Pairings: Conversations and Collaborations
22.03.13 - 13.04.13
Contemporary Applied Arts is pleased to present Pairings - Conversations and Collaborations, an exhibition which brings together partnerships of makers to discuss and share the experience of making. Curated by Alice Kettle and Helen Felcey, it demonstrates intriguing combinations which challenge our notions of creative identity and authorship.
The Pairings project stems from a simple thought: to celebrate uniqueness and togetherness. It places makers and designers together, either in pairs or threesomes, where each participant shares their own practice with another.
A process of collaboration is set in motion, which raises questions of ownership, tests recognised working methods, and negotiates how voices resonate and sing together.
The exhibition shows the evidence of these playful duets and trios and the in between conversations, where materials and methods are questioned or where different approaches are placed together in reflection or contradiction.
The dialogue between makers has given birth to work and ideas that redefine the nature of the individual maker’s object and established process. Glass is pinned into felt, ceramics are stitched, and objects are woven. Makers temporarily shift direction of voice and material; they expose and expand their working methods as they search for new territories. Intense conversations and critiques with their companions reveal mutual aesthetics, shared passions and new understandings of common ground. The subsequent artefacts or collection of pieces combine a marriage or parallel exploration of materials, of practices and creative identities which are shifting, moving and experimental.
The exhibition will feature, among others, collaborations by David Gates, Alice Kettle and Jane Webb, Dr Annie Shaw and Shelly Goldsmith, Duncan Ayscough and Heather Belcher, and Sharon Blakey and Ismini Samanidou.
The Pairings project originated at Manchester School of Art curated by Alice Kettle, Alex McErlain and Stephanie Boydell, and has included approximately 35 makers and artists. It has created links with a variety of institutions, hosted an international conference and spawned the publication ‘Collaboration through Craft’ by A Ravetz, A Kettle, and H Felcey to be published by Bloomsbury in July 2013. Some of the works included were commissioned by Stroud International Textile Festival in 2012. Many satellite projects and exhibitions have been developed by individual partnerships as a consequence of their dialogues. It is a project which mutates and grows, directed through the enthusiasm and experimentation of its participants.
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