Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Funky Victorian Welsh Performance Artists' Enclave in Llandaf North Continues to Provoke and Impress with Sexy Exhibits

When I arrived in Wales almost four years ago to begin my doctoral studies, one of the first places I wandered into was the old Victorian laundry turned into a combination studio and gallery, called Tactile Bosch, located in Llandaf, which I reached by biking along the Taff Trail.

We have a similar enclave in South Florida called the Bake House and I knew several of the Welsh artists after promoting their work at a gallery show in Manhattan, so I was keen to see what all the excitement was about in South Wales.

Apparently South Wales has a long and established pedigree as British artists' preferred place for living and working, going back to the 1960s art explosion associated with the Barry College Summer School, which Dr. Heike Roms has documented in her recent research.

Read more about Dr. Roms remarkable investigation here:

What's Welsh for Performance? - 40 years of Performance Art in Wales

When I'm lucky enough to be relaxing at our home in Miami Beach during the annual winter Basel Art Festival, my fashionable or Bohemian NYC artist friends tell me that if they moved to Europe they would move to Berlin, for its cheap cost of living and high standard of living related to the growing cluster of artists who have moved there from around the world, along with Berlin's great mix of unverisities, museums, and quirky neighborhoods, etc.

From what my Welsh artist friends tell me, Cardiff and South Wales have a similar appeal (albeit on a smaller scale when compared to Miami Beach or Berlin) for British artists who want to live and create somewhere in the UK that's both affordable and stimulating, but aren't quite ready to learn to speak German . . .

Which brings me to back to those wild and crazy but extremely talented folks who create and exhibit at Llandaf's Tactile Bosch.

Check out their latest exhibit, you won't regret it!

Exhibit background notes:

Trace / Taenu opened in London on the 23rd of May 2007 in the Woburn Studios, Bloomsbury, and ran until the 26th of May 2007.

Organized by MA students from the SLADE School of Fine Art, the exhibition featured those from the ‘media’ department, who work and experiment with photography, film, performance, video, installation and sound.

After the success the London show the SLADE collective retained a hard-core group of 28 practitioners taking the exhibition to Stolzestrasse 11, [Konstablerwache] in Frankfurt.

They will showcase a site specific version of the new work produced during 2007 @ tactileBOSCH from Sat 16th - Sat 24th Feb. Opening @ 6.30pm on Saturday 16th Feb.

[Pictured above: Situated in a reclaimed Victorian Laundry in the Llandaff North section of Cardiff UK, opened as a fledgling art facility in June 2000. Primarily used as artists studios and an alternative exhibition space filling that time honoured tradition of artist led space . . .]

Recognising common subjects of investigation, which had emerged in the preceding months, the general term ‘contrast’ was selected as a working title by the artists.

The term referred to obvious formal contrasts explored such as black and white and light and shadow, and regarding content- contradictions and exaggerations, fiction and reality.

After in-depth discussion emphasis was placed on the play with light, use of black-and-white studies and a sense of theatricality, as the major themes or interests of the exhibition.

The title "Taenu" [meaning trace elements or dust left covering remains] was developed, capturing the essence of the "quiet" statements observed in all participating artists and their work.

Showing experimental films, videos, installations, photographs and drawings.
The exhibition highlights the strong shift in creative expression and social sensitivity seen in the last few years.

Young artists are no longer interested in using complex interweaving, aggressive methods and shock tactics in their art but follow a more rigid, calculated and understated direction: although leaving traces quietly, they are no less determined.

The work appears "natural", its casualness is convincing, as art should not be any more exerted; but is volatile, surprising, precise and significant.

Since the participating artists originate from many different countries, it will be a chance to see international post graduate students evolve work in situ @ the studio before taking the exhibition up to Liverpool to showcase their endeavours further during Liverpool’s’ City of Culture 2008.

[Pictured above: An old photograph of the late Victorian laundry while it still operated, and before being turned into an eclectic-cum-Early-Edwardian-minimalist-centre for a local Welsh art explosion.]

Several participants intend to take the exhibition to their home cities.

Which range from Korea – Japan, Poland to Spain drawing attention to the wide range of talent emerging from the Slade School of Fine Art to the international art arena.

Trace / Taenu
An Exhibition @ tactileBOSCH
by the SLADE MA Fine Art & Media Collective.
Opens: Sat 16th Feb @ 6.30pm

If you go:

tactileBOSCH is located on Andrews Rd, Llandaff North Cardiff Tel. +44 07951 256255

Arrivals by train to Cardiff Central Station plus a local link up to Llandaff Station;

Local Bus #25 takes you from town centre up Cathedral Rd and drops right at the end of Andrews Rd opposite Glan Taff School;

Bike Ride up the Taff Trail but don't forget to pull off at Hayley Park [by the Tennis Courts]

Take a sweater the heating in the old building is funkkier than the folks who perfrom and exhibit there -- of course, there's usually a wine bar or cuppah to be had. Tell them I sent you . . .

Tactile Bosch Cardiff art Studio and Gallery Space

AIM: ATRiuM Intelligent Media

Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff

Cardiff School of Creative & Cultural Industries


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© 2008 Dr. Mark Leslie Woods

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