Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Art Takes on Acton

By Holly Willats

London’s Acton may seem a creative desert, yet a group of artists have just grabbed themselves a super studio spot in a disused Perfume Factory. jotta could not resist a sneak peek of their upcoming opening on Sunday and as a result, reminisced over the artistic history of the West, and started hoping for a shift in the London creative compass.

Emma Cummins Remember To Forget THis, Ten Days Issue1, The Perfume Fcatory, Emma Cummins Where Art Lied (Untitled 1), Inkjet 2008 (Click any image to enlarge it)

In setting up their studios within The Perfume Factory, these artists intended to work in the spirit of creative collaboration. With a knowledge of the historical legacy of the area in which the studio sits, Ross Taylor, Royal Academy MA graduate, hoped to organise something that would bring artists and writers together to create something that was both good fun and creative. The result? – both an exhibition and new artist magazine that will launch simultaneously on Sunday 23rd August.

The initial idea was to make a magazine - a quick, cheap, fanzine style book of writings by artists and writers. The editors, Ross Taylor and myself, were both interested in how artists make work, why, when and how this could materialise. From this first idea came the concept of 10 Days. 10 Days is an artistic collective that has come together to interact with one another and create a magazine. The publication hopes to act as a device to vibrate and encourage ideas that do not have to be definite. The nature of the publication is that the contributor is asked to be spontaneous, being given 10 days to respond to the title of the relevant issue. The first issue centres on eleven individual contributors’ MANIFESTOS. From this title, the artists responded by looking at their own creative personal beliefs. 10 Days is a collective idea and is does not function for profit. The editors are interested in writing, ideas, pictures and diagrams and will allow anyone interested to contribute.

Whilst co-editing 10 Days Ross Taylor curated Perfect Answers for Perfect Questions.

“Voices and characters appear all the time in everyday life. We summon them in opinions and in stereotypes, stories and examples. They can seem unemployed and clueless, they can also be our best friends. Long hair, short hair, fictional, historical, blind or overweight in appearance. We have to give them clothes and beliefs, they some times need a family." Taylor describes the exhibition, "This exhibition brings together eleven artists who each individually deal with aspects of invention, especially in terms of the cast that play out their ideas. It is an extended and combined exploration of meetings between artists work where unexpected happenings will be generated. Through painting, sculpture and photography the work will be presented on islands, and like in a Kurt Voonegut story this troop of actors will have to meet.”

This collective of artists are proof that there is still call for a pure enjoyment in art. There is no financial motivation – with 10 Days selling for just £1 to enable the collective to fund the second issue. Those contributing and making the magazine, get to take away enjoyment and satisfaction in seeing evenings of discussion turned into a reality.

You might wonder what these artists are doing out West, away from both the galleries of the West End and the busy arts scene of East London. However, not so long ago there was much art and music activity in leafy (safe) West London, in the 50’s and 60’s the area was a magnet for musicians and art students, who could hear bands such as The Who and The Rolling Stones at the iconic Ealing Club.

In the same area and at the same time there was a radical change that altered the way art is taught and created, a movement that remains influential to this day. In the 1960s, Ealing Technical College & School of Art began its Groundcourse, run by Roy Ascott. The course was informed by the principles of cybernetics and the title focused on what Ascott described as, ‘learning from the ground up’. This course transformed the agenda of education in art in both this country, and as a result, abroad. Students included Pete Townsend, John Challis, Gilbert & George, Richard Long, Brian Eno, Stephen Willats and Michael English who would all go on to push the British art and music scene forward. All the avant-garde artists of the sixties such as Noel Forster and Bernard Cohen, who sparked many ideas and theories were teaching at Ealing, and the school became a key institution in the formation and influence of British conceptualism.

Going further West two artists, Peter Dunn and Loraine Leeson introduced Ruislip to the equation. Creating installations in local libraries around their community inspired art practice. Appropriately enough, given the focus of 10 Days publication, the artists produced their own Manifesto at the time, which ended:

"We declare that art needs people as much as people need art: the two should be inextricable linked with each other, and never divorced so damingly again."

With the Acton area surrounded by such a solid artistic legacy, Perfect Answers to Perfect Questions sees contemporary young artists working together to create something that to spark excitement in the area.

‘Perfect Answers to Perfect Questions’ and the launch of the new artist magazine 10 Days is on Sunday 23rd August, 4 – 7pm.

The Perfume Factory, 140 Wales Farm Road, London, W3 6UG
1 minute from North Acton tube Click here to view a map.

10days.booklet@gmail.com - website coming soon.

‘Perfect Answers to Perfect Questions’ will run until 30 August, opening hours: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 12-6pm.

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