There is a wealth of visual material in the Bluecoat archive relating to our past arts programmes. Much of this comprises documentation of exhibitions in the gallery and other visual arts projects - scans taken from slides and photographs - as well as posters, catalogues and other print material. We invited one of our current studio holders, Leo Fitzmaurice, to select some images that particularly interested him. Here, he talks about his selection, which includes images from 1997 to 2013:
Having had a relationship to the Bluecoat since leaving art college, both showing in exhibitions and more recently as a studio member, I have chosen to base my selection from the archive on the works that have stayed with me over time. This collection is, in a way, as much an account of my interests as an artist as it is a record of the Bluecoat’s exhibitions history. The works I have selected are best described by the single word: succinct. And they are all, in differing ways, formed by a collision of worlds.
I guess this aspect is most literally played out in Cai Yuan and JJ Xi’s performance where two iconic sauces, ketchup and soy sauce, battle it out for world domination. Less internationally, Jeremy Deller’s Acid Brass conflates two great northern musical traditions, acid house and brass bands, whereas David Musgrave’s faux-factual medical model of Snoopy exposes the cartoon world to the realities of living with an actual body. Nina Saunders’ work achieves something similar with furniture: anthropomorphic upholstery accentuating the bodily nature of objects that we make for ourselves. In a work by Marion Coutts, sport’s relationship with urban space is inverted as the artist fabricates ping-pong tables in the shape of London’s parks. And, playfully too, Martin Creed’s Half The Air in a Given Space punctures the seriousness of the gallery with party balloons (minus the party), leaving us with a simple physical experience of being in a space.
For me what links all of these works is that they all deploy deceptive simplicity with absolute clarity - I could not imagine the works realised any other way - and yet the outcome upends our everyday world, producing a kind of productive uncertainty.
*the title is a slogan from the IKEA catalogue