Artist and PAC Home member, Rosie King reviews her experience in Cardiff as a part of the Artes Mundi 7 Away Day which she visited with travel support from PAC Home, Plymouth Arts Centre’s artist support network.
On Saturday 18th February myself and a group of PAC home members crossed the bridge to Cardiff for a whirlwind tour of Artes Mundi 7 and inspiring artist studios, plus the obligatory welsh cake.
First up was the Artes Mundi 7 exhibition at the National Museum. Film was predominant throughout the exhibition and Bedwyr Williams and John Akomfrah stood out for delivering two sharply different, but mesmerising pieces. Williams fills a room with Tyrrau Mawr (Big Towers), which uses matte painting, a cinematic effect, to show a new city in Cadair Idris, North Wales. Akomfrah presents Auto Da Fé, a chillingly poignant split screen film that encompasses eight interconnected mass migrations with the aesthetics of a period drama.
We briefly popped into Arcade Cardiff, a small test space run by artists for artists, located in the middle of a busy shopping mall. Arcade changes exhibition every 3 weeks and has no set exhibition criteria, which creates a fast paced public space for artists to try out ideas.
In Chapter the work by Artes Mundi 7 artists, Lamia Joreige and Nástio Mosquito, lacked the emotional and aesthetic intensity found in other parts of the exhibition. However, the quietly reflective film by Joreige does compliment her installation at the Museum.
At Arcade Studios, linked with Arcade Cardiff, we found Gordon Dalton, Plymouth Art Weekender 2015/16 Coordinator, alongside his riotous paintings. This studio space was recently offered to artists by Cardiff City Council, as it was commercially unsuitable. Cough, cough PCC. Mostly painters, they are deeply involved in studio practice, as well as other projects such as setting up LLE Gallery.
At Studio b we found another familiar face in Kelly Best, whose solo exhibition at Plymouth Arts Centre was a 2016 highlight. Again studio practice was central to the artists we met here, with AJ Stockwell merging studio and art by gradually turning her space into a theatre set.
We ended the day with a visit to Spit and Sawdust studios and skate park, where artists pay rent in time rather than money. As with the other studios we visited the set-up of this space shows the many possibilities for how and where artists can reside. In Plymouth there’s few D.I.Y spaces, but much debate about the lack of studios in the city. Yet, our trip to Cardiff showed what can be done when artists think outside the norm and work together to create solutions.
Image credit: Vesislava Zheleva