Grand Union is an artist-led initiative that supports the development of artists and curators and aims to establish and nurture dialogue between contemporary visual artists, and local, national and international art organisations.
Established by a group of artists and curators in Birmingham, UK, Grand Union is a unique project that houses eight purpose built studios and a project space. The project space provides a platform for a diverse and exciting programme of events and exhibitions while the studios provide a professional and secure working environment.
Gallery, Artist studio or collective
Thursday to Saturday, 12–5pm during exhibition opening hours.
And what it became is not what it is now, curated by Louise Hobson
- 6 September — 9 November 2019 *on now
Showing in the UK for the first time, the exhibition presents Entre recuerdos & remakes – Ejercicio de Memoria (2018) by Joaquín Aras, Cinco Retratos Digitales (2016) by María Agustina Fernández Raggio and El Cuerpo alegorico de America (2017) by Paola Monzillo.
Entre recuerdos & remakes is a long term body of research centred on the history of Latin American cinema and the complexity of cultural memory in Argentina. Navigating the logic of distribution networks, associated patterns of translation and also archival practices, Aras searches for lost films, soundtracks and casts to explore the ways in which narrative experiences or events can unearth, interrupt and remake film histories.
Cinco Retratos Digitales is a five-channel video made in the homes, gardens and offices of the last five presidents of Uruguay, the individuals in power following the end of the civic-military dictatorship in 1985.
El Cuerpo alegorico de America is a series of drawings based on engravings of the Americas distributed throughout Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries during colonial expansion and imperialism. The engravings formed part of a growing body of materials which mapped the Americas in relation to the beliefs and values within Europe at that time.
The publication and public programme will include contributions from Federica Bueti, Jen Calleja, Paul Eastwood, Kim McAleese, Helen Nisbit, Lorraine Ryan and Sophie Williamson. This project is curated by Louise Hobson and supported by Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales, Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo and British Council Uruguay. Graphic design by Cecilia Serefini.
Cooking Sections: The Empire Remains Shop - Birmingham
- 14 June 2019 — 6 June 2020 *on now
Building on a previous attempt to open an Empire Shop in Birmingham in January 1931, the first franchise of The Empire Remains Shop opens in Junctions Works, the future home of Grand Union in the historical Canal & River Trust Office grade-II listed building in Birmingham, in the heart of the post-post-industrial landscape of Digbeth. Conceived for the renovation period of the building, the Empire Remains Shop will take over the facade and windows to host a range of new commissions and existing works that employ food as a tool to assemble new sites and geographies, while exploring origins, destinations and exchanges across the present and future of our postcolonial planet. Visitors to The Empire Remains Shop—Birmingham can take part in the rolling programme of visual and sound installations facing Fazeley Street, the railway and the canal. The series of works aim to uncover Birmingham’s past and present relationship to Empire through culinary, chemical, cultural and agricultural extractions, inventions and interventions, while exploring other possible futures.
- Family friendly
Junction Works (Old Canal & River Trust Offices)
106 Fazeley Street
Creative Translation Workshop with Jen Calleja
- 28 September 2019 1-4pm
Over the last decade or so, the art of literary translation has been gaining more and more interest. Rather than translation being a neutral transfer of words, readers now recognise how highly creative and interpretative a craft it is, and that the decisions made in translation can be subjective, political and ideological.
As part of And what it became is not what it is now, this creative multi-modal translation workshop will comprise of experimental, accessible and enjoyable activities so participants can explore the approaches and considerations of a literary translator. Suitable for writers and/or literary translators, artists and anyone interested in creative translation. No knowledge of languages other than English is necessary.
To book your free place (capacity is 15) please email email@example.com.
Jen Calleja is a writer and literary translator from the German. Her poetry collection Serious Justice is published by Test Centre, and her short fiction collection I’m Afraid That’s All We’ve Got Time For is forthcoming from Prototype. She has translated over a dozen works of German literature, and was recently shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize for her translation of Marion Poschmann’s The Pine Islands. She teaches creative translation at the British Library and The Poetry School.
We are both invisible – Language between the self and other, with Sophie J Williamson
- 12 October 2019 3-5pm
Difference is inherently embedded in our sense of self. As we witness a swing to the right within populist rhetoric, delineating ‘them‘ from ‘us’ to increasingly alarming extremes, how might we navigate the murky, slippery space of communication and translation to build empathy and understanding between us? Bringing together perspectives from different fields and contexts we will explore language as both a divisive and bridging force through shared discussion.
Sophie J Williamson is Exhibitions Curator at Camden Arts Centre, London. She is the editor of the upcoming anthologyTranslation, published by MIT Press and Whitechapel Gallery, as part of the Documents of Contemporary Art series.
Memory as a contestatory force, a talk with Dr Lorraine Ryan
- 17 October 2019 6-8pm
Dr Lorraine Ryan is an international researcher in the fields of Spanish literature, memory studies, and gender. In her research Dr Ryan examines the relationship between collective memory, power and resistance, exploring the modes through which dominant memory is disrupted or resisted and counter-memories emerge.
In this talk as part of And what it became is not what it is now, Dr Ryan will present her essay Memory as a contestatory force, in which she proposes that counter-memory is restricted by the primarily national and limited nature of empathy, and also the loss of the subversive when counter-memory is appropriated by dominant memory. Dr Ryan will examine the potential for artistic practice to generate the counter-memory of the counter-memory, with specific reference to transmission and reception.
Dr Lorraine Ryan is the director of postgraduate research for the department of Modern Languages at Birmingham University. Dr Ryan was previously a visiting fellow to the IMLR (Institute of Modern Languages Research Institute) in the University of London (2014-2015), and the Georg Eckert Institute for School Textbook Research in Leipzig (2015-16). Dr. Ryan was a Birmingham Fellow from 2012-2017. She is currently a researcher in the “Looking South: Spain in the European Literary and Cultural Imagination since 1986”, hosted by the University of Amsterdam and led by Professor Shelley Godsland.
Screening of Dyfodiaith + Q&A with Paul Eastwood
- 1 November 2019 6-7pm
Join us for the November iteration of Digbeth First Friday for a screening of Dyfodiaith + Q&A with artist Paul Eastwood as part of And what it became is not what it is now,
Dyfodiaith is a video work that explores wild tongues and severed tongues, and the historic and future context of indigenous languages in the UK. Eastwood is a Welsh speaker and working in collaboration with linguist Ll?r Titus and composer Samuel Barnes, the narrative of Dyfodiaith is sung in a speculative language based on the ancient Brythonic language, as if the Brythonic language has remained alive, evolving throughout the centuries. Dyfodiaith’s narrative is thus essentially untranslatable, and by working in this hybrid future-past language, Eastwood is exploring the constructs of language, notions of otherness and the potential of multilingualism.
Paul Eastwood is a Wrexham-based artist with a practice that explores art as a form of social production and cultural storytelling. He creates narrated histories and futures to investigate how place and objects can communicate cultural identities. Eastwood studied at the Royal Academy and Wimbledon School of art and was the winner of the inaugural NOVA Art Prize, Wales in 2018. Recent exhibitions include: Dyfodiaith, solo project, Chapter, Cardiff; NOVA, Royal Cambrian Academy, Conwy, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Arcade, Cardiff, 2018; Segrgrair, Oriel Wrecsam, Litmus Residency and Exhibition, Oriel Davies, Newtown; Unit(e) Summer school, g39, Cardiff, all 2017.