Artists announced for Plymouth Contemporary 2021

An international line-up of established and emerging creative talent has been selected for exhibition at this year’s Plymouth Contemporary.

Twenty-nine artists from around the world, working across different and varying disciplines including fine art and performance, will exhibit 44 works of art for this third staging of the prestigious event.

Held across two galleries in the city – KARST and the University of Plymouth’s Levinsky Gallery – and with support from The Box, Plymouth Contemporary 2021 will run from 7 July – 5 September, and will explore the theme of ‘Making It’.

“Plymouth Contemporary 2021 is testament to the unbridled creativity of our contemporary artists,”

said Mary Costello, Exhibitions Coordinator for The Arts Institute at the University.

“Despite all challenges, they continue ‘making it’ and have responded to this theme in a myriad of interesting, intriguing and innovative ways. Most of all, the sheer joy of creating shines through, and we’re delighted to invite the public to visit this celebration of today’s contemporary artists.”

First staged in 2015, the Plymouth Contemporary supports new ideas and a risk-taking approach across all art forms, and previously featured artists – such as Naomi Frears, Thomas Goddard and Michael Cox – have gone on to achieve national and international success.

For the 2021 event, an open call was made to artists to respond to the Making It theme – and more than 130 from Europe and America submitted proposals. Some focused upon the act of making or shaping a physical work or idea. Others interpreted it in terms of success or making a difference to people or the community.

A selection panel, including renowned artist Heather Phillipson and independent arts consultant, writer and mentor Manick Govinda, as well as representatives from the University, The Box and KARST, then considered the submissions and selected the final line up.

Nicoletta Lambertucci, Contemporary Art Curator at The Box, said:

“After an incredibly tough year for the creative sector, I am thrilled to finally see Plymouth Contemporary 2021 taking shape with such a strong list of artists. It is a project that offers an insightful commentary on the world through a diverse range of practices. It has been great to be part of the selection panel, I really enjoyed the process and I look forward to seeing the exhibition.”

“It was a great pleasure to be on the selection panel for this year’s Plymouth Contemporary, and to be able to get an insight on how artists interpreted the theme of ‘Making It’,”

added Manick Govinda.

“The process was rigorous, enlightening and I am delighted by the choices we collectively made. I look forward to seeing the show.”

Among those to be selected, include:

  • Anna Chrystal Stephens, who uses sculpture, action and photography. Anna’s two pieces – Hack Sink and Paracord – reference both the extreme difficulties facing artists in the current climate, and the joy of using creativity to envisage positive alternative futures;
  • Jennifer Taylor, who works across live performance, film and sculpture. Jennifer will produce two pieces – Lunar Dawn and Voyager – that explore ritualistic behaviour and systems of control, each with a distinctive lo-fi, makeshift aesthetic;
  • Harriet Bowman, who works with sculpture, text and performance. Harriet will be exhibiting an audio piece of work and a sculpture, which showcase her fascination with leather, but also themes such as grief and aspiration; and
  • Andy Harper, who works in paint. Andy will be exhibiting a new oil painting, Gaze Contingent.
    Members of the public will be able to attend Plymouth Contemporary 2021 without the need to book. Several prizes will also be awarded before the end of the exhibition.

Ben Borthwick, Head of Creative Programme at KARST, said:

“Plymouth Contemporary 2021 will be the first time KARST reopens its doors to the public since a major refurbishment and upgrade of our building. We can’t wait to invite visitors back into our massively improved space to see the exciting range of works on display. KARST is really pleased to have partnered on Plymouth Contemporary since it was created as it continues to go from strength to strength.”

The full list of artists selected for exhibition are: Camilla Alberti, Chris Alton, Bridgette Ashton, Bruce Asbestos, Kelly Best + Herbivore, Caroline Bugby, Gordon Dalton, Kez Dearmer, Stephanie Douet, Nick Ervinck, Rosalind Faram, Damian Griffiths, Andy Harper, Sadie Hennessy, Will Hughes, Seungjo Jeong, Dean Knight, Molly Erin McCarthy, Charlotte McGuinness, James Moore, Paula Morison, Sang-Mi Rha, Janet Sainsbury, Anna Chrystal Stephens, Jennifer Taylor, Marianne Walker, Kate Williams and K. Yoland.

Administrator

KARST is seeking an experienced, ambitious and dynamic Administrator, to provide effective and efficient business support services to the management team and staff.

The role requires
You should be a hugely organised team player with a proactive attitude, good communication skills and a passion for organisation and accuracy. Reporting to the Head of Operations, the administrator will support the smooth running of the premises, office systems, and programmes. The candidate will be un-phased by a diverse and wide-reaching workload and comfortable forming relationships with a range of stakeholders, contractors and suppliers.

For further information and to make an application please download the following PDFs:

Download the Administrator Candidate PackAdministrator Candidate Pack (pdf)

Download the Administrator Candidate PackKARST Equality and Diversity Form (pdf)

Themes for British Art Show 9

British Art Show 9 will focus on migration when it reaches Plymouth next year, speaking to the city’s longstanding maritime history and its role in colonisation.

The show’s overall themes are Healing, Care and Reparative History; Tactics for Togetherness, and Imagining New Futures, all agreed on before the Covid-19 pandemic and the global recognition of racial injustice sparked by the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. The curators say the themes have now become even more relevant and urgent in the present moment.

Hayward Touring curator Brian Cass said: “British Art Show 9 takes the temperature of Britain between the previous iteration of the show in 2016 – when the country voted in favour of leaving the European Union, and today – with the implications of Covid-19 still unfolding.”

After opening in Aberdeen in July 2021, British Art Show 9 tours to Wolverhampton and Manchester before arriving in Plymouth in October 2022. The exhibition will change with and adapt to each of its four host cities as a cumulative experience, presenting different combinations of artists and artworks that respond to their distinctive local contexts.

KARST Head of Creative Programme Ben Borthwick said: “Plymouth has long been celebrated as a city that looks out to the world, where journeys that have reshaped our knowledge of the world were launched. BAS9’s focus on migration, climate change and colonisation is a fantastic opportunity to situate how local histories are implicated in this global context.”

Almost half of the artists will be producing new work for the show. Two artists creating work for the Plymouth iteration have been announced: Alberta Whittle and Cooking Sections.

Alberta Whittle explores the legacies of slavery and racial injustice. Her work, Hindsight is a luxury you cannot afford (2021) was commissioned by Hayward Gallery Touring and The Box for British Art Show 9 and made possible with Art Fund support.

Cooking Sections use a combination of art, architecture and ecology to address urgent issues concerning food and climate. Their work will form part of the programme of creative learning and participation in Plymouth, with the support of Arts Council England’s Project Grant for National Activities.

Cooking Sections’ project will also be presented during the first leg of the tour in Aberdeen, where the artist duo will continue their collaboration with local people from the Scottish islands Skye and Raasay to develop programmes that counteract the devastating effects of the salmon farming industry.

Alongside its physical locations, British Art Show 9 will also exist digitally. The newly launched British Art Show 9 website will act as a fifth location, which the curators describe as key to connecting the cities and extending the show’s reach. This digital space will offer artists the opportunity to show works across a range of media and formats.

A film programme featuring a selection of films will be shown on a rolling basis in each of the four host cities and online, expanding the selection of works and on view.

BAS9 is curated by Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar who say: “The show appears at a precarious moment in Britain’s history, which has brought politics of identity and nation, concerns of social, racial, and environmental justice, and questions of agency to the centre of public consciousness. The artists presented in the exhibition will respond in critical ways to this complex context. Through their works, they imagine new futures, propose alternative economies, explore new modes of resistance and find ways of living together. They do so through film, photography, painting, sculpture, and performance and through multimedia projects that don’t sit easily in any one category.”

KARST to receive £42000 from second round of Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

KARST has received a grant of £42000 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen.

More than £300 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including KARST in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced today. Plymouth’s latest cultural offering, The Box, is among the other recipients in the city.

Alongside providing increased financial stability for KARST, the grant will contribute towards increasing physical access to the gallery by enabling the installation of a contactless entry system. The system will help to reduce any future risk of COVID-19 transmission as KARST reopens to the public.

Additionally, a proportion of the grant will support an ongoing reduction in studio hire fees to help KARST studio artists emerge from the pandemic. The grant will also be used to engage a consultant to develop and implement a post-COVID fundraising strategy and campaign.

More than £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:

“Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced.

Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”

Donna Howard, Executive Director, said:

“We are delighted to receive this support from the Culture Recovery Fund. As well as contributing to ongoing operating costs which would ordinarily have been met through income generated, a significant amount of this grant will be used to create a reserves fund, giving KARST financial security for the first time as we continue to grow.

The grant will also support fundraising generation which will be essential for KARST’s sustainability in the run-up to British Art Show 9 and beyond.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said:

“Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work.

We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”

The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.

KARST awarded funding for international digital collaboration

KARST has been awarded funding to research a digital solution to international artistic collaboration restrictions because of the Covid-19 epidemic.

KARST will receive money from the British Council Arts Digital Collaboration Fund to research the development of a collaborative digital platform that aims to preserve and interpret Highlife’s legacy, reinventing it for a new generation of musicians and audiences in Ghana and internationally.

Highlife is a music genre that originated in the early 20th century in present-day Ghana. It uses traditional Akan music’s melodic and main rhythmic structures but is played with Western instruments. Characterised by horns and multiple guitars, in the 1970s it acquired an uptempo, synth-driven sound.

Through the project Mogya Na Nsuo (Blood and Water), KARST will work with UK artist Larry Achiampong and Julia Greenway, a curator focussing on how digital media influences the aesthetic presentation of gender, economics, and environment. It is a collaboration with the Bokoor African Popular Music Archive Foundation in Ghana.

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New dates announced for British Art Show 9

New dates for the UK’s most influential contemporary art exhibition, British Art Show 9 (BAS 9), have been confirmed today. The nationwide tour will culminate in Plymouth from 8 October to 23 December 2022. Prior to this, the exhibition will be displayed in Aberdeen, Wolverhampton and Manchester.

Held every five years to showcase the work of British artists who have made a significant contribution to international contemporary art, BAS9 will be shown across four city venues – KARST, The Box, The Levinsky Gallery at the University of Plymouth and The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art.

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KARST appoints curator Ben Borthwick as Head of Creative Programme

Ben BorthwickBen starts the newly created role immediately and will lead the development of the exhibition and studio programmes, working with KARST’s co-founder and Executive Director Donna Howard to deliver the organisation’s ambitions in Plymouth and at national and international levels.

Ben combines working internationally with grass roots artist development and community engagement. He was previously Artistic Director of Plymouth Arts Centre, CEO of the Cardiff-based international art prize Artes Mundi and Assistant Curator at Tate Modern.

He said: “I am delighted to be joining KARST at this transitional moment in its development. Since I moved to Plymouth KARST has been a consistently radical and independent voice in the city’s rapidly expanding arts ecology. I am excited to building on KARST’s support for artistic practice and experimentation while expanding the scope of the programme through dialogue with artists, partners and audiences across the city, nationally and internationally.”

KARST Executive Director Donna Howard said Ben Borthwick’s appointment was another step in the development of creating an internationally renowned contemporary arts space of the future.

British Art Show 9 artists are named

Forty-five artists have been selected to take part in the UK’s biggest contemporary art show which visits Plymouth in autumn next year.

KARST is one of four city venues to host the British Art Show 9 for a three-month run beginning in October 2021. The other galleries are the Arts Institute’s Levinsky Gallery at the University of Plymouth, the Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, and The Box.

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KARST gallery awarded funding for refurbishment

KARST—Plymouth’s largest independent artist-led gallery—has been awarded £270,000 to transform its space into a premier venue for the British Art Show 9.

The grant, from Arts Council England’s Small Grant Capital Funding programme, will enable the refurbishment of KARST’s creative space, the installation of an eco-efficient heating system and full disability access. When completed, the improvements will result in an increase in operational time and programming capacity, attracting more artists and major exhibitions.

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