INTERVIEWED - BRUCE DAVIES, CURATOR AND CHAIR OF BASEMENTARTSPROJECT
Beyond Photography is over the moon to be exhibiting part of the Beyond Photography Exhibition at BasementArtsProject from December 2018 - February 2019. BasementArtsProject provides artists with an utmost unique and comforting exhibiting space, demolishing the elitism that so many contemporary galleries hold on to. We spoke with Bruce Davies, founder and curator of BasementArtsProject, about bringing art back to the masses and the meaning of space.
"Tell us a bit about BasementArtsProject."
Born, partly out of the frustration of trying to find post-graduate exhibition spaces, BasementArtsProject came into being in 2011. At first, using the basement of a terraced property was a practical solution, but over the years it has become the cornerstone and foundation of an expanding practice that thrives through its interactions. Exhibiting at BasementArtsProject has become, mostly by chaotic accident, more than a gallery experience, it is about becoming part of a family, a real one that resides in and around a permanent art space.
Over the last few years we have been involved in projects that have gone far beyond the dusty brick walls of The Beeston Basement and led to a much greater visibility within a larger art scene. Most recently work from the second exhibition by sculptor Dominic Hopkinson A Study of Aperiodic Tiling with special reference to the 3rd dimension has gone on display at the 16th annual Venice Architecture Bienniale 2018.
"It's a brilliant Idea, one of the main things I love about Basement is that it has a community spirit. Can you elaborate on that?"
The kitchen, Living Room and hallways of BasementArtsProject stand as a proud testament to the work that has occurred at a subterranean level beneath the feet of daily life for the last eight years. The eclectic mix of artworld denizens, members of the local community and the Leeds art scene make for lively and engaging events in a part of town not known for its engagement with the arts. It is this kind of community building through creativity that we, as BasementArtsProject, support, promote and develop.
"Your exhibition space is a unique one of a kind experience, what do you hope that your visitors will gain from coming to Basement?"
Whilst there are many domestic art projects out there I am not aware of any that go to quite the extreme as we do; melding family life and art life with free, open invite lunch events for every exhibition. Here attendee’s get not only a home cooked meal but a talk and discussion with the artist about their work. The overarching concept behind BasementArtsProject is one that allows every person, regardless of their knowledge of art, some kind of entry point, and with our system of out of hours viewing appointments it means we rarely close our doors throughout the year.
BasementArtsProject takes seriously the idea of developing relationships with and between undergraduates, graduates, and established artists from the UK and further afield, none are exempt from the hustle of working within a family home and this warm chaos extends to those who come to engage with the art works. It is through the unique relationships that we build with artists offering advice, assistance, a place to work and exhibit, and often a place to stay that we are able to create lasting and meaningful partnerships.
"It would be good to talk to you about who your influences are and who inspires you creatively."
If I were to say that I were inspired by anything in particular, then I guess, on a sub-conscious level, I could say Alan Vega of Suicide’s account of the Project for Living Artists in Greene Street, NY in the late 1960’s and early 70’s is one that resonates with me.Over the last decade I have managed to maintain an artistic output working on collaborative projects away from BasementArtsProject whether organised by myself or others. A recent work involved being part of a collaborative sound project that was exhibited in Leeds as part of The King and I at &Model. Associated with BasementArtsProject I have exhibited at the Liverpool Biennial as well as in Sweden and Jamestown, New York.
"Can you tell us your thoughts on the theme of Beyond Photography, where is photography heading in this time period and how do you think post production/collage/rendering etc. impacts this?"
With each new advance in technology old techniques are regularly declared dead as the focus of attention shifts to more contemporary art making methods. Technology of course does not deny the necessity of the old order but forces us to re-appraise it and start considering it in new ways. Beyond Photography puts the question of technology and technique up front in it’s remit and ask’s the question how do you frame a world that is beyond photography, what does that mean for the art-form and what does it look like?