Saturday, 30 March 2013

Piero Gilardi and John Newling at Nottingham Contemporary

BFTF was picking Sons No1 and 3 from a Scouts trip to Notttingham Contemporary recently and was fascinated by the rather wonderful exhibitions Piero Gilardi and John Newlings work that were being shown.

But before talking about the exhibition, it is perhaps worth mentioning something about the architecture of the gallery itself.

On this particular occasion, unusually, BFTF approached the gallery from the south side and noticed that the concretework on the sides of the gallery had a beautiful lace pattern. If you haven’t seen this, it is worth passing by the gallery next time you are in the town centre just to see the beautiful and intricate design.

Nottingham Contemporary

Close up of panel

Even closer up on lace detail

Piero Gilardi
Gilardi was a key figure in the development of “Arte Povera” (poor art) which attacked the corporate mentality with an art of unconventional materials and style.

Much of the work at Nottingham Contemporary was made of brightly coloured Polyurethane Foam, carved and formed into the shapes of everyday natural objects.

'Angurie'/'Watermelons', 1967

BFTF liked it tremendously. In particular the technical skill of making the cartoon-like artifacts, the brightness of the colours used and the playfulness of the works really entranced BFTF.

A relaxing rock and pebble artwork

Domestic Totem, 1964. Apparantly, when originally exhibited, people were encouraged to lie under the work, with the rock swinging gently above them

Nature Suit

The staff explained that the works had originally been designed to be touched and that people were even encouraged to lie down on them. Whilst this was no longer allowed, due to the fact that the works were now quite valuable and the artists wasn’t making them anymore, the gallery did have one piece that was specifically designated as being “playable” do BFTF did !

This "hands-on" piece could be taken apart and the rocks arranged to your hearts desire

Gilardi was a very political artist and in the 1960’s he became a “creative facilitator” for a range of radical causes.

A political artwork used in demonstrations

Angela Merkel not happy

John Newling
Nottingham based Newling is interested in public art with a social purpose and has recently retired as Professor of Installation Sculpture at NTU.

The “Miracle Trees” exhibit particularly attracted BFTF’s attention. In this work, Newling is growing Moringa Oleifera trees - these are plants that have the potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development, and support sustainable landcare.

Miracle Trees growing in a sealed environment

But some of the other work rather went over the head of BFTF, For example the piece “Common Sense” (2011) is described as being :

"…A pyramid of “constructed soils” is stacked on top of a pile of copiesof the Rights of Man. The soils are made from composted copies of the same book…by composting Rights of Man… Newling suggests that it can nurture the groth of new ideas. The work also addresses an idea fundamental to his most recent body of work - that of humans co-existing in greater harmony with nature. Perhaps another revolution is needed, he seems to imply…"
"Common Sence" - didn't work for BFTF

New architecture 1991 (casts from cash points)


Related Links
You can find lots more BFTF arty stuff here

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