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Tag: Barry Sykes

Alt_Cph 2008

Copenhagen | 19.9–21.9.2008

Alt_Cph is a platform offering a joint public setting for alternative art spaces. This year Alt_Cph presented 18 non-profit art spaces and artistic initiatives from the following Nordic countries: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

The selection of works presented by Platform at Alt_Cph represent past, present and future visiting artists. The selected artists have in common that their artistic practice can be looked at through the conception of territory. Some works investigate different mechanisms, mapping or visual code that sustain territory, others try to expand territorial borders or even mark and occupy territory.

The ascription of value to a geographical place, that hosts the identification, forms the economical, political and historical base for recognizing territories. And this identification is in itself the actual foundation, platform or mental ground on which territory is claimed. The historical justification or explanation for current relations of possessing, distributing and producing is therefore a self-sustaining, closed circuit… not only in art. Territory must be re-thought as a fictional abstract conception, to open up a new critical view on ever acute political disproportion and create a new substitutional mental ground for identification and value production.

During Alt_Cph Emma Houlihan presented ‘Leg Up’, a new participative performance, whereby she facilitated urban exploration for Copenhagen citizens by offering her services in assisting people over the city’s walls. Leg Up questions our conception of built space and also seeks to investigate how boundaries define us and attempts to map new ways of traversing them. The first Leg Up was done at the Museum of the Harbour Laboratory (a project by Parfyme as part of U-turn).

Barry Sykes did two works on-site at Alt_Cph 2008: the wall drawing ‘Top Secret UK Airbase From Memory’ and the performance piece ‘Someone Else’s Small Hand Dance’ on stage. The wall drawing was an attempt to remember the map of a secret airbase he worked at some years previously. The performance was a re-enactment of the Small Hand Dance (Ceryth Wynn Evans’ original performance, performed at Serpentine Gallery almost a year earlier).

Wolf von Kries works with site-specific interventions that question the functioning of the social, economical or cultural structures which determine the perceptions of our daily routines. For his projects he often merges seemingly incompatible frames to suggest an alternative reading of ordinary objects or occurences which go far beyond their conventionally assigned meaning. In the series Puddles and Islands, he juxtaposes C.I.A. maps of Pacific islands with photographs of puddles which are nearly identical in shape. The result is a curious merge of references: while the origin of the maps suggests a political dimension raising questions of power, territory and manipulation, the corresponding photographs pick up on these elements to enter into a fuzzy, often inverted, dialectic between symbol and object, water and land, micro- and macrocosm or simply the ephemeral and the permanent.

Kalle Brolin showed ‘Roof Girls’, made during a NIFCA residency in Tallinn. It’s a film about teenage girls who climb the rooftops of Tallinn, where nobody dares to follow them. The film is split into three parts, which are also three ways of presenting the story – the girls’ own films of scary stunts and favorite roofs; an animation while Brolin lost track of them for a few weeks; and an interview he made with them when they met up again, talking about family, friends and inaccessibility, things which might drive them to climb the roofs.

In addition we also streamed the performance festival mope08 live that was going on in Vaasa during Friday 19th and Saturday 20th.


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Tree hugger 8.3.-23.3.2008

Barry Sykes | Artist in residence February – March 2008


Platform is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition by the London-based artist Barry Sykes, our current artist in residence. All the works have been conceived and completed in the five weeks since Barry arrived. Barry works with a wide variety of methods; primarily sculpture and drawing but also singing, stealing, fitness, forgery and lies. Recent projects have led him to impersonate a part-time police officer, make a series of sculptures blindfolded and redesign British currency. His work asks questions about usefulness, experience and appropriate behaviour.

The title of the exhibition, Tree Hugger, is used deliberately out of context. Usually used as a derogatory term for ecologists and extreme nature lovers it is instead used to raise questions about the approach, intentions and possible benefits of the works. It also describes a desire to interact with your immediate surroundings and the absurdity of some of the activities this has involved.

For this exhibition Barry has devised a number of strategies to create new work in reaction to the expectations of a residency model. His only pre-planned tactic was to involve two collaborators working from London, each in very different ways. For the project ‘The Dad Directives’ Barry has sent his father – a keen amateur photographer – 6 short instructions every weekend to take one photograph and send it to him in Vaasa. These have included ‘Go out of the house after dark and photograph any house with a window that you can see someone through’ and ‘Take a photograph of a photograph you wish you had taken’.

For his research project with i-cabin gallery, Barry has undertaken a long email conversation about importance, usefulness and philanthropy. This epic text will be available to read in the gallery alongside a large hand-drawn map of Vaasa produced by i-cabin based on Barry’s description of the town and exactly €100 worth of adapted wooden handicrafts purchased from the Vaasa prison inmates shop. Other works in the show will include a blatant rip-off of another artist’s work, a design for a new font and a sculpture of two imaginary wall brackets.

Barry Sykes was born in Essex, England in 1976. He gained his Masters from Chelsea College of Art, London in 2000 and lives and works in South East London. His recent exhibitions include Evolution de l’Art, Bratislava (2007); Itchy Park 1,2,4 & 5, Limehouse Town Hall, London (2004-2008); Putting spark back into your relationships, Gallop design studio, London (2006); Romantic Detachment, PS1 New York and Chapter Arts Cardiff (2004), and Déjà Vu, ProArtibus, Ekenäs, Finland (2006). In 2006 he was nominated for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Visual Arts for his collaborative work with the artist Sean Parfitt. Tree Hugger is his first solo show in Finland.

Barry Sykes


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