JAMES COCKS, RORY DUCKHOUSE, BETH ELEN ROBERTS, BOB GELSTHORPE, ANNA GRACE ROGERS, EMILY HARTLESS, MARK HICKEN, HELEDD EVANS, ELLA JONES, GWENI LLWYD, STEVIE MACKINNON SMITH, ANGELA MAGEE, ELIN MEREDYDD & ADAM FARRUGIA WHITE, AJ STOCKWELL, RHIAN SULLIVAN, AMY TREHARNE, HELENA TURGEL, THOMAS WILLIAMS
There is a difference between visiting a place and living in a place. When visiting a place, everything becomes exotic, its otherness is made more tangible by our fleeting experience of it. For a short amount of time our rituals and habits and ways of being that tick-tock our everyday lives are replaced. In this new place we sleep at different times, we eat different food, we look at the world differently. Venice is an oasis, a mirage, a shimmering watery floating/ not floating place of looking seeing smelling and experiencing life differently. It is all there for our consumption - for a short amount of time before we turn and leave it.
But being there for a job, for an extended period of time, its customs become ours. We experience Venice in new ways. We are neither natives or tourists anymore and our passage through the city is irritated by the slow-gazing, bridge-stopping drift of sightseers that we were once a part of. We need the launderette, to get to work, and to move more efficiently. We wake up there.
In May 2017 the Wales in Venice exhibition, James Richards: Music for the gift curated by Hannah Firth was launched. g39 has been working with the group of artists, writers and curators who were invigilators at the venue in Venice for the length of the show. They have been immersed in the show, keeping everything going, speaking to visitors, and locals, responding to the culture, language, history, the city of Venice, James' show and the other Biennale exhibitions.
They have also been spending time in Venice developing new work and research and we have invited them to present it at g39. This exciting group of artists and curators will show in an exhibition which questions the conventions of the group exhibition. The works here will interact with each other; rather than stand on their own, the collection of individual objects becomes one overarching experience.
It has been curated as a varied collection of artworks, artefacts, objects, sounds and actions and research, where each occupies the same space. Reflecting on an eclectic and domestic curatorial approach we’ve created a model of the artists shared domestic space as a framework to combine and assemble the work. This is a replica of the space where the invigilators lived, on the strange isle of Certosa in the Venetian lagoon.
Certosa is an Italian word meaning monastery, or charter house. The Isle of Certosa has little of the grand historic architecture associated with Venice and, apart from a hotel (and marina), there is nothing there for tourists or sightseers. The isle has its own strangeness, isolation and peculiar character that feel neither contemporary nor steeped in history.
Every two years Venice is the host to the Wales pavilion at the biennale, a part of life here is transplanted there for the duration of the Biennale, still one of the cultural markers of the year for curators, dealers and artists. What is often overlooked is that Wales is also growing a relationship with a space, with a community there and with Venice itself. After the first wave of bielnnale guests leave, the people local to the venue come to see the work, come to see the buildings that are theirs and continue an ongoing dialogue with Wales through the live-guides.
Concurrently, James Richards: Music for the gift will have a second showing at Chapter arts centre.