Monday, 7 June 2010

Space In Between

Space In Between (SIB) are a curatorial collective, composed of Hannah Hooks, Laura McFarlane and Ida Champion. Having known each other since their school days, this trio set up SIB in January 2009 as a platform for emerging artists to exhibit their work. Hannah was living in what was a Victorian factory in Lower Clapton and within a month they had self-built a pristine and white exhibition space. The gallery was co-joined to a domestic setting, with the concept being to bring art and dining together and to this end they held successful dinner parties within the space for the artists in the shows. They had three shows in this space before they had to vacate the building. It is from this point that the group started to scout around for interesting disused buildings that they could use for temporary, pop-up exhibitions.

The first space they used was 90 De Beauvoir Road for the exhibition ‘My Kingdom’ in early December 2009. Their curation had to adapt to this new model of exhibiting; their choice of artists became more specific at this point as the work had to be able to respond and form a strong relationship with a given space. Luke Montgomery’s work in ‘My Kingdom’, for example, utilized the unusual situation he encountered of holes in the space floor. He created an underwater system that made fountains up through these holes in the floorboards - up into the exhibiting space and back down below in an ongoing cycle. SIB found this new element of the curatorial process exciting and challenging and the concept became a gallery space for both themselves and for the artists to develop and test new ideas.

Space In Between are a success of the Camden Council’s Pop-Up Shop and regeneration scheme. Their first application was approved just before Christmas 2009, and they were offered the opportunity to exhibit in a disused shop space on Clerkenwell Road in January. The exhibition was ‘Buckminsterfullerene Dream’ and showed the work of Becky Bolton, Louise Chappell, Ben Jeans Houghton and Matt Giraudeau. SIB always have potential shows in mind, and are always on the look out for new spaces to accommodate them. Very recently they hosted ‘Rubber Line’, an exhibition of new work by Nick Roberts and Neil Porter. This again was a space offered to the group by Camden Council.

SIB are a brilliant example of putting ideas into reality. This entire process all started very much as a scattering of abstract ideas that they bravely put in to practice. They started, as most do, exhibiting the work of their peers, with the expectation they would continue to work with a small group of artists, but this has become an ever-growing group. With each exhibition they have learnt what works, and how they envisage the initiative’s continuation. At the moment they are focusing on working with emerging artists, as that is where the focus of their ethos lies. They deliberately collaborate with artists whose work is open to the responsive nature of the unusual exhibition spaces that SIB have to offer.

Hannah, Laura and Ida are very aware that SIB only happens as a team. They know each other’s strengths and have found a working relationship between the three of them that is productive and successful. There is a huge sense of passion and commitment from the team to their work. For the first few exhibitions, Laura was living in Newcastle and commuting up and down the country to work on the exhibitions with Hannah and Ida in London.

There is already plenty in the pipeline for SIB in 2010. Their next exhibition opens later this month, and is being held in an underground, disused air raid shelter in Dalston. Damp, dark and dingy, they are focusing on artists who use light in their work. It is going to be a hugely exciting exhibition space, with all the artists making new work specifically for this show.

For July, the focus shifts slightly to a very exciting new stage in the SIB process – they are opening up their second permanent space in Regent Studios, alongside MOT and Transition Gallery. This branch of the SIB enterprise will give their artists a place to make site specific work in-house, as well as providing another avenue for exhibiting. By having a permanent project space running simultaneously to their off-site projects, SIB can now offer artists the best of both worlds. The artist Maurizio Anzei was the winner of the Vauxhall Collective this year, and Idea Generation have already approached SIB to exhibit his commission in the new space as the first show.

The future for Space In Between, whist ever evolving, is to have a permanent gallery that holds on to the fresh and adaptive approach that they have built so far. It is interesting, that despite not currently having a permanent space, SIB have a very strong identity. Perhaps this is created through the voices of the three curators, and the natural progression the name has gone through. By not having a space, the public does not associate SIB with a location, but with a strong idea that is ever changing and is not defined by an environment. SIB is about taking an abstract idea, and going ahead with it. This is at the heart of Space In Between – whose name describes that space that is never fixed.

Space In Between

Next exhibition: Where Beats This Human Heart
Private View: 18 June, 6-9pm
Exhibition runs: 19 – 23 June2010

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

the two Jonnys' Project Space

Unsurprisingly, the two Jonnys, is run by two guys called... Jonny Aldous and Jonny JJ Winter. The two Jonnys’ project space sits within the larger initiative set up by the Jonnys: JJ&J HQ Studios in Bethnal green, which consists of seventeen artists’ studios, the Publish & Be Damned Library, the project space and the modest table tennis arena.

The two Jonnys' project space began in May 2009 with a group show, starting the 2010 program the same way this January, although their normal program is based on a series of solo projects. The two Jonnys invite artists to work on a project creating new work for the space, selecting the artists solely through the quality of, and interest they hold, in their work. Beyond this the artists have free reign to produce and show what they please.

The two Jonnys are realistic in admitting that they cannot offer everyone they want to work with a month long show, and so are always trying to think of different ways of working with artists other than by way of a gallery show: commissions, residencies, events… a lot of imagination goes in to the project space. An example of this is their 2010 web project, WACKY BACKY. This idea sprang from the wish to play around with their basic website, as they realised this was an untapped area to utilise. For each month this year, they have asked an artist to create an alternative background for the site. They originally thought this would just be a simple to administer, fun idea, but the artists involved have become increasingly engaged with this web-based process with increasingly bold results. Another example of inviting artists to make work outside of exhibiting, is when they commission the exhibiting artist to invite someone else to create a 2D work/edition to act in place of a flyer for their project - seeing gallery chores as an opportunity to work with someone new, on something new.

There is a swift turnaround of exhibitions at the space to keep things interesting, with the longest lasting five weeks. Rather than decide the entire programme for 2010 at the beginning of the year, the two Jonnys work the year in blocks, so as to be open to any opportunities that inevitably pop up. When they first moved in to the building they worked to their initial one year lease, and so tried to squeeze as much out of their time there as they could, and so from May 2009 to December there was an intense program of ten projects, with a couple of micro-residencies in between. But after a year they are still in the building and hoping to enjoy calming down the pace of the program through 2011.

The next project is by Adam Latham. Latham is interested in collaboration, and so on the opening evening of the exhibition (Friday 11th June), there will be a performance from his performance group The Skinjobs, plus others and a jazz band, all performing in the middle of a group show selected by Latham set amongst a new installation/environment created especially for the show. Following on from Latham will be the work of Alice Walton in July, who creates plinth like structures and 2D collages. This aesthetic sculpture show will be a strong contrast to Latham’s noisy mess, and shows the exploratory, and open nature of the two Jonnys’ programme.

The two Jonnys are also taking things outside London, having been asked to hold an event at Central Reservation in Bristol. Central Reservation is a temporary project space, based for four months in a disused motorcycle warehouse. The two Jonnys are excited to have been asked to participate, and are holding a one day event where they have asked both artists they have worked with before, and ones they are working with in the future to redesign the social framework of the two Jonnys’. These designs will then be executed by the Jonnys in Bristol in the 3 days prior to the event, creating a social structure that they can then leave behind.

The two Jonnys is currently in the strong position of being self-sufficient. By not having to rely on funding, they find themselves wanting to be more ambitious, and always questioning what is the next level? They find that as long as this level of enjoyment and excitement continues, the two Jonnys will too.

the two Jonnys'