19 October 2007
Artists were commissioned to make temporary artworks at sites in Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire. The audience was guided around the town over one weekend.
Tim Bailey, Mel Brimfield & Sally O’Reilly, Lucy Harrison, Seth Kriebel & Zoe Bouras, Cees Krijnen & Greta Blok with Julian Maynard Smith, Simon Pope, Laura Trevail and Sarah Grange, Jessica Voorsanger
Plus a film and video screening programme featuring the work of Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Sean Ashton, Matt Calderwood, Alan Currall, Julie Henry, Rosalind Nashashibi, John Smith
Plus a talent contest and craft fair
Curated by Sally O’Reilly
Art is a discipline that approaches infinite subjects in infinite ways. Visual artists have represented, investigated and referenced all manner of subject matter, from psychology to horse racing to astrophysics to a lowly coke can. And the manner in which artists present their work has become just as varied. The dominance of painting and sculpture has long since given way to esoteric or ephemeral forms that no longer demand the sanctity of the gallery. Some artworks are happy to rub shoulders with the world from which they derive. In acknowledgement of these tendencies, this year’s Beacon Art Project concentrates on live performance, inviting artists with a dizzying range of concerns and formats to present their work throughout the town of Mablethorpe.
The town is a hard-working, hard-playing seaside town in the northeast of England. It boasts all the facilities of a holiday resort - bars, clubs, beach huts, gaming arcades, curiosity shops - while maintaining the infrastructure of everyday life. Artists have suffused these areas of leisure, learning and work, adopting and often adapting each venue’s usual function to new ends. A football ground, for instance, will host a three-sided match, a pub will screen videos that subvert sporting genres, a large walk-in shower will be economically converted into a police interrogation room and a public address in the Methodist church will differ wildly from the usual Sunday sermon. In a weekend of contrasts, artworks might be encountered quietly and thoughtfully in a dark or secluded space, or presented grandly on stage with a sense of drama or stumbled across in a pub or shop.
Although performance art has roots in avant-garde theatre, dance, activism and vaudeville, much of this has been forgotten since, in the latter half of the 20th century, live art placed an emphasis on the immediacy of the body and authenticity of the gesture. This year Beacon reflects a noticeable wind change in the visual arts, and has selected and commissioned artists working in live formats that employ a broad spectrum of formats and influences, running the gamut from brazen theatricality to near invisibility.
Various sites around Mablethorpe
Bailey’s work melted into the fabric of Mablethorpe, perhaps lurking on a wall in a pub or the library bookshelves or roaming the streets of the town.
Mel Brimfield & Sally O’Reilly
The artists worked with local football teams to recreate an historical three-sided battle.
Mobile Library, Various locations
Bingo callers were offered new lines to call on the Mobile Library bus.
Seth Kriebel & Zoe Bouras
Audience members were invited to take part in a Kafkaesque interrogation.
Cees Krijnen & Greta Blok with Julian Maynard Smith
The Dunes Family Entertainment Centre
A new performance was created that continued to delve into Greta’s divorce from Cees’ father.
Pope constructed new networks of translation in the social realm.
Laura Trevail and Sarah Grange
St Peter’s Methodist Church
A ‘scratch’ performance of arranged novelties. With Stella Scott, and taped telephone exchanges with Matthew Robins, Viviane Schwarz and Anthony John Allen.
Rumours of sighted celebrities in Mablethorpe were created and spread, adding a whiff of glamour to proceedings.
Video screening programme: Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Sean Ashton, Matt Calderwood, Alan Currall, Julie Henry, John Smith
Dream Bar, Trusville Holiday Village
St Mary’s Church Hall