Tag Archives: Nottingham Contemporary

The Sun Cat & the Minotaur


This afternoon I took the boys to Nottingham Contemporary to see their new exhibition ‘The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things’. This is a curated collection of art and objects by artist Mark Leckey. Its a bright and generally playful place with a diverse range of museum objects and historic and contemporary art works. The scene stealer is a colossal inflatable Felix the Cat, its head in the rafters. One of the last rooms is mainly dark but populated by illuminated sculptures, creepy audio and light projections. I was very taken by the combination of a Nicola Hicks bull/Minotaur head, the Cern Abbas giant and Blake’sGhost of a Flea‘.

I definitely recommend a visit and look forward to going again without my little friends to herd around. But, saying that they are mainly tolerable and the Contemporary does provide interaction for children in their family space. For this show they give the children the opportunity to draw pictures based on the things they have seen in the gallery space and then chose objects to place with their drawings to create their own curated display. Whilst BabyJ seemed happy to put his head in net bags, both DBoy & GBoy did some drawings and we made our own display. Below are some pictures of our endeavours which illustrate the the Story of the Sun Cat & the Minotaur.












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John Newling – Nottingham Contemporary


So contemporary art is the new rock’n’roll, at least in Nottingham. This evening I went to Nottingham Contemporary for the opening of the John Newling and Piero Gilardi exhibitions. John Newling, being a ‘local’ talent probably in-sighted the greater turn out but to see a queue outside a public gallery on a freezing cold January evening is very pleasing. Both exhibitions are engrossing and challenging. I have known John Newling (through the day job) for several years and have enjoyed many conversations about his practise and hopefully helped in some small way in the production of some of the artefacts.

The works on display for the Ecologies of Value exhibition are loaded with intent & consideration but still remarkable as items with permanence and subtle resonance. Plant life gilded and revered, nature praised and science unfolded.

This short film explains far more than I can describe.

Being unfamiliar with the work of Piero Gilardi and only distantly aware of Arte Povera the work in this part of show was surprisingly bright & playful but still barbed with political criticism both historical and contemporary. From graphic prints for campaigns to foam sculptures of landscapes and puppets. There was even a ‘dance’ piece that kept my generally waning interest for this particular form of expression.

This is utterly unrelated but was the song that hung around my head whilst looking at the work.

…and here are some more picture.







Following what transpired to be a record breaking turn out for the opening last night, John Newling presented his #Riddler jacket and the Where a Place becomes a Site : Values event in the Broadmarsh Centre. Asking the passing demographic what they value, the aim was collect a sample of opinion which will later form the basis of a spoken word performance. My contribution: Children & Warmth.




Updated update….

This film is now up on Nottingham Contemporaries You Tube channel. Mr Newling is a genuinely nice man. It’s a pleasure to know him a little.

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A Slow Week

As the title says it’s been a slow week (or two). Rainy days, flat light, generally embedded in the office there haven’t been many opportunities to take any photos or play with some new apps.

At best these are asides, toe in the water kinda things.

First are two from Nottingham Contemporary last Saturday. The first is an external shot using HDRPro & Snapseed. The second is internal and done with 645Pro and again Snapseed. The Contemp’ is a really great building and artspace. The current two shows are coming to their end and the internal shot is of the dancing / growling / prowling medieval figures in the first gallery. These are by artist Francis Upritchard. A little creepy, a little funny & should probably behave better in public but impressively individual and on the whole well dressed.



Earlier this evening I went to another Exhibition Opening at the New Walk Museum in Leicester. We are supporting the educational programme that runs alongside the August Sander Art Rooms exhibition that’s on for the next month or so. Sander was a German social photographer whose iconic images captured the German people mainly during the mis war periods in the early 1900’s. most prints on display are from the glass plate negatives and are of utterly exceptional quality. It was all alchemy, science, patience & luck then. No iPhones, not even iPhone1.

The opening was attended by Sanders grandson Gerd who is in the first shot below. Just behind there is a Francis Bacon painting next to a Leon Kossoff painting. Impressive.

The second shot use a new app called Slow Shutter. Can you guess what it does? Both images are tweaked in Snapseed.



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This weekend we have A Night of Festivals in Nottingham. With a number of events across the city including Kanaval at NAE & a Michael Nyman premier at the Nottingham Contemporary if the rain holds off it should be enjoyable and interesting.

Last night so a Carnival Procession through the City. Starting at the Market Square the procession took an hour or more the circuit the city streets with music, dancing and some brilliant costumes. There’s nothing like a mix of Samba, Voodoo and energetic dancing  nd with the light fading I got some pretty decent pictures. Here’s a small selection from the 140 plus. There are a number of Hipstamatic shots (Big Up & Chunky) with the remainder edited in Snapseed and PSTouch on iPad.

This youth group had some great Voodoo style costumes and obviously enjoyed the performance.

The Cow girls had some great moo’vs as well……(sorry, I’m milking that one)

Nottingham doesn’t see this kind thing very often but it has it’s obvious attractions and I hope it’s successful enough to be staged again.

Some of the blurred and more abstract pictures capture the event really well I think.

This is the central motif, and a very Caribbean and impressive sight…

The dancers stuck with it despite grey clouds and strong winds, Nottingham has very few similarities with Rio or Port Au Prince.

This almost last one was shot almost in the dark and has mainly been edited with PSTouch. I’m almost happy with it. Almost.

…and it wouldn’t have happened without the band. “Music is the best”

So until next year here’s a video from ArtReachEvents from the 2010 event. Looking forward to the 2012 edit..

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Last week as part of the aforementioned day job, I attended the Opening Event for World Event Young Artists 2012 at Nottingham Trent University.

The event will be taking place around Nottingham in early September and promises to be an exciting and multifaceted festival bringing together a 1000 young artists from across the globe.

The event has been several years in the making and whilst organised by UKYA, The Arts Council, Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham City Council it is also widely supported by local business and an army of local volunteers.

I had the opportunity last year to be involved with Derby Quad and the Format11 Photography festival. These events are an excellent way of creating symbiotic relationships between business, education & local government all providing much needed platforms for young creative individuals and a presenting our local communities with diversity of art forms that might otherwise struggle to get noticed.

WEYA will include visual arts, poetry, dance, music and gastronomy. The launch event included a new piece by local writer and director Micheal Pinchbeck as well as a sample of 2D & 3D art and an excellent piece of contemporary poetry from the leader of a local youth poetry group.

The event will be the finale of the East Midlands Cultural Olympiad 2012 which will also see a wide range of new performances & exhibitions on show around the city and the region during August.

On Monday evening I had to stand on a stage at Nottingham Contemporary in front of 400 University of Nottingham architecture students and presented a gift to the winner and runners up of our sponsored Photography Prize. Nottingham Contemporary is another amazing venue in the City and has hosted some unique and engaging exhibitions since it opened. It’s also a wonderful building and gallery space.

Nottingham has done incredibly well over the last few years in attracting some major exhibitions, exciting premiers and developing the facilities open to local students and arts practitioners. I’m very pleased that the day job allows me to be a part of some of these and to provide various levels of support and sponsorship where we practically can.


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