‘by the book’ at International Project Space

Pioneered by artist, lecturer and gallery director Stuart Whipps, the International Project Space is a new exhibition venue at the Birmingham School of Art.

As is hinted by the name, the International Project Space hosts a programme of exhibitions that bring together international artists, local practitioners and the school’s fine art students.

Now entering its second year, the gallery has a packed programme of exhibitions, dinners, participatory events and lectures that explore what it means to be an artist in an international age.

Curated by international researcher Tamadher Alfahal, by the book launches the gallery’s 17-18 season.

by the book

Still from ‘Bahrain Poems’ (2017) Muhammed Almubarak. Edited by Hajer Ghareeb

by the book

9 October – 23 October 2017

ULAFA’A INITIATIVE is pleased to present by the book, a group show at the International Project Space.

By the book highlights structures that dictate everyday issues; the written or implied rulebooks of social behaviour. Individuals are cultivated through the way their immediate environment functions, and through the rulebooks given to them. These two frameworks tell us what is acceptable and what is not, ideally to create some sense of order. If one were to break away from the collective pattern; act differently, think differently, it creates resistance. Singular subjectivity steps out of a collective symbolic order and refuses to fit into a composed whole. These artists critically analyse the rulebooks of their societies, and where the line is drawn between benefit and regulation; control and conformity; traditions and misconceptions.

By the book questions the things we should and shouldn’t do.
The spaces we should or shouldn’t occupy.
What to destroy, and what to preserve.
The way we should and shouldn’t dress.
When we should speak, when to hold our tongues.
When to be part of a society, and when to be an individual.
We question the books we choose to go by.

Ulafa’a Initiative was founded in 2012 by Tamadher Ali and Nada Alaradi, who brought together a group of diverse Bahraini youth with various artistic skills who use art as a tool to narrate, change, and heal. It is an ongoing project that creates platforms for individuals to express themselves, and to strengthen relationships of respect and understanding among the different communities of Bahrain.

www.projectulafaa.com

Contact Us

ulafaainitiative@gmail.com

Instagram and Twitter: @ulafaa

 

School of Art alumni in ‘blockbuster’ V&A exhibition

Ian Emes, a Fine Art graduate from Birmingham City University, features in Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The exhibition, a retrospective of the British band, has been one of the museum’s most visited shows, attracting over 300,000 visitors. Its popularity has prompted the museum to extend its run until mid-October.

ian_26

Ian Emes

Emes, who had a solo show at Parkside Gallery in 2013, plays a major part in the exhibition.

The School of Art graduate worked regularly with Pink Floyd in the 70s, producing animations for their iconic animated concerts. The Dark Side of the Moon (1974), which includes the famous ‘time sequence,’ featured in the rock band’s internationally acclaimed concert tour.

Emes has produced animations for numerous other international musicians including Mike Oldfield and Paul McCartney. His animations are iconic of 70s pop culture.

As well as working with famous rock musicians, Emes has produced a series of other projects over the last five decades. Other works include a music video for Duran Duran, commercials and numerous television series.

Recently, Emes has directed Bookaboo, a children’s programme which is going into its second series on CITV.

Emes’ success has led to his inclusion in numerous group exhibitions in recent years at The Horse Hospital, London, and Ikon, Birmingham.

Current projects include a collaboration with dance artists Flock Dance in what is set to be a spectacular collision of cinema and live performance.

His work will soon feature in David Gilmour Live at Pompeii which airs in cinemas on 13 September.

 

What is contemporary jewellery?

 

Next month Vittoria Street Gallery hosts 20:20 Visions, an exhibition showcasing the best contemporary jewellery from the last 20 years.

20:20 Visions, a touring exhibition curated by the Association for Contemporary Jewellery (ACJ), celebrates the organisation’s 20th anniversary.

Some of the best contemporary jewellery from the last twenty years will be exhibited alongside work by the most promising upcoming contemporary jewellers.

But what is contemporary jewellery? And what makes it different to other types of jewellery design?

DSC_0634

Rajesh Gogna ‘Architect #1’ 2013

Contemporary jewellery is an artistic practice

Contemporary jewellery, like any other form of art termed ‘contemporary,’ is very hard to define.

Unlike most movements of art and design throughout history, contemporary jewellery cannot be categorised based on appearance or the materials used. As shown by 20:20 Visions, pieces of contemporary jewellery range greatly in their appearance.

Instead, it seems more applicable to describe contemporary jewellery as a practice, or a specific approach to making jewellery.

This approach takes into consideration more than just the appearance of the final product. A whole range of other concerns, such as social context and materiality, all inform the development of a piece.

A design is the result of many factors coming together including aesthetic considerations, relevant themes and suitable materials. These concerns all contribute to the variety present in contemporary jewellery.

Contemporary jewellery and materials

Materiality is an important aspect of contemporary jewellery. No longer are jewellers confined to use precious metals and stones but are encouraged to use other materials. These materials reflect the wider concerns of the jeweller and the desired outcome.

The flexible approach to materials reflects a trend that has occurred in all branches of contemporary art. Contemporary artists, jewellers, designers, musicians and actors are no longer restricted to a certain medium but use an array of materials.

DSC_0622

Libby Ward, ‘Made in the Middle’ exhibition photo

Contemporary jewellery and the contemporary arts

The joy of the contemporary arts is that the boundaries between the different branches of art are blurred – many of the pieces on show at Vittoria Street Gallery could as easily be part of a sculpture exhibition, a fashion show or performance as they could an exhibition of jewellery.

However, there are a few distinct characteristics that separate the work in 20:20 Visions from other forms of contemporary practice.

Though it does not need to appeal to a consumer audience, a piece of contemporary jewellery should be wearable (in some way) and take account of the human body.

Also, contemporary jewellery is part of a long history of jewellery making and has to consider its place in this lineage. Many contemporary jewellers are inspired by the history of jewellery making and design.

The development of a piece of contemporary jewellery is the result of a contemporary approach to making. It considers the appearance of a work, its material and style, in relation to broader themes and the world in which we live.

Top 10 art events in Birmingham

As the new university year begins there is plenty to see and do around the city. With exhibitions, events and festivals, Birmingham’s art scene offers something for everyone.

Parkside Gallery has picked its top 10 events and exhibitions in Birmingham this autumn.

Birmingham_Museum_and_Art_Gallery_-_DSC08779

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

I Want! I Want!: Art & Technology at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) is the city’s biggest art museum. As well as a large collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings and historic objects it hosts contemporary exhibitions.

I Want! I Want!: Art and Technology features some of the most influential artists of the last 20 years. But you’ll have to be quick to catch this exhibition before it closes on 1 October.

(1 April – 1 October 2017)

Connecting Stories: Our British Asian Heritage at the Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham doesn’t only hold books. It also puts on exhibitions and music events throughout the year.

Its upcoming exhibition, Connecting Stories: Our British Asian Heritage, will explore Britain’s 400 year relationship with South Asia. Celebrating Birmingham’s diversity, the exhibition will investigate how this connection has shaped the city.

(15 July – 4 November 2017)

Digbeth First Friday

Digbeth is a thriving hub of upcoming artists and spaces.

The first Friday of every month Digbeth comes alive. Live music, street food and entertainment fill the streets as galleries and venues host a range of late night events.

(The first Friday of every month, 6pm until late.)

Pleasure is a Weapon at Grand Union

Susie Green’s first UK solo show, Pleasure is a Weapon will combine sculpture, performance and painting in an exhibition at the forefront of contemporary art.

Look out for a series of performances, talks and screenings that will accompany the exhibition.

(1 September – 18 November 2017)

Saddleworth Moor: Responding to a Landscape at the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC)

The MAC’s upcoming exhibition redefines landscape photography. Saddleworth Moor: Responding to a Landscape showcases the work of photographer Matthew Murray and his unique approach to photographing the world.

Also check out the MAC’s packed programme of theatre, cinema and art events.

(18 November 2017 – 21 January 2018)

screen_01

Brummagen at Parkside Gallery

Well we had to include one of our own exhibitions at some point. And Brummagem deserves its place on the list!

Sara Kulman and Andrew Kulman chart the history of Birmingham’s buildings in Parkside’s upcoming exhibition. Illustrations, paper sculptures and animations explore the overwhelming sense of nostalgia as Birmingham is redesigned and regenerated.

(18 September – 27 October 2017)

Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz at Ikon Gallery

Ikon gallery is one of the city’s most distinguished galleries. Situated in Brindley Place, Ikon hosts national and international artists in a packed programme of exhibitions and events.

In its upcoming exhibition, Portrait of the Artist: Kathe Kollwitz, Ikon explores the life and works of Kollwitz – one of the leading artists of the early 20th century. Showcasing 40 prints from the British Museum collection, this exhibition offers a rare opportunity to experience the emotional quality of Kollwitz’s drawings.

(13 September – 26 November 2017)

Fierce Festival

Fierce Festival is one of the country’s biggest live art festivals. For one week it fills the city with theatre, dance, music, installations and live art.

This years’ highlights include Be the Change at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and live art in Victoria Square.

(16 October – 22 October 2017)

WalsallArtGallery

The New Art Gallery Walsall

Legacies: JMW Turner and contemporary art practice at The New Art Gallery Walsall

Not all of the Birmingham’s art is in the centre of the city. The New Art Gallery Walsall is one of many acclaimed galleries that exist across the region.

Works by Turner and the contemporary artists that he has inspired come together in a unique exhibition as part of the gallery’s ongoing partnership with the Tate.

(22 September 2017 – 14 January 2018)

Birmingham Weekender

Birmingham Weekender is the city’s biggest art festival, hosted by some of Birmingham’s most prestigious venues.

This year’s festival is jam-packed with dance, exhibitions, parties, curator talks and much more. With events ranging from an orchestra in a multi-storey carpark to an Art Rave at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Birmingham Weekender looks set to be a highlight of the year.

(22 September – 24 September 2017)

A Year in Review

 

As the 16-17 season draws to a close we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to look back at some of the highlights from the past year.

Parkside Gallery’s fourth season was a celebration of culture and design in the midlands as exhibitions explored the region’s central role in British culture.

DSC_5846

Michael Balcon: Birmingham’s Film Knight

The season started with Sir Michael Balcon: Birmingham’s Film Knight, curated by Roger Shannon, which celebrated one of the city’s biggest contributions to British cinema. Through black and white photos and posters from cinema’s golden era, the exhibition took the audience on a journey through Balcon’s life and his outstanding contribution to film making.

Richard Snell’s Midlands Modern followed, showcasing some of the most striking modern products designed and manufactured in the region.

This was beautifully complimented by Craftspace’s Made in the Middle which came to Parkside Gallery in March. Made in the Middle showcased the best contemporary craft being produced in the Midlands and introduced audiences to a whole spectrum of craft-based art.

DSC_3262

Cabinets of Costume

Cabinets of Costume continued our Midland craft theme. One of our most ambitious projects to date, Cabinets of Costume immersed audiences into a world of theatre and costume.

All Because of You bought some Northern Soul to the gallery as curator Sarah Raine explored the relationship between the pop movement and Birmingham through photographs and iconic memorabilia.

Later in the season, curator Theodora Pangos intrigued audiences with her archival exhibition, Cold Type: Paste-Up Graphics, which gave narrative to the decline of manual printing processes.

While Parkside Gallery was celebrating craft, art and culture from the last century, over at the School of Jewellery they were looking towards the future.

school-of-jewellery-black-and-white

Vittoria Street Gallery

Vittoria Street Gallery opened in November 2016: a space at the School of Jewellery dedicated to exhibiting the best of contemporary jewellery. Its first exhibition, In the Loupe, was recognised nationally and Vittoria Street Gallery has become one of the most recognisable contemporary jewellery galleries in the UK.

With increasingly ambitious exhibitions, the 16-17 season has been one of our most successful years to date.

The 17-18 season promises to be busy and challenging as we host seven unique exhibitions. With a packed programme of exhibitions, events, talks, performances and screenings we are excited for our biggest year yet.

Brummagem: Lost City Found

Work placement student Isabella Shannon from Swanshurst School takes a look at Brummagem and Birmingham’s modernist heritage.

Brummagen edit size

Birmingham is known to be an industrial, well-built city. With the fast decline of modernist architecture, Birmingham’s landscape is always changing. Brummagem: Lost City Found provides a personal reflection of Birmingham’s architecture over 20 years. The show, exploring the significance of Birmingham’s distinct and abundant architectural landscape, will take place at Birmingham City University’s Parkside Gallery between September 18 and October 27.

A reflection on modern day styles and architectural trends

Professor Andrew Kulman and Sara Kulman provide an insightful look into the way that Birmingham briskly reinvents and adapts itself to modern day styles and architectural trends. Professor Kulman’s work shows key parts of the inner ring road, such as Masshouse Circus, Holloway Circus and Paradise Circus through illustration.

Well-known structures in Birmingham, such as the New Street Signal Box, the Gravelly Hill Interchange and the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, will be presented through Sara Kulman’s engineering of paper outcomes. The exhibition encourages the city’s visitors and West Midlands citizens to question how Birmingham has evolved with the abatement of modernism.

Matching current trends through reinvention or demolition

Throughout the 1960s and 70s the architecture in Birmingham changed with the arrival of modernism and the pioneering architect John Madin. He introduced, what many considered as the “ugly” style of buildings to the city. Madin designed the old central library, which was described by Prince Charles as “looking more like a place for burning books, than keeping them“. In more recent years, there have been campaigns by champions of modernism to get the building recognised as an important component that defines the city, however this was to no avail and the library has since been demolished. This is representative of a pattern whereby modernist buildings are being reinvented or demolished to match the current architectural trends of big cities around the nation and the world.

Should we be protecting our modernist heritage? We look at Birmingham’s modernist buildings past and present:

Birmingham Conservatoire/ Adrian Bolt Hall

AdriAN Bolt Hall edit

Birmingham Conservatoire was part of the complex in Paradise Circus. It contains the Adrian Bolt Hall, which has an auditorium seating 525 people.

New Street signal box (existing)

News Street Signal Box edit

This building housed all rail operations for the station. The corrugated concrete is not everyone’s favourite design, but was home of one of the city’s most vital infrastructure systems, operating the busiest rail interchange in the UK.

Pebble Mill Studios

Pebble Mill Studios edit

Pebble Mill opened in 1971, and was eventually closed when the BBC moved to the city centre.

Post and Mail building

Post and Mail Building edit

The building was designed by John Madin in 1960, and had newspaper production and printing facilities.

The Central Library

The Central Library edit

The library was originally going to be finished off with marble, but the funds fell through and it had to be finish it with concrete. The architect John Madin was commissioned to design it.

The Chamber of Commerce (existing)

The Chamber of Commerce Building edit

The Chamber of Commerce was the first tall office built in Birmingham. John Madin was comissioned to design it.

The Old Natwest Building (Existing)

The Old Natwest Building edit

103 Colmore Row was designed by John Madin. The building has been vacant since 2003 and will be demolished soon.

The original Bullring

The original Bullring edit

The Bullring was completed in 1964, it was a striking modernist building, with a concrete façade and complex pedestrian access routes. The Bullring, along with other buildings, gave Birmingham the image of a “grey concrete jungle”.

The Rotunda (existing)

The Rotunda edit

The Rotunda was supposed to have a cinema and restaurant but the plans didn’t go through. It was opened in 1965. It is now occupied with a series of apartments.

 

Cold Type: The Years of Paste-up Graphics

IMG_0286

In today’s age, many graphic designs are made via computer software, like Photoshop, but before we had all of our fast and forward thinking programs, designs were made by hand and machine. Cold Type: the Years of Paste-Up Graphics is an exhibition that highlights the ways that graphic designs were created before our modern-day technologies. Theodora Pangos hopes to bring the knowledge of the craftsmanship to the public by presenting original objects that are now only seen represented virtually on a digital desktop.

The exhibition will explore printing techniques from the 1960s through to the 1980s. It will showcase a collection of cold type tools that were used to make a comprehensive design (initial page layout) and mechanicals. There is also a selection of artefacts to represent the designs made, including pre-computer graphic communication books and manuals, posters and original paste-ups. These examples show the artistry and expertise that is needed to develop prints, as well as the craftsmanship that went into creating them.

This exhibition aims to share academic and practical knowledge of production processes with the public to show the advancement of the graphic field. By delving into the tools of the trade from the mid-twentieth century, the show highlights the evolution from traditional to contemporary tools.

Get an insight into the development of the show directly from curator Theodora Pangos:

Q&A

  • Can you tell me a little about your background?

I am originally from Cyprus, I moved to England 6 years ago and did a BA in VisCom. After my BA I worked as a project manager at the agency with university. Now I am doing my MA in Arts and Design disciplinary practices at Margaret Street. The exhibition is part of my final project.

  • What interests you about the old style of printing?

Whilst researching for my BA dissertation I came across an article that was about the old style of printing and their tools. I was fascinated by the idea of making the prints by hand, because I didn’t really think about how there weren’t computers in the past.

  • What inspired you to make this exhibition?

I was intrigued about how graphic designers were working before computers and the article I found interested me about the different techniques. Graphic designers were actually doing one layout, rather than like 3 or 4 to show their clients. It’s easier now.

  • What can visitors of the gallery expect from your exhibition?

They can expect to gain information, to learn what graphic designers were working with before modern technologies. It is also for the older generations to feel nostalgic about the old ways of printing.

  • How has your time at BCU been? Is it a good place to work as a graphic designer?

I have met loads of people here, through the agency and the MA, I have also collaborated with loads of people. The facilities here are great and it is a good working environment. I have printed most things for the exhibition in the university. I really like being here, because of all the people and facilities.

  • What are your plans after the exhibition has finished? Are you thinking of moving it to another city?

I would like to combine graphic design and exhibition design. I’m planning on applying for Museum jobs, ones that involve setting up visuals for exhibitions.

  • Is there a certain collectors market for the artefacts and machines you have collected?

There are some blogs around these types of tools, so I spoke to some people that are part of the community of graphic designers, I have befriended some of the sellers as well, they helped me get the content for the exhibition. They have also given me more of a background for the exhibition. The tutors that work at BCU have helped as well. The artefacts are usually cheap because no one wants them and they’re vintage.

  • How has the old style of printing affected your own work?

Before, I was doing things by hand still, but I have realised the potential of the work I can do as I can use the objects I have bought. In the future I want to try and be craftier and design less on the computers.

  • How would you describe your exhibition in three words?

Nostalgic, creative and educational.

Written by Isabella Shannon, student at Swanshurst School.