Time for a postmortem. BLANKSPACE recently hosted an incredible exhibition, cara b = side b, in collaboration between Manchester's Blank Media Collective, and Barcelona's Untitled BCN. The masterminds behind this exciting collab were BMC's Mark Devereux and BCN's Jessica Casey. The opening night was an exciting event of live art, some retrospective work from participating artists, beer supplied by SandBar and cocktails and tapas supplied by Sandinista (mmm @ the chili).
As the opening night kicked off the walls downstairs and the smaller studios upstairs contained some interesting pieces, but the main draw was the big open room up top. A raised platform was equipt for a DJ of some digital description, and a visual artist using the computer stuff and a projector aimed at a large blank wall. The same blank wall connected to a floor covered by painting sheets, and was armed with paint tins, brushes and a step ladder.
Against another wall leaned two wooden blocks supporting a large canvas. Next to this was some industrial builders spotlights and a bunch of painting stuff. Finally, on the opposite wall, a massive roll of paper spilled from the ceiling to the floor and halfway across the room. This was surrounded by a keyboard and drum set-up, and a guitar set-up, both amplified and with a wide array of effects pedals.
First to perform was Naomi Kendrick and her two accompanying musicians making wild effects-heavy noises on synth, guitar and drum. They played lost in the music, paying no heed to the drawing being create before them, and Naomi crawled around her paper stage, on her hands and knees, dragging patting and snapping her chunks of charcoal as she danced her improvised contemporary choreography. The result was a mesmerising performance and a beautiful drawing.
Next Xanu and eeeex began their attack on the wall ; armed with black and white paints and house-brushes they fought an ever changing war of monsters, fuck offs, laser beams and devil eyes. Improvised projections splash light on the increasingly less white wall, chasing, informing and disturbing the actions of the two painters.
Finally Takahashi's Shellfish Concern, combined live painting with electro-acoustic music, in the night's purest combination of performance painting and music. A blank canvas had been mic'ed up and the sounds produced - by paint, brush, water, splats, drips, dabs, pulls, pours and sponges – became amplified, echoed and distorted while travelling through a range of effects pedals and wires.
All three performances left behind a finished painting or drawing, however the performance was the real art; the resultant images are merely shadows of what happened. My personal favourite of these remnants was that of Takahashi's painted by Angela Guyton. Her work reminds me of Cy Twombly (although it is in no way derivative); aesthetically pricks my art-ears (and minces my metaphors) as well as being borne from a unique process.
All-in-all an excellent event of fine art, finger food and friends.