Hole in the Wall Gallery
Encounter #1: 53°02’48.2″N 2°59’56.2″W
Event 10th June 2017, 13:30–14:30
Argos Car Park, Island Green, Wrexham
“I take as my starting point Michael Philipson’s call to uncover those spaces that culture has not reached or to take Philipson further, to excavate those spaces or gaps that culture has somehow forgotten or that progress has left behind. By everyday practices such as walking, tracing or sweeping the lines and contours of openings, cracks and delineations, I hope to expose something between art and life – even if only momentarily.” (Alec Shepley)
We present the first in a series of impromptu public art happenings occupying small void spaces in the urban landscape. The placement of small artworks creates a level of intimacy at odds with the hustle and bustle of the street and help blur the boundary between public and private life and help bring art back into the reach of everyday life.
“This project is part of an improvised, mobile and arguably post-organizational visual cultural tendency that attempts to bring art and art practice outside traditional institutional settings and embed it within the contours of contemporary urban landscapes.” (Dr. David S. Churchill, Professor of History, University of Manitoba, May 2017)
“Derelict buildings can naturally make for a good metaphor, a symbol for a certain state of mind, as our circumstances and our background can be seen in a similar way – as derelict buildings pending redevelopment or reconstruction. Derelict buildings provide a kind of creative energy that can be harnessed by artists” (Yao, J-C. 2010).
I’m sitting on the doorstep of the hotel side door, thinking of thresholds – marginal spaces that provide the kind of ambiguity I need for dispersals, for practice, to occupy, to encounter, to enact – not standing for anything certain but renegotiating a relationship with audience; testing out work that is perhaps not “of art” (Duchamp 1913, 105). I pick up on a kind of creative energy found in such settings as abandoned buildings, building sites, cracks, gutters, vacant lots, wind and dust, clefts and fissures, and the crumbling pavement beneath my feet – they offer a useful metaphor for my (our?) certain state of being. Marcel Broodthaers wrote: “The definition of artistic activity occurs, first of all, in the field of distribution” (Crow, 1996 177). According to Daniel Kunitz (2011) the lesson of such earlier efforts in 1960s where art challenged context, is that if you want to disrupt the understanding of what art is you need to alter how it gets to its audience and somehow rupture its first (physical) and second (conceptual) frames (Kosuth 1977).
“Whether or not you ‘like’ a landscape is unimportant. It does not ask you for your opinion. If it is there, your opinion counts as nothing. A landscape leaves the mind DESOLATE. It makes lymph (the soul) flow, not blood. You do not associate. No more synthesis. It doesn’t follow on. Leave it for later. You pray to heaven, to provide for you in your wretchedness. The wretchedness of the soul rubbed raw by the tiderace of matter”. (Jean-Francois Lyotard, “Scapeland”)
This new work, and hopefully others that will follow, explore the nature and characteristics of a kind of ad hoc practice of occupation and simultaneously – of escape.
I am reflecting on the possibilities of a practice at the interstices between the individual and the collective, between purpose and play – a kind of non-place. This space is not yet a place, or at least if it once was a place, it has somehow lost its identity within the master-plan and is slowly falling away from its institutional configuration.
“It is better to live in a state of impermanence than in one of finality.” Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space
In order to offer context, the work incorporates time, space and labour as the artwork, as a dialectical to traditional forms of object creation for market exchange.
We (Paul and I) are valuing ad-hocism and purposeful purposelessness as strategies for developing new approaches to audience, opening new directions for practice as an aid to reimaging [our] cultural sites in neglected urban settings such as we see.
Practices of improvisation and contouring resist the notion of commodification – they will involve street encounters such as these, sweeping and drifting through the city following the cracks, contours and tears within the urban fabric. Referencing the function of labour within artistic outputs problematizes the relationship between art and capital. Provisionality and dematerialisation precipitates the need for a social form of art practice.