Curators in conversation

Edy Fung with Julie Louise Bacon

| Thursday 19th March 2020 | 5pm
Green Room, Flax Art Studios, Havelock house, Ormeau Road, BT7 1EB

Julie Louise Bacon, Artspace Sydney 2017, image courtesy of the artist.

Join us at Flax Art Studios next Thursday 19th March for a conversation between Flax curator Edy Fung and Arts Catalyst associate curator Julie Louise Bacon. The conversation will explore the role of digital technologies in shaping our experience of time and constructing impressions of the past and future. The event takes place in the context of Julie's current curatorial residency at Arts Catalyst and her broader work on The Habitat of Time research project.

Dr. Julie Louise Bacon is an artist, curator and writer. Her research explores the relationships between social, physical and mental life, as they are shaped through time and the interaction of technology and culture. She leads the international research project The Habitat of Time (2018-2021), in its fifth iteration at Arts Catalyst where she is associate curator. In addition to presenting performances and installations in festivals and galleries worldwide, she has curated large-scale events investigating the layered time of archives, media, histories and sites: Tone- A Meeting of Sound and Light 2014 , Signal-Art and Network Technologies 2012, and Per-forming the Archive 2007-8. Bacon has held executive, directorship and curatorial posts in art centres in England, Northern Ireland and Québec and acted as an advisor and consultant for organisations including European Capital of Culture Leeuwarden 2018, and the Arts Councils of Northern Ireland and Québec. She has published widely on contemporary art and cultural theory and is based in Sydney, where she is a Lecturer at UNSW Art & Design and a researcher at the National Institute for Experimental Arts.

This curators-in-conversation event is a prelude to the upcoming programme 'Curating Signals' - a dual exhibition to test speculative subjects with Flax studio artists.

Exhibition Launch

Our two international residents from Japan, Nozomi Suzuki and Yuji Ota will be showcasing work made while on their residency with Flax

| Thursday 27th February 2020 | 6-8pm
Flax Art Studios, Havelock house, Ormeau Road, BT7 1EB

Nozomi Suzuki

Light of Other Days - ‘The Rings of Saturn - An English Pilgrimage’

Nozomi Suzuki (b. 1983) our international resident artist from Japan, is currently enrolled in a PHD at Tokyo University of the Art and has spent the last year in the UK thanks to a grant from the POLA Art Foundation for overseas research. She completed the Visiting Student Programme at University of the Arts London from October to December in 2019 before returning for the second part of her research residency at Flax Art Studios. Selected solo exhibitions: 2017 "Mirrors and Windows” (Omotesando Gallery, Tokyo); 2017 "Monologue of the Light” (rin art association, Gunma, Japan). Selected group exhibitions: 2018 "MOT Satellite 2018 FALL - To become a narrative” (Kiyosumi Shirakawa, Tokyo); 2017 "Photographs of Innocence and of Experience Contemporary Japanese Photography vol.14” (Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Tokyo)

Suzuki’s work is predominantly research and object based, she uses photography to visualise the memory of traces of concealed light in daily life. In her work she aims to capture memories that are concealed in ordinary, everyday objects and use photographic principles attempting to make them visible. She creates works by applying photosensitive emulsion directly to things that have withstood the passage of time, using light and chemical reactions to physically fix traces of intimate memories onto physical objects.

In this exhibition, Suzuki attempts to visualise memories of objects which relate to vernacular culture in the UK. During her year in the UK she has researched the history of the things that she encountered on her journeys. In particular, she selected objects that have evolved with the invention of photography and from that have expanded human vision.
The exhibition’s title ‘Light of Other Days’ is borrowed from a novel written by Bob Shaw in 1966. Shaw a science fiction novelist from Belfast uses the idea of "slow glass" which traces the light of the past with delay.

‘The Rings of Saturn’ is borrowed from a novel by the German writer W. G. Sebald written in East England where he spent his later years. He describes the places he saw and the people he encountered, and discussed various episodes of history and literature on European imperialism with repeated derailments and associations. Suzuki references these contexts in her work.

Yuji Ota

Geopolitics of The Rabbit and The Hare

Yuji Ota (b. 1980) Japan is our current international resident artist.
He is a a visual artist based in Tokyo with an MFA from Tokyo University of the Arts. Ota’s work is predominantly object and video based. Selected exhibitions: 2018 "The Artists´ Kalevala, ECHOES FROM THE PAST | TOKYO | BERLIN | KERAVA, Kerava Art Museum, Finland, 2018 "Ongoing FES 2018" "Art Center Ongoing, Tokyo. 2017 ”Universal Nature -Rediscovery of Kalevala by 6 Contemporary Japanese Artist - " SEZON ART GALLERY, Tokyo 2016"Make a Kyougen" LAD GALLERY, Nagoya, 2017. "The Latest Work by Jackson Pollock” (AIKOKO Gallery, Tokyo)

Ota explores the theme of “untruth” or false information in his work. Ranging from a simple fib to a vicious lie, false Information has the power to influence our perception of reality, and so we have to be cautious about its authenticity. He holds an idea that all communication contains a kind of untruth in the form of fiction. By using untruth as a trigger to connect with people and the world, he searches for moments to reveal what can’t easily be seen.

He sees the potential of art as a trigger to stir things up to re-realise and re-define social values. He takes actions against the world by releasing his works and challenging the structure of society.

During Ota’s first part of his residency with Flax in 2019 he learned about the current state of the place and the people's lives, about the long history of religious and political conflict, as an outsider he grappled with the complex situation he found himself in.

During his research, he became interested in the differences between rabbits and hares on the Island of Ireland. Hares are native to the island of Ireland, and rabbits are said to have been brought to the island of Ireland by Normans in the 12-13th century. Hares appear frequently in Irish folk tales, but rabbits do not. The two species co-exist, but do not cross-bred. Ota has made work influenced by this research.

Edy Fung + Mark Buckeridge

Q + A

‘I don’t particularly like ‘real life’ social situations so I produce situations in the field of art that I find interesting.’

Flax Artist Mark Buckeridge on his upcoming exhibition 'Garage Song' with curator in residence Edy Fung.


Edy Fung: So excited to be in your studio to find out all the preparation going on for your next show, ​Garage Song​ at Scaffold Project Space on the 13-16 February 2020.
What should we ​expect​?

Mark Buckeridge: You can expect to see a three-piece band performing in the context of a suburban garage adjacent to a series of houses in North Belfast. The group will be surrounded by a set that I have designed and made including painting, posters and sculpture.

EF: The venue is a space renovated from a former garage. What is the role of architecture / spatial environment in your work?

MB: I often respond to buildings as they have a certain history and a perceived expectation of what the space should function as socially. I like to disrupt these expectations by placing artworks and performances that play with these architectural features.

EF: Why do social situations interest you, and how do we see those influences through the medium you use?

MB: I don’t particularly like ‘real life’ social situations so I produce situations in the field of art that I find interesting. Different mediums affect the audience in different ways, the viewer cannot encounter a medium without thinking of their own relationship with the medium itself and will often project their own experience and meaning onto this. I play with this when I make artistic situations.

EF: Give me 3 words that describe the process of your artistic production.

MB: 1, 2, 3

EF: You drink tea, you meditate and you talk about Yin and Yang. What does the word ritual mean to your art?

MB: Rituals are just a series of exercises I often use to situated myself in a place of not thinking.

EF: You've moved to Belfast after finishing your MFA at Sandberg Instituut. What hopes do you have about life and the artist community here in this city?

MB: Learn and share interesting conversations with people that exist in Belfast. Develop a small vegetable patch and continue making things.