Fantastic, Found And Fake For Stoke-On-Trent's Art Biennial

By Tara Booth | 05 November 2008
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An image of a brown sculpture made from food.

Babel. © Gayle Chong Kwan

Stoke-on-Trent is launching its first contemporary arts festival, Conjunction 08, bringing together a collection of national and international artists and a wealth of emerging talent.

Between November 8 and December 13 2008 more than 30 artists from around the globe will reveal their translations of Conjunction 08’s theme of ‘Fantastic, Found and Fake’ which will encompass film, photography, installations, music, performance and print.

“We were determined when we created Conjunction 08 that it had to be ambitious both in scale and in the calibre of the artists taking part,” said David Bethel, Director of AirSpace Gallery and one of the festival’s instigators.

An image of a room with an open door at the end with light spilling through. Thorned branches come up through the floor and up through the ceiling.

© Jan Dunning

“Stoke-on-Trent has a unique artistic heritage and is still a very creative city, which is now undergoing rapid change. We wanted to inspire both local people and visitors to view the city in a different light and put into practice the idea that art can play an integral part in changing people’s perceptions.”

The month-long festival will take place across a variety of venues from The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery to unconventional locations such as the Bethesda Chapel, an empty retail shopping unit and a public car park.

Artists featured in the diverse programme include Gayle Chong Kwan, Alex Frost and Ronnie Heeps, whilst running alongside the exhibitions will be artist talks, a panel discussion, guided tours and business advice for up and coming artists.

A kaleidescope image with three buildings and purple colour.

© Ronnie Heeps

With so much happening, 24 Hour Museum has chosen its five recommended exhibitons and events during Conjunction 08:

1) Jan DunningAirspace Gallery, November 8 – December 13, Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 5pm.

Dunning has skilfully constructed a version of reality in microcosm through landscape photography, operating somewhere between cinematic special effects and romantic painting.

2) LittlewhiteheadStaffordshire University – Film Theatre Concourse, November 8 – December 13, Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm.

Inspired by old movie scenes and subconscious musings, Littlewhitehead’s installation investigates the relationship between reality and unreality, between the fictionalisation of the real and the realisation of a fiction.

An image of a white room with strings hanging from a light into a box of green liquid.

© Jessica Lloyd Jones

3) Visual Tourettes CollectiveNear Area 23, Saturday November 8, 9am – 4pm.

Visual Tourettes provides an exciting live painting performance using a combination of acrylics; spray paint, stencils, collage and markers to create two collaborative pieces accompanied by a live DJ.

4) Ronnie HeepsBT Building, November 6 – November 8, 7pm – 10pm

This ambitious large-scale public projection of contemporary images of the city through a kaleidoscope filter will be shown on the exterior of the BT Building.

5) Gayle Chong KwanThe Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, November 8 – January 25 2009, Monday – Saturday 10am – 4pm, Sunday 1pm – 4pm.

Gayle Chong Kwan presents 'Cockaigne', a series of twelve large-format photographs based on 14th-century ideas of a glutton's paradise. Each image depicts a mythical landscape constructed from a single foodstuff.

For full details of all the exhibitions and events see the Conjunction 08 website.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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