Ryan Gander’s ‘Culturefield' with Castlefield Gallery and Artist Panel Discussion

Last Thursday I joined an informal tour at the Manchester Art Gallery, with Castlefield Gallery as they showed us around some of their fave parts of the new Ryan Gander ‘Make every show like its your last’ exhibition. This year the two galleries have collaborated together to do a couple of shows with the one at Castlefield combining works by five local artists based on Gander’s works.

I found it interesting to see which of Gander’s works the artists would pick, their thoughts and consequent questions surrounding those pieces. They chose his marble draped dens - a fun, depiction of his children's little hideaway’s (one of my personal faves too). A crumpled seating plan on the floor - again, a fun imagined dinner seating arrangement that was simply thrown away… A coin stuck to the floor, another fun amusement that Gander used to play with his father when he was a child. Hello Kitty toothpaste on the mirror - all letters of the alphabet plus a few more for added amusement… and lastly to curator Kwong Lee’s choice of an imagined Government television advert, created by an actual advertising agency to produce a major campaign with billboard ads to promote imagination as the key to an individual’s personal development…

After this hour-long tour we all gathered into a conference room where things got a little more serious as the four artists discussed their projects, all artist-led initiatives. This provided an interesting insight into how important it is for an artist (young and old) to create their own opportunities in order to make headway for the kind of projects they want to be a part of. They key points made were:

  • collaborating with other artists and galleries is the way forward
  • make your own opportunities as they won’t just be handed to you
  • if you want to curate your own exhibition and produce your own art, this becomes harder as you have to align yourself more to the other artist(s) that you’re working with
  • be prepared to travel, go to other counties, take your work there and grow your network
  • hard work and dedication is massively important when resources are scarce
  • don’t be afraid of applying for Arts Council grants as they are keen to work with independent artists… but do be prepared that you may lose some of your independence as they require you to record and evaluate your efforts formally

I have to admit I found this information really interesting and its good to know that as artist you aren’t alone in the dilemma to fine-tune the right environment for your work. You have to be a self-starter and create your own chances for advancement. Despite not having a gallery space, I have got a studio space at the Pyramid cultural centre and hit upon the idea of getting myself more out there by having an Open Studio day during the upcoming Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival.. so cheers to all the artists who participated in the panel discussion…

Go check out:

Toast @ Federation House, Manchester
Cactus Gallery @ Royal Standard, Liverpool

Please take note that your art may flourish from reading this blog :)


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