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Friday, 14 September 2012
By Yue Yi

While doing visitor surveys in the reception of Nottingham Contemporary, I met several groups of young Chinese artists who travelled to the UK for World Event Young Artists. We had a lovely chat in which they told me some details about this event. According to their description, all of these young artists were so confident with this Cultural Olympiad. I was increasingly curious about ‘1000 Artists, 100 Nations, 10 Days, 1 City’. I decided to explore the event.

I checked the activities in the Events schedule and found that Market Square was one of the hottest places. Indeed, the Square was filled with the WEYA atmosphere. A huge events’ banner stretched across the Council House to remind the locals and travellers of the event, and the eye-catching Mobile TMC and the Dome were in the Square for drop-in activities. The activity in the Mobile TMC was related to literature, language and poetry. Three young artists, Dolly Pena, Marc Nair and Keith Borg from Bolivia, Singapore and Malta gave us a talk on exploring spoken word. It was a free drop-in event. Some young people who passed the Square entered the Mobile TMC and listened to the talk behind the chairs. When listening to the talk, I suddenly thought of a simple poem that my Grandma used to read. I tried to translate it into English:

My little child, don’t fear.

After the sunset, the moon will accompany you.

If the moon disappears, the stars will stay together with you.

The original poem was often spoken in the dialect, and it was hard to write it down. However, this was a great way to transmit regional culture to future generations. In the transmitting process, the culture would be changed due to different situations at that time. Similarly, the spoken word presented by the young artists showed the traditional and contemporary culture in these three regions.

After the literature talk in the Square, I went to the New Art Exchange for the exhibition. NAE provided all the galleries for WEYA. Claudio Zecchi and Marco Trulli curated the exhibition – Disorder. It presented 25 young artists’ works, including sculpture, video, drawing, performance and photography. Although the theme of this exhibition is ‘Disorder’, all the works were arranged appropriately and orderly. However, it is easy for the public to understand ‘Disorder’ through the arrangement in the gallery rather than the abstruse and philosophical introduction. All artworks were created by the young artists in past three years. These young artists each had their own unique concept about art and the world. It was hard to find a general key word for these artworks, nor could the works be ordered by a key word.

 

Posted by intern at 14:45    COMMENTS
Friday, 07 September 2012
By Susie Lambert

Susie is a Play and Learn Assistant at Nottingham Contemporary. Here she tells us the inspiration and planning behind her workshops.

The activities for the Play and Learn workshops are always inspired by the exhibition. It could be one particular piece, the materials used by the artist, a general theme, or anything in between. Taking inspiration from the shared theme of Francis Upritchard and Alfred Kubin's exhibitions, my next workshop will be to create 'Fantastical Creatures', but not from any normal craft resources - we will be using different types of clothing. As Francis Uprichard has created a sloth with leather glove hands and feet, and monkeys using old fur coats, I thought this would be a great idea to explore with families and see what could be created. The possibilities are huge - as could be the creations!

I have been sourcing materials for several weeks, acquiring clothing and textiles. Last month I went to Playworks (a fantastic place for materials http://www.playworks.org.uk/) to get some resources for another Play and Learn workshop I was running. Whilst there I discovered a huge quantity of socks, brand new, but factory seconds as they were unfinished at the tops. I don't think anyone has ever been as excited as me to discover a barrel of faulty socks! I came away with a carrier bag full, feeling very happy. It will be exciting to see how these socks are used. I am hoping that the Fantastical Creatures workshop will produce animals that may be soaring through the air, or slithering along the ground and transform the room into a magical realm. I love seeing how families take an idea and then using their own inspiration and interests make something personal and unique. Each family who joins in makes something very different to the next. It's always interesting to see the differences in interpretation in pieces of work that had the same starting point. I've planned the layout of the room, in order to display peoples creatures in the best way. The Studio has lots of pipes and ducting running across the ceiling. This affects how they and others interact with it over the weekend. Having things hanging from the ducting above so the activity has an immersive feel to it always looks great. The only problem I find is that the pipes are at differing heights, and parts are difficult to reach. Getting things up, and down again at the end, can be a challenge.

Personally, I discovered the Contemporary one very cold Light Night, when I wondered in out of the rain with my family, and a Russian Cosmonaut thought we were all called Borris. (I later realised this was part of the Star City exhibition!) I knew nothing about contemporary art, but the place seemed really interesting. I returned a few times to the Play and Learn family sessions and really enjoyed them, so when I found there was a 10 week course called 'In 2 Art' for parents (with a crèche provided for pre-schoolers) being run by Associate Artist, Chris Lewis-Jones, I signed up. The 10 weeks went by far too quickly, I learnt a lot, met a lot of lovely people, artists and other parents, and greatly enjoyed the whole experience. It was at this time that I saw the Contemporary was looking for people to run the Play and Learn sessions. (Before leaving work to look after my family I had been a children’s Playworker.) Surely this was too good to be true?! I was so excited to get the job, as it combines so many things I enjoy. As part of the Play and Learn team I have been planning and implementing and enjoying workshops for nearly 18 months. I can't wait until my next one!

Posted by intern at 23:25    COMMENTS

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