Curatorview [Alfredo Cramerotti]

Y O U at MOSTYN, Llandudno – Exhibition review in MOUSSE Magazine

Posted in nEws and rEleases by Curatorview on July 16, 2013

“Y O U” at MOSTYN, Llandudno

July 7~2013

MOUSSE Magazine



Rivane Neuenschwander, […], 2005



Július Koller, J.K. – Ping-Pong Club (U.F.O.), 1970 – 2007


As the inaugural exhibition of MOSTYN’s new programme of exhibitions, “Y O U” addresses, and dialogues with, the time in which it takes place. It brings together works by five international artists that invite or require your involvement, aiming to create close relationships with you, the audience.

“Y O U” engages you in ways that you may not be accustomed to in relation to your experience of artworks and exhibitions to date.  As it responds to you, and is subject to perpetual change and re-order in accordance to your activity, it challenges conventional codes of behaviour in the context of a gallery space.

While the exhibition considers the art historical background of the relationship between artwork and viewer, and its growing status over time, it asks, how do these works engage and forge relationships with audiences in distinctively different ways from any other works of art? How is the role of the viewer elevated and placed into the centre uniquely? Through exhibiting artworks that engender such questions,”Y O U” hopes to build an alliance between you, the artwork and MOSTYN itself.

In addition to the artworks on view is a display by the School of Psychology, Bangor University comprising cultural artifacts, documents and other items showing the connection between physical objects and our cognition.  In so doing, the intention is to place the artworks by the participating artists in a broader cultural and contextual field, and enlarge upon our engagement with, and perception of, objects in general.

This exhibition is accompanied by a solo presentation of the work of Keith Arnatt and is the first set of exhibitions of MOSTYN’s new programme, curated by Adam Carr, Visual Arts Programme Curator at MOSTYN, Llandudno (North Wales, UK).

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (Revenge), 1991
Jeppe Hein, Upside Down, 2011
Aurélien Froment, Debuilding, 2001

Regional arts venues: less out in the sticks, more out on a limb

Posted in nEws and rEleases, shortEssays/cortiSaggi [English/Italian] by Curatorview on July 14, 2013

Running an arts space outside the city is challenging but, once you realise the range of your potential audience, rewarding too

Guardian Professional
5 July 2013

by Alfredo Cramerotti
Sliced Eye, Rubiks Cube, Flawless Skin, Cardiac Muscle Cell, Orion Nebula-M42, Snow Crystal, 2012

MOSTYN works to find imaginative solutions that draw in national and international visitors (even journalists) while retaining strong links with their local audience. Pictured work by Nikolaus Schletterer. Photograph: Nikolaus Schletterer/MOSTYN


As anyone who has worked in the sector will tell you, running an arts space outside major cities is a hugely rewarding experience, not least because of the challenges that arise from reaching out to an audience in ways that can’t rely on a ready-made critical mass of potential visitors in the immediate area.

MOSTYN is Wales‘ largest gallery dedicated to contemporary art with an audience of roughly 80,000 per year, but being located in the 18,000-strong Victorian sea town of Llandudno and surrounded by a predominately rural area brings with it issues that an equivalent metropolitan space might not need to consider so carefully.

Another part of the challenge is encouraging journalists to visit. The three hours direct train from central London is less an issue than the bias towards reviews focusing on galleries and events in the bigger cities. Obviously there is a responsibility for media to cover stories of interest to as wide an audience as possible, but responses range from “I don’t know where I’d put it” (the same review pages you would put any show on) to “we’re fully booked up covering a major event”.

It’s not that these exhibitions or events don’t warrant media attention, but major institutions and blockbuster events hardly need the publicity to encourage public interest.

So, how are we tackling these issues? Like many other organisations reliant on quality of programming, audience engagement, media coverage and visits to secure funding, we are working on finding imaginative solutions that draw in national and international visitors (even journalists) while retaining strong links with our local audience.

A key element of this is an ambitious curatorial programme featuring world known artists from Wolfgang Tillmans to Elizabeth Peyton. We’ve also initiated a major international exhibition programme including co-curating this year’s Wales in Venice show at the 55th Venice Biennale with Oriel Davies Gallery and the Arts Council Wales – an incredible platform for all involved.

Upcoming shows will draw on our history by inviting artists to indirectly respond, through their work, to the history of the MOSTYN building which has gone from being a gallery for female artists when it launched in 1901 to a WW1 drill hall and piano storage, before returning to a gallery space in 1979.

Partnership is a vital part of our engagement work, showcased by linking with initiatives such as the Artes Mundi visual arts exhibition and prize, the biggest in the UK at £40,000. We are also part of Plus Tate, a major UK network which includes 20 contemporary art organisations outside London.

Building on the success of last year’s Plus Tate-funded Ninjas initiative for 11 to 13-year-olds, we successfully applied to be one of five national partners to be part of Tate’s Circuit programme, a national youth network for the visual arts. Funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Cylch/Circuit seeks to spark a long-term transformation in the way that young people aged 15 to 25 engage with art and take control of their own learning.

The demographic here is older on average than in cities, and we are developing ways to include those who might not normally visit a contemporary art gallery through exhibitions and events which have a cross-art form approach.

For example, our current show YOU is a conceptually strong group show (Felix Gonzalez Torres, Aurélien Froment, Jeppe Hein, Július Koller, Rivane Neuenschwander) that questions the idea of what art is: the viewer ‘produces’ the artwork through their visit. It’s had an amazing response from families who would never think to visit an art gallery, lured in with an event outside the venue during the Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza when the town was heaving with visitors.

On a marketing level, besides the reviews and articles on specialised art press, particularly helpful are features on magazines, blogs and websites such as ThisIsTomorrow and WeHeart since they are bringing MOSTYN out into the eyeline of the style and culture conscious nationally and internationally.

What have we learned that might be useful for other organisations in a similar situation? Surely, understanding that an organisation such as ours does not have a single, cohesive public but multiple audiences (including our staff, not to forget) who demand attention and have different ways of engaging.

This is not to say that we have to please everyone, but we do have to have a firm strategic direction and a flexible range of delivery via the three main areas of exhibitions, engagement and learning – equally important and each with a dedicated curator and budget.

It’s also crucial to seek and establish a range of platforms and partners that match our values and make the most of our programme in space and time: from local residents, schools and higher education to wider partnerships across the country and abroad.

It’s a long-term strategy, and long-term planning matters for our exhibitions, partnerships and funding agreements alike. Currently we are planning well into 2017 but potentially, a cultural institution like a gallery should look into society 20 or 50 years from now and then work back.


Alfredo Cramerotti is the director of MOSTYN contemporary art gallery in Llandudno – follow it on Twitter @MOSTYN_Wales_

This content is brought to you by Guardian Professional.

Exhibition review of ‘Y O U’ at MOSTYN on This Is Tomorrow

Posted in nEws and rEleases, shortEssays/cortiSaggi [English/Italian] by Curatorview on June 19, 2013

this is tomorrow

Contemporary Art Magazine

by Ciara Healy

7 June 2013




12 Vaughan Street, Llandudno, LL30 1AB, Wales

27 April – 7 July 2013


Arthur Koestler began his seminal ‘Yogi and the Commissar,’ by describing a machine he imagined to be capable of splitting up the spectra of society as the physicist splits the rays of a beam. The separation Koestler imagined is now arguably a reality, in as much as we have become more accustomed to regarding a human being as a statistical unit, as a collection of numbers, which constitutes what Zygmunt Bauman eloquently calls the Great Global Anonymous.

Many writers like Bauman and Claire Bishop question whether art can find a way of overcoming this atomization and resulting loss of sensitivity. ‘Y O U’ at MOSTYN is one of an increasing number of exhibitions in Wales, (‘Keeper’ at the Mission Gallery is another excellent example), which seeks to connect art, the institution and the public in a more meaningful way, and in so doing a new ethico-aesthetic emerges.

This notion is strikingly apparent in Rivane Neuenschwander’s ‘[…]’ (2005), which consists of a collection of typewriters with modified typebars. (Typed letters have been removed and replaced with dots.) Presented on wooden benches, the tactility of these old machines is accentuated by their titanium grey, tweed brown and faded topaz facades. Surrounding the typewriters on a billiard green, felt coated wall, are hundreds of dotty drawings made by the public. From the skyline of New York to a Louise Bourgeoise-style spider, it is clear that these typewriter sketches have been made with playful consideration. Pinned together in overlapping layers, they constitute a portrait of the people who visit MOSTYN. This approach gives ‘[…]’ (2005) an immeasurable sense of endurance because it can be reconfigured each time it is exhibited, thereby challenging the rigid and reductionist nature of presenting a people as the Great Global Anonymous.

In a similar vein, Julius Koller’s ‘J.K. – Ping-Pong Club (U.F.O.)’ (1970-2007) invites visitors to engage one another in a game of ping-pong whilst being surrounded by documentation of all the previous projects that incorporated the artist’s use of the game. Placing a ping-pong table in a small dimly lit room, away from the other larger works in the gallery, illustrates curator Adam Carr’s empathetic understanding of the way in which people are often intimidated by participatory artworks in contemporary art institutions. This ping-pong room feels naughty, like a playroom, an irreverent den of laughter and swearing, tucked away from the chapel-like white cube spaces adjoining it. On one level, Julius Koller’s work has a lineage in conceptual art that connects clearly with Yoko Ono’s ‘All White Chess Game’, but the most memorable aspect of the work is the fun of simply playing ping-pong, and the sense of connection that it elicits between players.

Play is further encouraged by Aurelien Froment’s ‘Debuilding’ (2001), which invites people to build Jenga-like structures using wooden blocks of different sizes. Initially stacked inside a single wooden trunk in the corner of the gallery, the blocks have since been scattered across the white floor by participants eagerly engrossed in the process of building their own imaginary dwellings, vehicles and towers. Like Neuenschwander’s ‘[…]’, this work will also endure, because each creation is carefully disassembled by gallery staff every evening, ready to be reconfigured anew by visitors the next day.

What is striking about ‘Y O U’ is the curatorial equilibrium Carr has developed between the ecologies of the institution, the participant and aesthetics. This is something Claire Bishop argues is lacking in so much participatory artwork today, because ethics so often tends to eclipse aesthetics. Felix Gonzales-Torres’s small rectangle of sweets on the floor of one of the naturally lit rooms of the gallery maintains this equilibrium. Shimmering like a small topaz lake, patches of grey gallery floor appear here and there in the work where sweets have been removed and consumed by visitors. The diminishing overall weight of the sweets refers to the loss of weight experienced by Gonzales-Torres’s partner who suffered from AIDS related diseases. The artist’s use of formal aesthetics consequently facilitates a reconnection with the rawness of our existence; and reminds us that even in pleasure we are always in close proximity to pain. This concept gains a further poetic currency in Llandudno, where under an hour’s drive away sits a decommissioned nuclear power plant.

The artworks that make up ‘Y O U’ provide an opportunity to question who we are and why we are here. When value is attached to these subjectivities, value is by proxy attached to the unique, to the authority of the first hand experience and, ultimately, to freedom. It is significant then that this exhibition is occurring at a time when a greater emphasis on social scientific practices is taking place. Carr acknowledges this issue through the inclusion of Jeppe Hein’s ‘Upside Down’ (2011), a telescope that presents an upside down panoramic view of the gallery space, along with a collection of devices for measuring light, sound and cognitive brain activity that were acquired from the School of Psychology at Bangor University. The presence of these empirical instruments highlights the way in which intuitive experiences can be rationalized, gauged and even controlled through scientific observation.

In the context of this show such a realisation is powerfully troubling. How did we engage with those blocks of wood, the sweets, the ping-pong? Did we follow a typical pattern? Was someone watching us? Parallels can be drawn between this experience and our existence today. For when we are at our most open, our most confessional and our most vulnerable in a public sphere (such as a social network), are we not also unwittingly complicit in surrendering the last of our freedoms? Under surveillance, our collective individuality runs the risk of being rendered back into that single archaism, back to a neat category: back to the statistic.

We know it is not possible to unite a split atom, but is it possible to unite the split elements of a society through art? ‘Y O U’ proves that it is – as long as art, the institution, and its participants remain in constant flux. This is how beauty survives. And beauty, Dostoyevsky once argued, is what will save us all in the end.

Keith Arnatt, Alek O. and Y O U exhibitions on Guardian Guide

Posted in nEws and rEleases by Curatorview on May 13, 2013

Guardian Guide

Friday 3 May 2013

Robert Clark find out what’s happening in art around the country



Posted in shortEssays/cortiSaggi [English/Italian] by Curatorview on April 15, 2013

AMA–Art Media Agency Newsletter 95

by Tanja Schreiner

28 March 2013

Cramerotti_Carr interview 95-en_Page_1Cramerotti_Carr interview 95-en_Page_2Cramerotti_Carr interview 95-en_Page_3





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