I don’t really like it very much at all, but I’m totally coming to London next week to talk with Doggerland at the Five Years' Summer Camp. It's on Wednesday 23rd, although I'm not totally sure what time. If you live in that city and see me, please treat me nicely, I'll be a combination of scared, tired and bored.
p.s. Just to clarify, I DO like Doggerland and Five Years, it’s just LDN that’s like an elephant graveyard to me.
I didn’t get to go to the Liverpool Biennial opening this year, but apparently the next day they were selling a collection of bumper stickers (one of which I designed last year) at the Art Car Boot Fair.
I wrote this for an a-n blog recently, you can’t read it if you’re not a member, so I’m just squeezing it on here too… :/
Hello, my name is Oliver Braid and I am an artist living in Glasgow. Additionally I am a member of the The Telfer Gallery team. In early May my Telfer teammates and I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Bristol Art Weekender with the assistance of a-n’s Go & See bursary. I’d never been to the city before but had been a long-time admirer of various artists that had graduated in recent years from the UWE Fine Art course. Additionally I was enthusiastic to visit the city that had spawned Skins, home-grown Josie the winner of Channel 4’s final edition of Big Brother and played host to the wonderful Spike Island and WORKS l PROJECTS. Bristol is also the site of Europe’s largest all-you-can-eat buffet, but sadly we didn’t have the time to visit the latter.
The beauty of Bristol Art Weekender (BAW for short) was the compactness of its offerings. Given that this mini-festival only ran for four days the programme seemed to be designed perfectly to make seeing everything manageable. Arriving on Thursday evening our group of seven split into two parties, both luckily located within five minutes walking distance from two of the weekend’s main attractions, Andy Holden’s exhibition at Spike Island and Jeremy Deller’s restaged Venice exhibition at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. My party was positioned directly over the river from Spike, staying with Sam Playford-Greenwell, of Doggerland, and his girlfriend Lucy. Bristol, similarly to Glasgow, is also extremely possible to travel around by on foot. It’s also the only place I have ever encountered to boast an Asda supermarket hybridised with a McDonald’s restaurant.
Friday began more slowly for some of us than others. Whilst the team based in the city centre got up early to run around Jeppe Hein’s mirror maze, over on the riverside we eased ourselves into the day with a long, leisurely and locally produced breakfast. When we finally met up with our proactive peers it was to visit the first opening of the day, a group exhibition conveniently featuring artists from both Glasgow and Bristol at Woodside Press. It’s potentially worth flagging up right here, right now, that this exhibition was the only venue that offered us a free drink for the entire weekend; my prior expectations of generous cider sponsorship were wholly dashed. It was also at Woodside where we encountered our first Sebastian Jefford artwork of the weekend, an artist who was undoubtedly a running theme through most exhibitions across Bristol to the point of appearing to hold the keys to the entire city. The exhibition additionally hosted a performance by Edwina Ashton, another artist that seems to have penetrated the entire city’s artistic register.
Moving into Friday evening meant finally moving towards Spike Island and WORKS l PROJECTS, the latter presenting new work by Richard Woods. It was here that we encountered Claire Sharpe and where I unsuccessfully aimed to procure a free copy of Andy Holden’s latest publication MI!MS, accompanying his new exhibition hosted at Spike during BAW. Andy’s work always has a special feeling for me but this new exhibition is probably one of the best presentations I will see this year. We felt so strongly about this project that we allocated additional time in our Sunday schedule to revisit the exhibition and give over the time this work merited. Also at Spike Island the annual Open Studios and a large fundraising exhibition by UWE final year undergraduates. Someone threw a drink over my friend Marc and two girls told me I had a freaky voice but despite these small setbacks the opening party was a success and offered me the additional chance to meet personal hero, the artist Wayne Lloyd. Additionally it gave me the chance to catch up with Lucy McDonald, who used to work at MOT London but is soon to become queen of Hauser & Wirth’s funny new country retreat in Somerset. Whilst slinking around I also met up with performance artist Tom Marshman, the other, taller, half of Doggerland, Tom Prater and the painter James Parkinson, another of Bristol’s young art illuminati.
Coming from a fairly grey skied Glasgow the majority of our team were unprepared for the blistering heat of the Bristol sun and spent most of our Saturday morning crisping up and turning red whilst taking part in the Sarah Records walking tour organised by Arnolfini. As this talk was unexpectedly delayed we wandered over to Antlers Gallery for a carafe of ginger beer and watched a rather unexpected but brilliant soapbox performance by Emma BennettSomewhere between this performance, the Sarah Records archive (also hosted by Arnolfini) and the subsequent walking tour it began to dawn on me how much of the weekend’s content seemed to revolve around issues of innocence and sincerity. I might have completely projected this but the post-irony tinge was enough to make me want to move to the city and set up shop. After more walking, drinking and a lazy hour revisiting the Jeppe Hein sculpture we spent the rest of our Saturday visiting some more grass roots organisations, a group exhibition featuring Glasgow and Nottingham friends curated by Hand in Glove and a group exhibition at BV Studio Gallery naturally featuring some work by Sebastian Jefford. One of my favourite things about any UK based arts festival is the opportunity it offers to meet up with artists from all over the country that one usually only sees on these occasions, like giant school reunions. Although not on such a scale as Liverpool Biennial or Glasgow International there were still lots of familiar faces I was pleased to speak with. Hopefully in a few years BAW will be the favourite summer spot of every UK art tourist.
Saturday night’s Arnolfini party was smaller and more subdued than Spike’s although it’s harbour side location did offer more opportunity for visitors to mingle with locals. At one point my friend Racheal and I witnessed a fight ending in tears between two women, one dressed as if from the sixties and one in a tracksuit. Okay, maybe not a tracksuit but I guess you get the vibe of conflicting elements. If not then let me just say that, immediately after 1960’s woman had run out of the party crying, tracksuit woman’s husband farted directly in our faces. (We were foolishly sat at bottom level).
Sunday was given over almost in its entirety to battling our way through the city streets. It was a sunny day with two other festivals also taking place concurrently and the live launch of Luke Jerram’s giant water slide snaking down the main street. I had been initially disappointed to not have been selected to ‘ride the slide’ but after appreciating just how public this slip of dignity would have been I was grateful to simply observe its popularity from a distance on my way to Jeremy Deller’s blockbuster at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. BM&AG is also currently host to yet another ‘controversial’ artwork by Bristol’s first son Banksy who, as always, was pulling in a large camera phone wielding audience of all ages, shapes and sizes. In our final few hours we returned to the exhibition everyone should be talking about, Andy Holden at Spike Island, where we watched the entire 80 minutes of video installation without ever tiring. If you have any chance to see this before it closes you have to go and, no joke, later in the month Sebastian Jefford will be giving an introductory talk to his reflections on this exhibition as will Claire Sharpe, who is yet to be persuaded to send me the catalogue for free.
Our most useful practical experiences of this visit were Marc’s discovery of the artist Charlie Godet-Thomas, who he is keen to pursue for the Telfer, and the opportunity to more thoroughly delight in the mind of Andy Holden who will later in the year feature as a special guest selector for the Many Graduate Residency Programme 2014/15, our studios in Glasgow and the spiritual home and HQ of team Telfer.
On behalf of all at the Telfer Gallery I extend the warmest of wishes to Bristol for presenting such a strong selection of artists, to a-n magazine for making our visit possible, to the Doggerland crew for hosting us and, of course, to Sebastian Jefford for his ability to make so many well produced and popular works.
MANY Studios Graduate Residency Programme 2014/15 - Selected by Andy Holden & Kate Moross
The Many Graduate Residency Programme is now in its fourth year, running from September to June, annually. Set within the Many Studios complex; four residents are selected to work within a dedicated studio and production space. The space is shared equally between the residents, with each taking a self-designated work area. The flexible layout is intended to suit the needs of individual approaches and encourage awareness of the immediate community. The studio comes with 24-hour access and all-inclusive utilities including heating and WiFi.
Many, as suggested by our name, encourage and promote multi-disciplinary and collaborative approaches including, but not limited to, fine arts practitioners. The residency will conclude with the staging of individually tailored public outcomes in summer 2015. Being reflective of each participant’s practice and wishes the public outcome stage has no traditional restrictions.
The selection panel for this session included special guests Andy Holden and Kate Moross, alongside the Many Studios team.
The deadline for applications is Monday 7th July. Sneak peek the PDF application form here.
If you can make out who I’m Skyping in this picture then you can imagine one of the many reasons Marc and I were so excited about the possibilities for programming Glasgay Festival's visual arts strand this year. Unfortunately we're no longer doing this. Sorry gays, we're really sad about it too.