We arrived in Stockholm on Wed afternoon in flurries of snow and a bitingly cold wind. Our arrival marked the end of four months of collaborative planning, via e-mail, between BasementArtsProject, Leeds and Sci based in the Northwest. Since Wednesday the collaboration has been the physical realisation of the previous four months work.
Although ‘Bring a Box’ was the title initially given to this exhibition the project as a whole has come to symbolise a great deal more.
Transportability and practicality have been central concerns from the outset for every artist involved but other considerations have, somewhat unconsciously, also found their way in. As far as collaborative projects go this is quite an unusual one with some of the artists never actually having met before; but in the age of the internet the vast distance between the UK, Stockholm and the USA is not so vast, allowing for a network of activity to evolve virtually before the eventual realisation of any exhibition.
Since the initiation of this project in late September last year distinct alliances have been formed over time that have enabled the artists to negotiate the development of their work. Kimbal Bumstead has been travelling across Europe since late January, couch surfing and hitch-hiking in order to arrive in time for the Stockholm Independent Art Fair where he will present one of his travelogues documenting the process. In doing this Kimbal has gone via artist Andrew Crighton, also exhibiting as part of SCIBASE and currently living in Trellborg, to collect postcards sent by many participants on behalf of Leeds based artist David Cotton. Cotton’s work mirrors the archaeological process as those assembling the project in Sweden are faced with the task of working out how to piece together the creature depicted in the postcards; also facing the prospect of getting it wrong and having to start again. Debra Eck is an artist based in Jamestown, New York who made contact with BasementArtsProject through social media networks and has joined us here in Stockholm to meet some of the artists that she will be exhibiting with for the first time.
For some the idea of collaboration in art can mean working together on one piece of work, for others the production of work must be a solitary endeavour. Here though the collaborations are more discursive, a machine by which events can be engineered, artists have been able to work out ideas, concepts and possibilities to achieve a coherent and pleasing end result.
‘If I was an artist and I was in the studio then whatever I was doing in the studio must have been art’
Whilst art may be the final physical object at the end of a long process, for many artists the process is equally, if not more, important than the object itself and really it is this concept that the project has come to symbolise.
Sat 18th Feb 2012