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'

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