd April 2010.

Katie Paterson: Streetlight Storm

January 28, 2010

Meeting Katie Paterson last weekend for an impromptu cup of tea and a chat in the caf at the end of Deal pier, she spoke confidently and unassumingly about her out of this world art works. To hear her describe the inspiration behind her most recent work, Streetlight Storm, it all made perfect sense – of course it’s logical to record every flash of lightening from North Africa to the North Pole and turn it into an art work in a sleepy seaside town in Kent. Perhaps not? Paterson’s limitless imagination and determination to realise her far-fetched inspirations has in the past, brought us such works as Earth-Moon-Earth (Moonlight sonata Reflected from the Surface of the Moon), which involved the transmission of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata to the moon and back and Vatnajökull (the sound of), a live phone line to an Icelandic glacier. Streetlight Storm continues this tradition of epic works, proving that space, time and technicalities are mere trifles to be swept aside for this ambitious artist.

At any one time there are around 6,000 lightening storms happening across the world amounting to some 16 million storms each year. Inspired by such dizzying statistics Paterson set about translating this natural phenomena into a poetic and beautiful artwork on Deal Pier in Kent. Harnessing everyday technology, lightening signals from as far away as the North Pole or North Africa are received by an antenna on the pier and projected as short bursts of light. As the pattern of lightening strikes changes, so the pier lights oscillate correspondingly, with a subtlety that contrasts with the power and drama of the storms they reflect.

To watch the pier by night is a genuinely magical experience with each flash anticipated with mounting tension. Every sporadic burst is accompanied by an appreciative emotional thrill and a sense of awe at the fact that somewhere out there the ominous rumbles of thunder and lightening are mounting. The work connects spectators to the vastness of the world beyond, collapsing the distance between the individual and remote meteorological events. Streetlight Storm was originally scheduled to run for one month throughout January but it is looking likely that the instalment will be extended.

Meeting the artist on Deal Pier – 23rd Jan 2010
Katie Paterson graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2007 and has recently exhibited at Modern Art Oxford, Altermodern: Tate triennial 2009, Tate Britain, Universal Code, The Power Plant, Toronto and PERFORMA 09, New York.

The All of Everything

January 16, 2010


When I first saw images in the press of this latest exhibition at University of the Arts London, I was despaerate to see it for myself. There was a particularly mad panic as the building in which the exhibition is held is due to be demolished at an unassigned date so the fate of this fantastic work hangs in the balance every day.

It’s the work of acclaimed artist Mike Ballard, held in the main exhibition space at Univeristy of the Arts London, just next door to Bond Street tube. This ambitious work turns the entire gallery space into an all-encompassing installation covering floors, walls and ceilings and is fittingly epic for the gallery’s final, pre-demolition showcase.

The artist self proclaims that his work transports “the viewer on a supersonic journey through a galaxy of hypermodern and prehistoric art”. Whether that seems OTT to you or not, it’s an undeniably impressive feat, disorientatingly stunning and immersive.

The images really speak for themself so if you’re tempted to “race back and project forward through art history…at blistering speed” then get down to University of Arts London, 65 Davies Street, while you still can! More info is available HERE.

Jill Magid: Authority to Remove

January 3, 2010

Opposite the millienium bridge, mirroring a stunning reflection of London, I find this is a really enchanting piece of work. Unfortunately the installation by Jill Magrid, in the ground floor window of Tate Modern will be removed today as it is the last day of this intriguing artist’s exhibition ‘Authority to Remove’. In her work, as can be seen in this particular piece, Magid employs Visual strategies that render text illegible in order to frustrate and perplex the viewer, yet resulting in a magical and beautiful work.

In her Level 2 exhibition at Tate Modern, Magid explores the themes of secrets and secrecy, reflecting on the emotional, philosophical and artistic relations between institutions and the individual. Today, 3rd January 2010, is the final day of the exhibition so get over there while you still can!

Artist Statements:

I Bring things that are far away in closer to my body.
Drawing over things is a way to get inside them.
I like secrets, not neccessary in their exposure but in their very existence.
To enter a system I locate the loophole.
If my subject is made of clay, I will work in clay.
If my subject id text, I may write.
If my subject is too big, I will grow.
If my subject is out of reach, I steal it in a mirror.
Repeating something helps me to perceive it. So does cutting it out.

When in love, I separate a someone from the everyone.

Isolating details os like making bubbles.
An extra becomes the protagonist after the film is made.
Without gravity we end up hovering.
What is considered banal or cliche might be hiding something.
Permission is a material and changes the work’s consistency.

Hans Op De Beeck in 798

July 26, 2009

Galleria Continua has been a renowned artistic space in Beijing’s 798 District ever since it’s opening four years ago. The gallery offers visitors the chance to view exhibitions in which international-level artists devise projects specifically for the gallery space and to reflect upon their experiences. The space has become an exciting venue for presenting artists from around the world, all the more remarkable given the comparative rarity of such ventures on the part of Western galleries.

When I visited the gallery back in April I was wowed by the work of Belgian Vi artist, Hans Op de Beeck whose exhibition, ‘Staging Silence’, featured a large scale sculptural installation (‘Location (6)’), watercolors and an animated film. The work focused deeply upon Op de Beeck’s ideas of detachment and loss of self for human beings in these post-modern times. ‘Staging Silence’ was the artist’s first solo exhibition is China.

Canon Beijing 048

Location (6) – Interior

‘Location (6)’ (pictured here), was a large sculptural installation which you had to physically enter via a long white corridor, finding yourself in an igloo-like dome, surrounded by the image of an endless snowy landscape. The installation is made up entirely of a sculpted trompe d’oeil, ingeniously combining light, shadow and artificial fog to create the impression of an infinite three dimensional scene. The experience felt like stepping into a giant, all enveloping snow-globe, mesmerisingly beautiful and tranquil. The artist’s intention was that the piece should draw the viewer’s eye inward, to a state of self contemplation.

Canon Beijing 046

Location (6) – Entrance Corridor