I’m really pleased that Harold Offeh has been awarded the Nigel Greenwood Prize and will be doing a residency in the Scottish Borders in 2020/21. I was invited to nominate an artist for the award, which was established to honour the memory of gallerist and curator Nigel Greenwood.
Harold Offeh’s work explores the presentation of black bodies in the landscape, using popular culture as source material and challenging traditional assumptions around race and class. For his residency, he plans to move “away from given stereotypes of the labouring or victimised body; the project will explore leisure, play and connections to the physical environment … I want to locate black figures in the rural British landscape as a means to create alternative narratives of national identity,”
Sally Shaw, Director of Firstsite Gallery
Louisa Buck, writer
Hana Noorali, curator
Lynton Talbot, curator
Rebecca Heald, curator
Giles Round, artist, nominated Patrick Staff
Tai Shani, artist, nominated Florence Peake
Richard Parry, director of Glasgow International, nominated Georgina Starr
Jes Fernie, curator, nominated Harold Offeh
Image: Harold Offeh, Selfie Choreography: Performing with the Camera (2017)
I was invited to take part in the Architecture Foundation’s 100 Day Studio programme - a new programme of online lectures, tours, discussions and stories for our lockdown times.
Gillian Darley and I spoke about individual freedom, collective engagement, places of refuge and breathing spaces, within the context of a new public garden for the Råängen programme I work on with Lund Cathedral in Sweden.
Listen to our talk here.
Image: watercolour sketch of Hage, a new public garden for Råängen. Geir Brendeland, 2020
I took part in a new programme of online talks for Art & Christianity, giving a lecture about the Råängen programme that I curate with Lund Cathedral and White Arkitekter. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic I delivered it from my garden shed / office. Here it is!
The programme asks a range of pertinent questions: How should we live in the 21st century? What is the Church’s role in developing alternative approaches to urban development? How can artists contribute to this discussion?
Image: And We Are Everywhere, signage for artwork by Nathan Coley, Råängen, Sweden, 2018
Like everyone, I’ve had to postpone my forthcoming projects and events for the foreseeable future due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
I was hoping to kick off Archive of Destruction later this year, but this is likely to now take place in 2021/22.
I wrote about my exasperation at all the positive hype around Steve McQueens’s Year 3 project, in the current issue of Art Monthly.
The unanimous praise for Steve McQueen’s Year 3 photographs at Tate Britain, a collective portrait of a generation, has been overwhelming – garnering plundits such as ‘profound’, ‘celebratory’, ‘deeply moving’ – but, if this is the sum total of our response, are we not denying the power of art? Yes, there is much to celebrate here. Year 3 is an inherently hopeful statement: pick any school photo of seven-year-old children from across the world and you will experience the powerful looping effect of projection and reflection. Hairstyles and uniform policies may change, but those desperate grimaces and carefully choreographed seating arrangements remain the same. And, as McQueen has said, the photographs provide those kids with a rare and precious opportunity to step outside themselves, to see themselves through the eyes of others. On my various visits to Tate Britain the atmosphere was electrifying, with huge groups of children rushing around trying to find themselves.
I’ve been invited by Manchester International Festival to develop a programme of temporary commissions for the entrance area of their new building - The Factory - due to open in 2021.
Since its launch in 2007, MIF has developed a considerable reputation for its ground-breaking programme of commissions, performances and events. The Factory, designed by OMA, will house the festival, as well as an on-going programme of new commissions, gigs and exhibitions.
I was invited to give a lecture about public art in the UK at a conference in Seoul in Oct 2019. It was organised by the Metropolitan City of Seoul and involved speakers from the US, Canada, Germany and South Korea.
While I was there, I visited the North Korean border. Here’s a photo of the many messages from friends, family and well-wishes that are tied to border fencing.
Alice Channer invited me to write an experimental text in response to her exhibition at Turf Projects in Croydon, London (25 July - 31 August 2019).
I assume a reptilian stance and crawl through the facade of the gallery on my belly, viewing the sculptures from a low vantage point.
Picking up on themes in Alice’s work, it’s about environmental catastrophe / plastic / fossils of the past and future / end times.
There’s a lovely reading of it here + the text.
Please join us on 29 August 2019 for a celebratory closing event at Turf Projects. I’ll be doing a reading and there’ll be drinks.
18.30 - 20.00
Units 46-47, Trinity Court (Ground Floor)
Whitgift Shopping Centre
Croydon CR0 1UQ
You are warmly invited to an evening talk by Geir Brendeland at Skissernas Museum, Lund on 5 September 2019.
Geir will present ‘Hage’, a new public garden for Brunnshög in Lund, due to be completed next spring. The walled garden will be open to all and will provide a space for local people to congregate, cook, talk and exchange ideas.
Norwegian architects Brendeland & Kristoffersen have developed an international reputation for their body of projects including innovative housing, exhibitions, and public interventions.
‘Hage’ is part of the Råängen programme of art and architecture commissions, organised by Lund Cathedral, curated by Jes Fernie & Jake Ford.
Thursday 5 September, 19.00–20.00
Skissernas Museum, Lund
Image: Råängen event, Skissernas Museum 2019