United Kingdom

Large scale and long-term projects by emerging artists working through ALISN’s artist-led spaces in London.

For the Alternative Art Guide I have chosen three emerging London-based artists who in my view represent exciting developments in three different fields in art: Video, Photography and Installation.  Of course, it is completely impossible to use these to somehow summarise everything that is happening in London, so I have taken the only possible viewpoint – a subjective one.  I have chosen three artists with particularly ambitious forthcoming large-scale solo projects which are about to be realised in our artist-led project space.  I am thus able to speak about hem authoritatively from my own close curatorial experience.  Moreover, these are, to me, important examples of the role of the artist-run space, as a base for important non-commercial experimentation available at an early stage of an artist’s career.

The first of these, Helene Kazan, is a multidisciplinary artist who has exhibited extensively in the UK and internationally. Across her practice, she uses research and archival material to generate moving image and mixed media sculptural installations. She is currently completing a Masters at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Her forthcoming exhibition with us in April and May 2013, entitled ‘A Domestic Image of Preemption’, Helene Kazan has created a multimedia installation, which sets the ordinary image of the domestic space against a complex conceptual framework of pre-emption. Bringing together under one roof a sequence of interacting moving images made using a unique methodology of extracting visual information found in a set of photographs, the space depicted in each is reproduced, with the films revealing the potentially catastrophic breaking point under which each photograph is generated. Here, the architecture of the home is shown to transform, through a set of overarching conditions, from a space of shelter to a space of potent threat.

Helene Kazan, A Domestic Image of Preemption, 2013, 4-panel video installation.  Forthcoming show at LUBOMIROV-EASTON

Operating through the potential of these visual objects and unlocking the information harboured within them, Kazan utilises the elasticity and fluidity of time that is brought to light by this conceptual framework. The tensions of a limited futurity are activated through the use of filmmaking processes to trick time, capture it and then playfully traverse through it. Revealing to the viewer a narrated dialogue formed between the independent, yet interconnected scenarios. Illustrating the dissemination of sovereign power through these conditions, and therefore how domestic space is re-fabricated within the parameters of its control.

Helene Kazan, Where Drawing meets Sculpture, 2012, installation view at Angus-Hughes Gallery

The second artist I have chosen, Rab Harling, specializes in experimental large-format photography and photographic installations. He investigates the social occupation of space – from domestic interiors to the urban landscape and focuses on how people construct a sense of place, and how built environments reflect and actively produce particular social configurations and political ideologies.  Rab’s work intersects with a long-term debate in urban culture and policy regarding the relationships between environment and behaviour.

Trained in the film industry, Rab turned to fine-art photography in 2006, completing an MA in Photography at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts.

Employing a variety of photographic processes, from large format film to digital and low-resolution video, the underlying technical aspects of his work involve pushing each of the involved media to their limits, from extremely long exposures to giant site-specific installations, his work is always pushing at the boundaries of a contemporary photographic practice.

Rab Harling, Abandon Your Dreams, 20111, installation view at Mile End ArtPavilion

Rab Harling, has been working on an ambitious, 3-year photography project, which is the subject for an interim show of his work at our space in autumn 2013.  Since 2011 he has been documenting the brutalist Balfron Tower, designed by Arno Goldfinger and occupied for decades by council tenants.  When the tower was listed for renovation and an eviction programme began to displace the current tenants in order make the tower available to new, wealthier, private tenants, Harling began to document its final transition from old to new utopia.  In the interim, empty flats have been given over to artists as temporary work-live spaces by the Bow Arts Trust.  Rab has been documenting the interior of each flat using large format photgarphy, from the very beginning of the process, eventually moving in as a resident himself in order to be able to work more closely with the residents.

Rab Harling, Inversion Reflection 1, 2012, shown at Mile End Art Pavilion.

The third ‘artist’ is a pair of artists who have been collaborating since their BA – Paul Good and Kirsty Wood.  As well as producing work, for two years they ran a finely tuned and sensitively programmed project space from their flat in a mostly abandoned tower block in East London.  The block was scheduled for demolition and a small number of artists were living there temporarily while they site was waiting for property developers to begin.  Hard to get to and attended mostly by other artists, the space held some of the best shows of 2010 and 2011.  In 2010 I invited the pair, then know as less, to present their own work at my temporary space on Farringdon Road.

less. began as a minimalist art rock band, at first separate to, but later an extension of their own individual art practices. Collaborating artists Paul Good and Kirsty Wood created installations using symbols, relics and paraphernalia from the original band.

The show was called ‘to solidify a negative space (three part score for The Magnificent Basement only)’ and was a visual representation of an ongoing body of work originating as scores and recordings of less. now becoming site-specific installations.

The artists brought in several gallons of liquid rubber, which they used to cast the walls of the space.  Work seen was the remainders of a past action. The walls cast in rubber were pulled from the wall to collapse under their own weight. The score marked an uneasy fall or crescendo of sound with a small drum part cast in plaster, lost within the mass. The title words ‘negative space’ refers to the artists’ exploration of silence within music and how to frame what is formless.  The partially peeled inner cast was shown as an installation for just one week before being tragically destroyed by the owners of the space.

less., to solidify a negative space (three part score for The Magnificent Basement only), 2011, installation view at The Magnificent Basement

Three years later, the artists, still working together, but under their own names, are preparing a large scale installation of multiple casts in our space.  Ambitious as ever, they plan to completely fill the space with cast objects and then use their bodies to physically break a path into the interior, which will be the only entrance point for visitors to their show.

Iavor Lubomirov

Iavor Lubomirov was born in 1978 in Bulgaria and lives and works in London, United Kingdom.  Since 2005 Iavor has worked as an independent artist, curator and exhibition organiser.

Iavor Lubomirov is one of the founders of The Artist-Led Initiatives Support Network (ALISN), in May 2007, with the aim of supporting emerging artists and fostering community and collaboration between artist-led and other emerging art galleries and projects.

ALISN works across diverse platforms to deliver innovative exhibitions, events, performances, open submissions, talks, residencies and art networking events. ALISN brings together a large section of British emerging art organisers at an annual Conference in collaboration with Goldsmiths University. ALISN runs LUBOMIROV-EASTON, a Deptford based project space where invited emerging artists can develop ambitious solo or two person projects.  ALISN has previously ran other temporary and pop-up project spaces and works regularly through other artist-run, academic, public and commercial spaces.  In January 2013 ALISN sublet a booth at a major commercial London art fair in order to conduct a critical examination of the art fair as an exclusive market place.  ALISN subverted the traditional booth, by cheaply subletting one to a cross section of important artist-led spaces, most of which would not normally consider showing in this environment.

30 June 2017 / by / in
Locality as an anchor

It would be better if the metaphors of ‘roots’ and ‘uprooting’ (…) were abandoned and replaced by the tropes of the casting out and drawing up of anchors.

Indeed (…) there is nothing irrevocable, let alone ultimate, in drawing up an anchor. When they are torn out of the soil in which they grew, roots are likely to desiccate, killing the plant they nourished and making its revival border on the miraculous – anchors are drawn up only to be cast out again, and they can be cast out with similar ease at many different, near or distant ports of call.

(…) All in all, the metaphor of anchors captures what the metaphor of uprooting misses: the intertwining of continuity and discontinuity in the history of all or at least of a growing number of contemporary identities.


This fragment from Zygmunt Bauman’s book The art of life (2008) synthetizes my views on locality, in particular in these days of extreme mobility and communication. Being a rootless person myself, I conceive the local as a specific situation in a given place, susceptible to constant alterations and reconfigurations. I was very lucky that the anchors of these three artists met mine in a given moment, and this contribute arises from those encounters.


Luísa Mota 

The imaginary of the Luísa Mota (Porto, 1984, lives in London) is articulated through a crossing between extreme rurality, exotic mythologies and the absurd visions of outer space films from the mid-twentieth century.

The performative, photographic and video works produced by the artist put in action an unique and personal vocabulary that is certainly hermetic and difficult to grasp, but whose radical idiosyncrasy makes of Luísa Mota one the most original artists of her generation. Her works are populated by apparitions, of animated and inanimated beings, often humanoids or human-like figures and presences, who find different modes of relating to the space, the objects and the individuals around them.

Often these characters develop apparently irrational actions or eccentric behaviours, and their presence can hardly be ignored, even if it only takes place during fleeting moments in time.

Like spirits, these beings and forms have a recurrent presence throughout Mota’s production, returning frequently to inhabit new contexts and situations, and thus producing a red thread of appearances and familiar acquaintances that traverses the artist’s videos, installations, performances and events.

Living and working in London, the artist often brings to an international scenario the sprit and environment of a rural Portugal, which is embedded in a sci-fi aura.



Luísa Mota, Perception is Wild, still video (2010)


Luísa Mota, Poster of Invisible Men, 238 x 400cm (2012)


Luísa Mota, 2 Young Men as Sentinels, performance (2012)


Luísa Mota, Déjà vu / There around me somewhere right now, performance (2012)

Riccardo Benassi

Riccardo Benassi (Cremona, 1982, lives in Berlin) has a dangerous mind. The encounter with his lucid eyes and endless flux of thoughts, transmitted through his projects and works, offers the risk of forever conditioning our form of seeing and relating to the world around us.

A philosopher of the present, he helps the world by revealing mystic truths (to stay with Bruce Nauman), which appear as clear as water once he enounced them and shared them with the others.

Benassi’s works are the result of an articulated assemblage of images, sounds, colours, texts, design objects, and diverse materials, which are put together to generate large-scale installations, videos, performances, artist’s books and sculptural elements in which the visual part is such one of the many elements that compose the final result. This combination of material and immaterial substances places him in the threshold between a spatial practitioner, a researcher, a theoretician and an experimental musician.

Frequently collaborating with others, Benassi is one of the most interesting agitators of the European underground experimental music scene, since 2004 he is, together with musician Valerio Tricoli, the creator and promoter of the project Phonorama, a collaborative live electronics. In 2006 he founded, together with Claudio Rocchetti, the audio-visual duo OLYVETTY.



Riccardo Benassi, Attimi Fondamentali (2011)

Riccardo Benassi, collective prearrangement, variable countdown (2010)

Riccardo Benassi, Techno-Casa (2013)

Riccardo Benassi, Techno-Casa (2013)



António Contador

“As performer and visual artist, my process has to do with poor transmission: linked to orality, my readings and sound pieces have little or no associated images, and when there is a recording, it isn’t meant to be durable. My performative gestures are often self-referential and resemble picaresque tributes – the derived visual objects are just precarious physical evidence. I remain attached to life at ground level and the ordinary stories told and finally forgotten.”

With these words António Contador (*1971, Vitry-sur-Seine, lives in Paris) describes his practice, which is based not in the production of objects but in the activation of events and situations. Contador often uses materials and data from the past, such as photographs, films, audio fragments, upon which he overlays with a very particular process of subjectivation in which the alien and unknown often become familiar and interiorized.

Interested in cultural memory as much as in the immaterial value of material culture, throughout his works, projects and performances, António Contador celebrates, tests and observes the relationships between individuals and how they shape narratives and condition the transmissions of all sorts of information.



 António Contador, Je n’y suis pour rien, performance (2012)

António Contador, Rien de ce qu’on a pu te dire / Taxinomie cabossée de la lettre d’amour en X vignettes, performance (2013)

António Contador, Tu te tus, performance (2013)



Filipa Ramos

Filipa Ramos (b. 1978, Lisbon) is an art critic based in London. She has lectured at several universities and educational institutions in Europe and is currently teaching in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts of IUAV – University of Venice and in the Experimental Film MA program of Kingston University, London. She coordinated “The most beautiful Kunsthalle in the world” research and editorial project at Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, and collaborates with the Swiss Institute of Rome.

Ramos is currently curator of Vdrome, a programme of screenings of films by visual artists and filmmakers. She is former Associate Editor of Manifesta Journal, former curator of the Research Section of dOCUMENTA (13), and co-author of the book Lost and Found – Crisis of Memory in Contemporary Art (Silvana Editoriale, Milan, 2009). She has been a guest curator at several public and private art spaces and is a regular contributor to several international publications.



Vdrome is an online platform that offers regular, high quality screenings of films and videos directed by visual artists and filmmakers, whose production lies in-between contemporary art and cinema.
Each screening is presented during a limited period, as in a movie theatre.
Vdrome makes available a program of exceptional artists’s films and videos that are selected due to their importance, quality and innovative strength, many of which are only shown in the context of film festivals, exhibitions or specific surveys, being therefore of very limited access.
Vdrome is an initiative conceived and promoted by Mousse. and it is curated by Edoardo Bonaspetti, Jens Hoffmann, Andrea Lissoni and Filipa Ramos.


30 June 2017 / by / in
The Imminent, Becoming, Ever Changing

How do we see a place? As fixed, with a certain identity, or as ever changing, with attention for its potency, its possibilities that can also be failures? As purely local or as part of a wider context? Part of these questions are answered by John Steinbeck who in The Log from the Sea of Cortez states: “It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.” Being especially interested in the emerging artist, Steinbeck’s statement has become an important credo for both my curatorial and research practice.


So if we look at Plymouth as the tide pool, in it I discovered or rather, met the three artists that I have selected for this project that I see as on-going.

Sally Hall and Jason Hirons I initially met through their contextual work for Plymouth College of Art and collaborated with them for the project Platform P at the Duke in October 2011. I met Anne-Marie Culhane end of 2012 through her work for Take A Part and her project Shed on Wheels. Since then I invited her as a visiting lecturer and later as respondent for the panel that I led during the Public Dialogues conference 2013 in Plymouth.

What the four of us share is an intense appreciation for the small and local that nevertheless connects to global issues – from the tide pool to the stars and back again. We concentrate on the small, that what we see while we are walking, thinking, teaching, writing, in order to be able to say something about the larger context which will then has the potential to feed back into the small again.


In their definition of (a) philosophy Deleuze and Guattari state that it has a history, that it has multiple points of departure to which it returns, which it critiques, with which it overlaps and takes into a future where it will receive a similar treatment by other philosophies. This definition connects well with their interest in the rhizome with its layeredness and interconnections. What is equally important is a high level of flexibility. We take these notions with us in our way of working, whether as artist or curator, and are curious to discover their outcome in any place we encounter.



Anne-Marie Culhane

“Anne-Marie creates work that encourages people to sense again their own intuitions. She knows that forces shaping contemporary culture subvert or distort important human impulses towards generosity, gratitude and celebration. Her work draws those latent instincts into action, through projects that alongside their aesthetic power offer different ways of being in the world. This demands of her, in addition to being a visual artist and maker, that she must be a choreographer, creating scores and situations for sometimes large numbers of people to live in often over extended durations. Her work is necessarily communal – a word that describes her relationships with her audiences, associates, and human and non-human collaborators. Part of her gift as an artist lies in her ability to welcome others into the work. She brings people together into affirmative ways of living by setting in motion dynamic frames of ecology and connection.”

(Text of Wayne Hill on Anne-Marie Culhane)



Anne-Marie Culhane, Corn Mask

Anne-Marie Culhane, Diary keepers

Anne-Marie Culhane, Field sensing

Anne-Marie Culhane, Fruit routes

Anne-Marie Culhane, Fruit routes shed

Anne-Marie Culhane, SOW (Shed on Wheels) Hamwood

Anne-Marie Culhane, Walk out

Sally Hall & Jason Hirons – Driftingspace

Driftingspace – Sally Hall & Jason Hirons – is a creative partnership exploring the city through journeying and embodiment. Our projects involve walking, driving and lingering through the built environment in order to reinterpret the spaces and places frequently encountered or overlooked.

As we travel we are engaged in a mapping of the uncanny: whether on foot (Space Walk; Past Presence; The Overlooked Hotel), by car (Car Parks) or by bus (Round About). Using a methodology of walking/driving-with-camera, we re-map space through embodiment, narrative, and experiential interaction. We talk, reacting reflexively to what we see as we see it. Identifying and revealing the connections made through the temporal and cultural symbols of the city, we invite audiences on tours to speculate with us on new routes and meanings.



Driftingspace, Noguchi Spacewalk

Driftingspace, Past Presence

Driftingspace, Spacewalki

Driftingspace, Room 059

Driftingspace, Room 059

Driftingspace, Round About

Driftingspace, Round About

Driftingspace, A Certain Reluctance

Driftingspace, Overlooked Hotel

Driftingspace, Overlooked Hotel

Edith Doove

Edith Doove is a curator researcher, who after an extensive period of working in Belgium as a curator and critic, decided to move to Plymouth, UK as member of the research group Transtechnology Research at Plymouth University. No longer interested in curating a fixed space or within any given institute for a prolonged period of time, she focuses on a constant re-inventing or questioning of the role of curator, as collaborator in the first place, but also as educator and facilitator. Doove’s curatorial practice at the moment mainly resides within her role as a programme leader BA (Hons) Fine Art, Critical and Curatorial Practices at Plymouth College of Art as well as in her research.

30 June 2017 / by / in
Practice, Facilitation and Multi-tasking

We, at GENERATOR, have chosen three artists we would like to highlight as being symbolic of the ethos that has seen Dundee become a city more suited to the fledgling visual artist in recent years. Whilst it is no surprise that in a city so small all the practitioners seem to know at least of each other (and then even come to work together on a project a matter of months after officially meeting) it is no less pertinent to point this out as Dundee’s greatest strength: a collective ethos that makes a mockery of any notion of neo-liberalized ‘competition’.

Dundee is a small city located on the East Coast of Scotland. With an art school challenging the rankings of the renowned schools of Edinburgh and Glasgow, Dundee has a large creative student population – however struggles with an on-going battle to provide a sustainable environment for artists to practice within after graduating. This dilemma has in recent years inspired several artists to try to change this situation by dedicating their time to the facilitation of setting up affordable artists’ studios, creating new exhibition spaces and developing interdisciplinary platforms for the discussion and the promotion of locally made work.

These grass-root endeavors can only try their best to succeed in their ambition to allow Dundee to become a feasible place to live and practice as an artist. Outside of the global art world perhaps, there is another form of practice taking place – an alternative ethos that, due to the almost entire removal from a recognized art market allows for cross-organizational support rather than direct competition. Artists and organizations often support and work with the same individuals across different time spans, creating a personal and institutional network. Is Dundee actually at an advantage to other major cities in the U.K. due to its ability to allow talented artists to push boundaries and make work (even if less frequently than in other cities).

The artists that thrive, and perhaps do not get the recognition they deserve within Dundee, are those that manage to juggle the many tasks involved in both the creation and facilitation of art- as well as keeping a roof over their heads. The first part is obviously challenging – maybe even more so considered the lack of space available in a continually gentrifying city such as Dundee. The second part- perhaps doubly so- as nationwide economic struggles create a climate where any job is a success at all: never mind the ability to choose a job which fits with your creative time-scales. All the artists selected here by GENERATOR work numerous jobs, often unrelated to their practice, and their selection signifies what can be achieved with such little means and (more importantly) time at one’s disposal. 


Jo Helfer

Jo Helfer, in 2010, along with four other fellow artists sat around, had a curry and decided to take a niggling frustration into their own hands and set-up affordable studio spaces in Dundee. Four years on, this space (now known as TinRoof) is situated in an old warehouse, houses twenty artist studios, accommodates a small white space and offers a graduate internship. After years of hard work, Jo has continued to find the time to practice as an interdisciplinary artist and film-maker, working collaboratively and from a local context. She also works as a community artist for Art Angel and the Hot Chocolate Trust. One of her most recent works, ‘Nablus: Our Twin City’, is a series of three films that are focused on a exploration between the culture of Dundee and it’s twinned city, Nablus in Palestine.



Still Jo Helfer's work


Still from film 'Nablus Our Twin City – The Film' by Jo Helfer and Jessica Ramm, (2013)


'Tin Roof' web presence banner. Tin Roof is affectionately known as 'Tinners' to its inhabitants and members.


Sean Scott 

Sean Scott is another Dundee-based artist, who since graduating only a year ago, has thrown himself full-heartedly into developing a platform for printed publications in Dundee. Currently working between projects with ourselves at Generator, the Cooper Gallery Curatorial team, being a graduate intern at DJCAD ( local art school) and working in the edition department at Dundee Contemporary Arts, Sean can only be described as dedicated to artist publications.


' Self- published artist book' (2013) 


'Control, Mechanics and Balance', GENERATOR publication, edited by Sean Scott & Holly Keasey, art direction by Nicola Prosser. ( 2014)


Becca Clark 

Becca Clark graduated from Time Based Art and Digital Film in 2012 from the local art school with a degree show which playfully engaged with urban signage and the hidden codes of urban architecture. Since then, she has been employed as a cleaner and arts institution factotum, experiencing the very different sectors of the service economy. Her practice nowadays involves the creation of rough and ready black and white zines often documenting the mundane trails of her daily existence. Since 2011, she has been involved in the steering of the widely respected Yuck n’ Yum along with another five locally based artists on the Yuck n’ Yum committee. Originally a zine started in a bedroom, Yuck n’ Yum seized it’s function as a zine only last year with the organisation now re-focused on becoming ‘art label’. Becca will be actively involved with this transition. She also is the co-director of Ickle Film Fest- a hugely popular platform for video art in Dundee. Ickle is a self-funded project which looks to show the best artist films possible in various venues around Dundee.


' Still from performance' ( 2012) 


' APPLAUSE' , digital collage (2012)




Generator is a Dundee-based organisation established in 1996. The aim of the organisation is to generate vibrant cultures across Dundee through providing sustained support towards artistic practice in all its diversity and a varied programme of exhibitions and events.

Alongside the primary aim of being collectively held by those who wish to engage and support the continuation of the organisation, Generator hosts a project and exhibition space better known as Generator Projects. This space was established to allow creative practitioners, developing experimental, critical and/or contemporarily relevant work, the opportunity to exhibit. It is facilitated by the Generator committee, a rolling collective of volunteers, who dedicate two years of their time to ensure the continuation of this programmed space and the broader aspects of the organisation.



A by no means exhaustive list of artist led initiatives in Dundee:

GENERATORprojects – publically funded project space with a membership of nearly 100 local artists. http://generatorprojects.co.uk/

TinRoof- Set up by artist Jo Helfer and her friends, continues to provide studio space and opportunity for exhibitions. http://tinroofdundee.org/

Ickle Film Fest – well respected film festival. Annually occurring. http://www.icklefilmfest.co.uk/

Yuck n’ Yum – Moving from a zine to an art label. http://www.yucknyum.com/

GENERATORpublications – Currently edited by Sean Scott. Vehicle for critical writing and artwork. http://generatorprojects.co.uk/

On-site projects – curated by Jonathan Baxter. Engaging in various locales throughout the city. http://onsiteprojects.wordpress.com/

Plastik Zine – newly founded zine by forward thinking students at the local art school. https://www.facebook.com/plastikzine

NOMAS projects. http://nomasprojects.org/

30 June 2017 / by / in
Surrendering the outpost

In response to the Alternative Art Guide’s invitation, OUTPOST has chosen to present three artists living and working in Norwich, all of whom, at different times, alongside many others, have helped to shape the gallery as steering committee members, artists and the community surrounding the space.

Existing in the Eastern most reaches of the UK, a few hours train travel from the country’s political and artistic centre in London, OUTPOST’s regional location in Norwich is of key significance to the identity of the space. In 2011, OUTPOST was invited to speak at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London, as part of Ryan Gander’s ‘Night School’ series of presentations. Writer and former steering committee member, Jonathan P. Watts delivered a lecture, Surrendering the OUTPOST, exploring this integral relationship to our location and which we present here alongside the work of artists, James Epps, Robert Filby and Kate Murphy.

Ryan Gander’s Night School 6, 6th April 2011, ICA, London.

Surrendering the OUTPOST

An idea of a centre and periphery underwrites the name of the contemporary art gallery ‘OUTPOST’. Geographically, it is an outpost located in the county of Norfolk, a county without motorways, close to the coast. It is at the edge, sure, but is also peripheral in relation to the metropolitan capital London. OUTPOST is a useful name because it enfolds these two central qualities of its identity as an organisation: separateness from the metropolitan art world and isolation in a predominantly rural county.

Norwich has effective transport links, communications, clean tap water… A linear contraposition between centre and periphery is a powerful idea that has historically shaped England’s social and economic identity. It is a legacy we are still very much with: an advanced centre that irradiates light and a periphery shadowed by backwardness; a plentiful centre and a lacking periphery; a dominant centre and a submissive periphery. Entangled among these are the powerful and enduring ideas of the periphery as ‘authentic’ (local, free from the pollutions of the global market) and the centre as global (fake, bent nonetheless on producing its own authenticities). If anybody has a neat encapsulation of ‘authenticity’ I would be interested to hear it. It is not possible, or indeed useful, to reduce the exchanges between centre and periphery in a linear fashion.

Yesterday I asked OUTPOST founder-member Kaavous Clayton if for him disinterest in London was part of the initial design of the gallery: ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘at first it was an aggressive stance. I didn’t want to get bogged down by the relationship between the gallery and London. As I saw it London drained the activity away from Norwich once students left the art school. It felt like domination. OUTPOST gave it a focus and a community. I was keen to ignore London.’ There were important examples and precedents elsewhere. Transmission Gallery in Glasgow, for example, provided an organisational model. If regional work were to be relevant and engaged in current critical debates it had to be seen amid a bigger context; for Kaavous this too could be provided by peripheral examples. I asked whether the anti-London position was an ideology shared across all of the committee. ‘No,’ he answered, ‘we realised it was possibly not a good approach, a realistic approach, to ignore London. It didn’t last very long’. OUTPOST was born out of a relationship of difference to London, through frustration and aggressive distancing.

Some years before in Norwich Phil Gardner ran a contemporary art space called ‘Frontier’ in his flat. Frontier, OUTPOST — for some reason the artist’s identity in Norwich seems couched in the language of attack, geo-political boundary, terms of colonial occupation. Put like that it makes OUTPOST sound like a settlement of metropolitan advanced art within the regions, an envoi from the Capital. Yet, an important characteristic of the settlement community is that despite maintaining ties to its homeland, it is not actually under the home state’s system of government. Does it represent the centre? Become native? Get attacked by locals? Literature and film of Western modernity is populated by eccentrics, egoists and demigods permitted to thrive in these geographical margins. Forgive me for emptying the following examples of their political meaning… Think of Mr. Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the Belgian ivory trader who uses his influence over African natives to prosper; or Fitzcarraldo, the visionary who drags a paddleboat over a mountain in Werner Herzog’s film of the same title. In the humanities liminal spaces have been celebrated for their state of potential; bell hooks, with a clear political agenda, valorises peripheries as places for hybrid forms to develop away from the centre. These are only a few examples they suggest that all kinds of fascinating hybridizations and maverick things happen at the peripheries. How and why might this relate to galleries operating in peripheries? Distance from London might afford the opportunity to develop independent ideas, to move beyond boundaries? Perhaps intense working groups form more easily in small regional towns and cities in ways that are harder in the capital? Their exoticism can be attractive.

I recall reading a short sentence by the critic and chair of the New Contemporaries Sasha Craddock. ‘If you want to be an artist essentially,’ it went something like, ‘you must move to London.’ Probably it stayed with me because this essentialist statement came from a very visible agent of taste in the contemporary art world. I was a little taken back by its centralist attitude. Rather than paraphrase it, remember it through my own wonts and mores, and because by serendipity Craddock might be here tonight, I ran through search engines in order to be precise. Athens, e-flux, Frieze, Art Monthly… then I found it in my inbox, in an email from Standpoint Gallery in Hoxton via OUTPOST. It read: ‘Artists from say, Liverpool, Newcastle or the countryside, can be more cut off than artists from Europe; and years of decentralization has tended to hide the essential value of London to regional artists.’

This is a specious comment. It must be said that Liverpool and ‘the countryside’ — I’m guessing the British countryside (where thousands of Londoners go at the weekend to get away from the city — it could be anywhere as long as it is not London) — are part of Europe. Otherwise I do not dispute that London might be of importance to regional artists. Though to fix the echo of the imperialist logic of dominance and dependence I insist on swapping ‘London’ with ‘regional arts’ and ‘de-centralisation’ with ‘centralisation’, maybe editing it a little too. To rephrase: ‘centralisation has tended to hide the essential value of regional arts to London.’ The question is, are these regional arts compatible with London?

Jonathan P Watts, East Norfolk / London, April 2011

James Epps

‘The work comes through a period of experimenting, and exploring the possibilities of what an artwork might be. I don’t attempt to transform the materials, I’m interested in utilising the qualities they already posses. The works seldom refer to anything other than themselves, they are about the process of making.’


Gaffer Tape Piece, Gaffer tape, As exhibited in Just Like That, OUTPOST, 2014

Gaffer Tape Piece, Gaffer tape, As exhibited in Just Like That, OUTPOST, 2014

Sculptures (Pair), Wood, Electrical tape & Gaffer tape, 2014

Sculpture, Wood & Gaffer tape, 2014

Sculpture, Wood & Electrical tape, 2014

Sculpture, Gaffer tape & Perspex, 2014

Sculpture, Wood, Perspex & Screw, 2013

Robert Filby

‘My work is devolved from or compelled by the obtusity or currency of art-making as an effective means to communication, and is amused by a primary impersonal relationship with objects. I’m interested in objecthood, and the art object’s validity to those around it, including disinterested parties, and thereon, the ignorance or oblivion that we are dependent on in a state of being an audience.

To describe my practice as a whole, I’ll mention two strands that posit themselves as outside of my practice proper. Not in chronological order, the first is a series of photographed collages entitled Mood Boards, which precede and might preclude as-yet-unrealised works, since they are declared as works themselves. The second, after the event, is Work & Co., another photographic project documenting the made work in the attendance of domestic cats, which intend to offer a way of looking at the depicted work that is not according to our usual interpretive habit, and serve also to example a level of temperament that engages me within works outside of this remit. In each of these two strands there is an artlessness in their direct address of ideas, communication, creation, and audience; fundamentals within an art practice.

How I think about the subjected work can in turn be both limited and liberated by this construct, but between these ploys, which frame my practice conversationally, there is allowed a certain range in style; detached sculpturally-concerned works of a modest scale which move typically and formally only between the two- and three-dimensional.’


Ghosts, 2014

Exhibition view of Robert Filby, Piper Keys, 2014

Rug for Piper Keys, 2014

Uncompleted Burrow, 2014

Mood Board (Tongue), 2011

P.R., 2011

Blumentopf & Co., 2011

Kate Murphy

‘I make digital videos, recording my environment without seeking it out for the work’s sake. Using the camera as an accessory I film the way I would otherwise look at things but with the enhanced facility to zoom in and out. The panning speed is a match to how one might naturally flit between sights and moods. The video camera is led into action with hand held quivers, tracing the edges of things as objects feed themselves through and are fed into view. Presented here are stills from “Walking in the wiiiiiiiiild. Friendly familyyyyyyyyy. Runniiiing behiiiiiiiiiiind. Mmmmmmmmmaggot. I’ve never seen so many”.  In this video I sing to the things I am filming, the live audio revealing my focus and level of engagement at the time of filming. My own dull-mindedness overflows into an additional apparatus for making the video. The videos I make are only descriptive records of the time at which they were made. They are describing a live experience. In its display the work is formed. Unedited clips and finished videos are set together in the format of a looping showreel that is made on the day of its exhibition. The showreel holds the tone of a different live time. The live aspect can be felt in the work when watched. The feeling the work makes in the viewer, a feeling that is live at the time of viewing and can be carried and thought on after, is the reason for making and showing the work.’

Still from Walking in the wiiiiiiiiild. Friendly familyyyyyyyyy. Runniiiing behiiiiiiiiiiind. Mmmmmmmmmaggot. I’ve never seen so many. (Digital video, 5”43’)

Still from Walking in the wiiiiiiiiild. Friendly familyyyyyyyyy. Runniiiing behiiiiiiiiiiind. Mmmmmmmmmaggot. I’ve never seen so many. (Digital video, 5”43’)

Still from Walking in the wiiiiiiiiild. Friendly familyyyyyyyyy. Runniiiing behiiiiiiiiiiind. Mmmmmmmmmaggot. I’ve never seen so many. (Digital video, 5”43’)

Still from Walking in the wiiiiiiiiild. Friendly familyyyyyyyyy. Runniiiing behiiiiiiiiiiind. Mmmmmmmmmaggot. I’ve never seen so many. (Digital video, 5”43’)

Still from Walking in the wiiiiiiiiild. Friendly familyyyyyyyyy. Runniiiing behiiiiiiiiiiind. Mmmmmmmmmaggot. I’ve never seen so many. (Digital video, 5”43’)

Still from Walking in the wiiiiiiiiild. Friendly familyyyyyyyyy. Runniiiing behiiiiiiiiiiind. Mmmmmmmmmaggot. I’ve never seen so many. (Digital video, 5”43’)

Still from Walking in the wiiiiiiiiild. Friendly familyyyyyyyyy. Runniiiing behiiiiiiiiiiind. Mmmmmmmmmaggot. I’ve never seen so many. (Digital video, 5”43’)

Walking in the wiiiiiiiiild. Friendly familyyyyyyyyy. Runniiiing behiiiiiiiiiiind. Mmmmmmmmmaggot. I’ve never seen so many from Kate on Vimeo.


OUTPOST is an artist-run gallery, based in Norwich, committed to the uncompromising presentation of contemporary art. Since its founding in 2004, OUTPOST has established itself as a leading centre for artist activity in the east of England, producing a core programme of 11 exhibitions per year. Exhibitions open on the 1st of the month, February to December, 6 – 9pm and run from the 2nd to 21st of the month, February to December, 12 – 6pm. Alongside, OUTPOST operates a programme of offsite projects, events and artist editions, as well as running OUTPOST studios, providing affordable studio spaces for close to 100 artists working in Norwich.

OUTPOST is supported by a diverse membership of creative practitioners, providing a critical network for a community inside and beyond Norwich, who in turn create a diverse, informed, and engaged gallery audience. The gallery is run by a rotating Steering Committee of up to eight members, drawn from the membership, with a limit of two years service.


30 June 2017 / by / in