An exhibition co-curated by Marcus Coates and Grizedale Arts focused on art production as a useful and productive activity involving Ruth Beale and Amy Feneck, Michael Davis, Fernando García-Dory, Marcus Coates, Steve Ounanian, and An Endless Supply.
The exhibition showcases artists who place themselves within communities as enablers, adding creative solutions, answering questions and creating sustainable and valued projects. A series of architectural wooden structures, jointly built by participating artists house activities including artist critiques and participatory events as well as active installations. The exhibition content and events explore the activity and economy of exhibition making and systems of use, value and exchange. The galleries become practical and usable spaces where the audience can participate, both as contributor and recipient.
Honest Shop – Endless Supply’s Honest Shop offers both a sales place and a shopping experience. Visitors can sell their own handmade useful items and/or buy other people’s.
Library – Visitors can contribute to an onsite library with books that they feel will be useful to other readers. The library will be built up from contributions by the participants and the public.
Lunch Club – Visitors can join the communal lunch; an opportunity to eat with exhibition participants taking place every week day between 1-2pm from 7 November – 9 December. Lunches cost £5 each and must be booked in advance.
Print Shop – An Endless Supply will be working in the gallery two days per week and will be on hand to produce online and print flyer/poster material for exhibition participants and visitors.
Life Tutorials – For anyone seeking advice, bring your life questions to artist Marcus Coates as part of a Life Tutorial every Monday afternoon during the exhibition. Booking required as places are limited.
As well as being a useful entity in itself, the exhibition reflects on a significant shift in artists’ practice in recent years towards an activity whose primary concern is not one solely of aesthetic sensibility and the production of esoteric artefacts for the art market, but of a purposeful practicality; an attempt to create a relevance and genuinely useful role for art, culture and artistic activity in society.
Marcus Coates’ work as an artist often uses ritual to offer insights into unresolved questions in society. His interest lies in how art can actively explore and answer valuable questions. Grizedale Arts’ approach, as demonstrated in their display at the Frieze Art Fair 2012, sets out to reconnect with the role of artists pre-1850, when arts practice in the UK diverged from its link to functionality and moved toward a self-referential culture, characterised by the making of art for art’s sake.
Jerwood Encounters are one-off curated exhibitions which provide artists and curators with new exhibition opportunities and the chance to explore issues and territories in the borderlands between the main disciplinary fields of the Jerwood Visual Arts programme. They were first established in 2009.