A ten-legged beguiling, mysterious and playful creature of intrigue and endeavour.
Ten years ago, as AirSpace Gallery was opening its doors for the first time, Stoke-on- Trent was a very different city. David Bethell and Andrew Branscombe opened the gallery as a space for artists to make and show new work, and as the city’s first non-commercial visual art gallery. Since opening, AirSpace has worked with hundreds of artists, both within the gallery and in the buildings and streets of the city and beyond.
Here we take the opportunity to reconnect with some of the fantastic artists and curators that we have built relationships with over the years, by asking them to nominate a rising star for inclusion in the Decapod exhibition. In this way we are continuing with our ethos of supporting the next generation of artists, something which has always been at the heart of what we do.
Ten Years, Ten Selectors, Ten Artists.
We invite the viewer to celebrate with us, as we look to the future of AirSpace Gallery, and would like to take the opportunity to thank each and every artist, partner, friend that has supported us over the years.
- selected by David Bethell & Andrew Branscombe
Paris-born Leherpeur is a printmaker, collagist and performance artist currently completing his MFA at Central St. Martins. Within his recent practice, performative items inspired by common shapes seen in European museums such as: crowns, masks, swords, and sceptres, are crafted and then worn and activated during performances where he plays characters de ned by the objects. Alongside his performative research, Camille pursues an interest in iconography, collaging in large frescoes the international imagery found in museums.
“Camille’s adaptability to different situations whilst still being able to demonstrate his core interests within the works, and the range of media that he is pro cient in using, allowing a variation in scale and appearance, is impressive.
Camille achieves a balance between seriousness and irreverent eclecticism which makes the work engaging and approachable on different levels and a sense of fun which generates a feeling very reminiscent of one we had whilst rst developing AirSpace Gallery
(Artist in Residence) - selected by Adam James
Hamish MacPherson is a choreographer who makes performances, installations, workshops, games, writings, images and other things. His work often deals with dance and choreography as technologies for being and thinking together with other people. Hamish is interested in revealing the embodied aspects of systems like politics and philosophy that might otherwise appear abstract or neutral. He operates from a heterosexual, white, cis-male perspective.
Hamish Macpherson will be artist-in-residence throughout the 4 week exhibition working towards nalising a brand new piece of work to be shown at a later date.
“I met Hamish MacPherson running around in a triangular pattern whilst performing together for Tino Segahl’s ‘These Associations’ at the Tate. As an artist, Hamish’s work stuck a chord with me due to its poetic marriage between choreography, politics and play. Hamish and I have worked together on a number of projects exploring non- verbal storytelling, proto-politics and the nature of physical and social movement. I felt it might be an interesting step to re-frame his working mythology within a gallery context. We both have an interest in working with groups, how you bring people together and what happens when you change the mode of conversation. His discursive practice involving different groups from around the city will open up an interesting dialogue between Stoke and AirSpace
.” Adam James
- selected by Mishka Henner & Liz Lock
Kevin Boniface lives and works in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. His work is an ongoing journal realised primarily through text, film and photography.
“I’m collecting things. I used to say I wrote everything down because I didn’t want to miss anything; because I didn’t know which thing would turn out to be an important thing and which thing was just a thing. Now I think I’ve realised that things are as important as you want them to be
“Kevin Boniface’s dedication to recording the idiosyncratic minutiae of life around him is a thing to behold. At first glance, his often hilarious writing appears to be a random collection of seemingly insignificant fragments of things seen or overheard. But behind each of these is a compelling backstory of a region and a country that we’re left piecing together. Though best known for his writing, Kevin applies a similar method to his paintings and short lms. Whatever he turns his hand to, his observational scraps collectively make a grand statement about who and where we are
.” Mishka Henner
- selected by Neil Brownsword
Born in 1981 in Seoul, Korea, Juree Kim majored in sculpture at Kyung Hee University. She had her rst solo show in 2005 at Ga Gallery, and in 2011, Kim was invited to show at The Second Chongging Asia Young Artist Biennale. Working with paint, sculpture and lm, Juree Kim’s work explores themes of temporality and ephemera in particular in concern to her social and economic surroundings.
“I first encountered Juree Kim’s work through her Hwigyong (disappearing landscape) projects shown at biennales in both Taiwan and Korea.
I was struck by the painstaking craft imbued in these raw clay facsimiles and their ability to arrest the viewer through their subsequent time based destruction. These powerful symbolic gestures demonstrate her capacity to harness the poetics of a material’s ephemeral language to convey socio- political narratives that transcend their immediate cultural context. Kim’s observations upon the wholesale destruction of regions within Eastern Seoul due to gentri cation, and the displacement of communities who can no longer afford to live in such areas, strikes a potent universal chord
.” - Neil Brownsword
- selected by Doyle & Mallinson
Jessica Thornton’s work explores the differences between culture and nature, investigating the way that our understanding of nature is changing. With our effects on nature becoming more and more apparent in contemporary times, her work comments on how we can attempt to co-exist. By engaging audiences with synthesised interactions, the absurdity in our continued attempts to dominate and domesticate is thrown into question.
“Jessica’s interest in the manmade versus the natural, culture versus nature or humankinds dependence/coexistence with the environment seemed to slot in nicely to what appears to be
a recurring theme in the Airspace curatorial program. The use of humour and the absurd is extremely appealing to Shaun and I, but also enables Jessica to tackle some of the bigger issues the powers that be would rather sweep under the carpet. Jessica is also unafraid of embracing failure and the happy (or not so) accident to help expose, illuminate or ridicule mans ongoing farcical attempt to dominate and domesticate the natural world. Surely this is one of the roles of the contemporary artist and a standpoint that should be applauded and actively encouraged
”. - Mally Mallinson
- selected by Jo Coupe
Currently a Fine Art undergraduate at Newcastle University, Olivia Turner’s practice encompasses sculpture, video, performance and drawing. Her work is deeply rooted within the idea of knowledge gained through making. Turner’s presence is felt throughout her work, gaining elemental understandings of material and matter through the haptic, primitive validations of touch and observation.
“What I love about Olivia’s work is the way she explores matter - the physical connection with her material is intense and feels like an insistence that we look deeper. Things dug from the earth are researched, interrogated and handled, meaning extracted by continual processing and distillation. There is something between the frenzied and forensic in her approach, a total absorption in the matter that makes up the world and I wondered if this work might have a particular resonance with the strong history of material culture in Stoke-on- Trent.
” - Jo Coupe
- selected by Rich White
Bristol-based, Jo Lathwood has developed a highly experimental, site-specific, play-filled sculpture and installation based practice, driven by a curiosity of how things are fabricated. Lathwood uses a wide variety of materials to educate and reveal forgotten, or sometimes re-appropriated, techniques. Her alchemical practice varies from experiments with making her own bronze to developing a methodology to cast with tree resin.
“I met Jo in 2008 when we were exhibiting in a group show in Manchester. We share an interest in responding to spaces and locations through sculpture and installation - plus a love of using cardboard. I chose Jo because she is refreshingly honest in the way she uses materials and processes. She also gifts the viewer with a sense of adventure and participation as you are often required involve yourself in a physical way to thoroughly engage with the work. Jo deserves to be much more widely known
.” - Rich White
- selected by Sevie Tsampalla
Dave Evans’ mixed media works explore how simple, unadorned materials can be processed to produce evocative and unpredictable results – even to the artist himself. Learning lessons from the history of science ction and its inability to correctly predict the future (and it’s on-going attempts to try), Evans eschews the usual projective way of trying to ‘realise’ ideas in favour of the uncertainty of repetitive manipulation of blank, passive materials over indeterminately long periods of time. Evans is interested in how we are part of a uni ed whole, carrying with us internalised complex versions of these things, behaviours buried deep in the geology of our chromosomes, constellations of memories, all of which continue to shift in new and unique ways.
"I am interested in the ways Dave Evans’ practice addresses different modes of temporality. In series of works, lightweight materials such as paper and tinfoil are shaped by repetition and compression, to create objects that communicate different time scales both through physical properties and processes of making. I am curious to see how his recent research in digital ways for visualising data and experiencing time will unfold. Taking as starting points the bulk image downloader or the progress bar, Evans investigates how his own motion or interaction with an object or digital tool can create possibilities to iterate the linear or successive, and introduce variability.
" - Sevie Tsampalla
- selected by Campbell Works
Brighton-based Alex Dipple works with collage, painting, print and performance, making work which questions the intelligibility of the everyday in contemporary experience.
“Instead of occupying literal space, we now live in media space, a state that lacks specific formal, territorial or social definition. Narratives are developed which run through society and it’s cultural products. News media is a dangerous blind spot of understanding in which deeply enfolded information slips past, largely unchallenged
“Campbell Works selected Alex Dipple for this ten year anniversary show, as her work is formed by inquiry and questioning, a process that chimes with AirSpace Gallery. Dipple’s work exposes the structures of media systems and the frameworks determining what ends up in print. Fascinated by the apparent willingness and unconscious acceptance of what is served up on a daily basis, Dipple’s work challenges the human bias that inevitably creeps into both the writing and selection of what stories get told or ignored. Her more recent work expands this research by exploring a space that exists between the individual and the pervasive media space that we increasingly inhabit
.” Harriet Murray
, Campbell Works
- selected by Emily Speed
York-based Olive Jones’ current practice centres around myths, structures and hierarchies constructed within society and tracing a line historically, particularly from a feminist perspective. And in particular, detachments and uni cations between nature and culture, the body, the self and society, and how within an ever digitalised age, meaning, the notion of ‘genuine’ is eroded and seeps into multiple discourses; cliches, platitudes, a viscous ooze of meaning and nonsense.
“Olive inhabits a curious and compelling world of formlessness, squirming bodies, succulents, bungalows, oil-slicked muscles and tender moments with found objects. The fragments she presents can seem modest or odd, but thoughtful and playful connections are revealed between her carefully chosen forms. I nominated Olive for Decapod because I always want to see more of her work and I never know where she will go next. I hope this exhibition with AirSpace, on their tenth birthday, will be the start of a fruitful relationship, as I’ve been lucky to have with the gallery in the last few years
.” - Emily Speed
March 4th 6pm-9pm
Special Guest Performance - Martin Creed
After opening AirSpace Gallery in 2006, Martin Creed returns to play new music, including songs from his recent album Prisoner of Rhythm
‘Like something between Steve Reich and The Ramones
’ - The Guardian
Over the past two-and-a-half decades, Turner Prize-winning artist and musician Martin Creed has cut an extraordinary path through the arts with his non- conformist approach and meditations on the invisible structures that shape our lives. As with Martin’s art work, his music is minimalist and hard-hitting, yet full of wit and surprise.’
The Artist Soup Kitchen
The Artist-Led - Then, Now and Next.
Resource Room 2 April
For the Artist Soup Kitchen we invite original AirSpace Directors David Bethell and Andrew Branscombe to re ect on the organisation’s history over ten years. We will consider how the precarious nature of artist led organisations can be turned into a positive, and how to ensure activity is sustained and ethical while working in these contexts. Discussion will focus around the role of artist led organisations within the places that they occupy, and will invite representatives of artist-led spaces nationally, to join the discussion about the future of AirSpace and spaces like it. The discussion will be filmed and shared on the AirSpace Gallery website.
Brighter Futures Photography Project
Resource Room 4 -19 March
Brighter Futures has worked in partnership with Appetite and photographer Dan Burwood, from Some Cities CIC based in Birmingham, to deliver a 6 week photography course. Each week a different aspect of digital photography was covered, including portraiture, visual storytelling, and close up photography alongside discussion of technical and interpersonal approaches to exploring the city on foot as photographers.
The result is a photographic exhibition comprising selections of course participants’ photography in screen and wall based installations, reflecting the breadth of approaches adopted over the 6 weeks.