Often artists need just time and space to experiment. Searching for location to try out different ways of exhibiting a new work had proved to be quite a challenge here in Ceredigion. On hearing about the de-consecrated Capel y Graig, my attention had been caught. There’s a modest and unassuming aura about the place which has been restored, maintained and nurtured by a dedicated and passionate artist custodian.
Churches are where art could usually be found and more often made onsite, commissioned by the Church or its patrons. A place for worship (unlike a gallery white cube) is a context like no other. There’s nothing neutral about it. One may be tempted to rip out the pulpit and board over the window seats and stained glass windows. The Walcot Chapel in Bath sometimes gets ‘the white cube treatment’, always to the detriment of the experience, in my view. I first went there to see a new work by Jannis Kounellis a decade ago and I was taken aback by the interlocking aesthetic of the building and the work. Kounellis had the building sensitively restored and consequently understood that context means everything to a site based installation of this kind. More recently I saw Bedwyr Williams new work The Starry Messenger it the Ludoteca Santa Maria Ausiliatrice in Venice. The church and former convent presented Bedwyr with inspiration for the work which was both witty and yet not in the least profane.
The new work looked incredible in the Capel. I felt that somehow it had found its resting place. In order for the work to be shown elsewhere, I need to discover other ways to show the piece (which is proving to be difficult!) So the journey continues and my thanks goes to Avi who made this possible. I have discovered a comrade to whom I have great respect. I hope that we can work together again, perhaps in my artist led space STATION, in Bristol.
Artists who take on buildings for other artists to work in are a rare and wonderful sub species of the art world. This text is dedicated to Kim Fielding who ran an artists’ space, Tactile Bosch, in Cardiff, for many years, who sadly passed away last week.