Bluecoat artist alumnus in Arts Council exhibitions
The Arts Council’s eight new 70th anniversary commissions will include three Bluecoat artist alumnus – Mark Leckey, John Akomfrah and Kieth Pier.
Kieth Piper’s Unearthing the Banker's Bones (2016) will be shown at Bluecoat in October, comprising of three synchronised video projections in high definition.
The eight artists making new work are: John Akomfrah, Hurvin Anderson, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Ryan Gander, Mark Leckey, Katie Paterson, Heather Phillipson and Keith Piper. The commissions will open at different venues across the UK throughout 2016 before becoming a permanent part of the Arts Council Collection where they will be available for loan to museums, galleries and other spaces.
Bryan Biggs, Artistic Director at Bluecoat said: “Over 70 years, the Arts Council has amassed a fantastic collection of art made in the UK and I am looking forward to the various exhibitions over the coming year that draw from the collection. The eight commissioned works to join the collection look really exciting and I am particularly pleased that Bluecoat has a connection with three of the artists.
“Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey, a Merseysider by birth, curated the memorable The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things, a Hayward Touring Exhibition here and interestingly Mark’s new commission, ‘Inside Felix the Cat’, follows on from a gigantic inflatable of the Felix cartoon character that he created for that show.
“John Akomfrah also launched his acclaimed film ‘The Unfinished Conversation’ at Bluecoat, in 2012. We launched it as part of Bluecoat’s contribution to that year’s Liverpool Biennial, of which it was widely regarded as the stand out work, and it has since been purchased by Tate and British Council. There was an added resonance presenting the film first in Liverpool, a port with a long history of global connections and migrations. As traced recently in John Belchem’s book, Before The Windrush: Race Relations in 20th-Century Liverpool, there has been a much older black community in the city, and a history that begins with the port’s exploitation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, from which it derived its wealth from the early 18thcentury onwards.
"This was a history that Keith Piper interrogated in his first exhibition at Bluecoat in 1985, when he participated in Black Skin Bluecoat, a relatively small but hugely significant exhibition that marked the start of our gallery’s long relationship with British-based black and Asian artists whom we have supported as a core part of our work for many years.”
Antony Gormley, Arts Council Collection artist, said: “The Arts Council Collection remains the most important national collection of contemporary art in Britain and it is a resource for a wide ranging set of curated exhibitions that really reach out to the whole of the nation and expose very different publics to the excitingly varied and diverse work of this country’s artists. The objects in the Collection present both administrative and practical challenges and none more so than my work FIELD FOR THE BRITISH ISLES. I am humbled and honoured that the Arts Council Collection took it on and that they continue to make it available to communities all over the country.
"I will never forget seeing FIELD reflected in the mirrored pillars of an old supermarket in Colchester, under the perpendicular vaults of Gloucester Cathedral cloisters, in the haunting environment of the old carriage works in Gateshead, against the verdant landscape of a 19th century park in Wakefield - and most recently in a very fully adapted church in Scunthorpe. I cannot imagine a better collection for FIELD to exist in than the Arts Council Collection and it is a huge privilege to be part of it. I trust and hope that this important reservoir of the fruits of this country's unique creativity continues robustly, well into the 21st century.”