Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Volte Gallery launch

Volte Gallery is a new exhibition space housed in the old railway station in Wolverhampton. It launched itself on Friday 25th September 2009 with an open submission show.

I have to admit the first thing that really hits you is the space, the old station is magnificent and was lit with table lamps dotted around the spaces on floors and window sills. As much as this light highlighted and exaggerated the space with its exposed brick and iron it sadly cast too many shadows upon the walls covering the views of the works. However, the work was well hung with Antoinette, the curator, saying that people could submit up to three pieces of work for their £25 submission fee, she then made sure these were not hung in the same room as she wanted to encourage movement around the space and offer each work its individual opportunity to shine and to promote different conversations between different people.

The overall quality of the work was fair with the odd diamond's by Nathaniel Pitt and Pin Chich Tseng (above). There was also a large painting that I was quite taken with but sadly no details of the artist.

I went with David Miller (TROVE co-curator and artist) and Angela Swan (Officer for Regeneration, Arts Council West Midlands) to see the show and we all left really happy and bubbly - it was so refreshing to go to an unpretentious preview with friendly artists (particularly floristry - see above image) and a really approachable and freshfaced curator.

We are all very excited to watch this amazing space develop under the direction of Antoinette.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Thursday, 24 September 2009

The Old Science Museum - I have the keys!

I went and had another look in the old science museum yesterday evening in preperation for Into The Void by Sam Smith. Other than a mild concern that it may not be dark enough at 6pm when it all kicks off the space is amazing.

It was the first time David and Naomi had actually been inside and I think it is safe to say we're all very excited about the possibilities it offers. Hope to see you all there next Sunday to see some great video works and have a nosey at the space.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Into The Void - press release


A solo exhibition by Australian artist Sam Smith
Sunday 4th October 2009 6-9pm

The Old Science Museum
Newhall Street
B3 1RZ

In his first UK show, Sydney based artist Sam Smith is exhibiting his latest work Into The Void for its northern hemisphere premier. Having exhibited extensively throughout Australia as well as Japan, China, Thailand, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Spain and New Zealand, Smith’s work utilises the mechanics of cinematic production and special effects technologies to create parallel universes in which the ‘rational behaviour of matter is displaced by a realm of digital possibility.’

This exhibition is a culmination of great second cities. Smith, from Australia’s second city, has chosen Birmingham, England’s, to exhibit his new work, Into The Void (2009), a work that combines montage, multiple exposure and digital compositing to build a tangent narrative. Smith searches New York, America’s second city, for works of international Klein blue and a location that mirrors the site for Yves Klein’s Le Saut dans le Vide (The Leap into the Void, 1960). The artist’s journey culminates in a time- based recreation of Klein’s famous jump.

Be the first to view Smith’s work in this exclusive 3 hour premier event which is not to be missed.

Image courtesy the artist and GRANTPIRRIE, Sydney.
Into The Void was commissioned by Next Wave for its inaugural Time Lapse program.

Re-place at The Works Gallery, Birmingham

Re-place at The Works Gallery is an exhibition showing some old Birmingham favourites as well as some artist from Bordeaux. The premise for the show was:

"In November 2008 artists Peter Grego, Tom Ranahan, Pamina Stewart and Paula Woof from Birmingham exhibited with French artists at the Le Hangar en Bois Gallery, Richard Biardeau, Joss Burke, Isidore Krapo, Véronique Lamare, Christophe Massé and Francis Viguera, as part of an exchange exhibition at the Art Chartrons Festival held in Bordeaux.

In September 2009, to coincide with Arts Fest in Birmingham, a second exhibition will take place. The title and the theme of the show is Re-Place. The artists from Birmingham and Bordeaux will interpret the idea of place in its widest sense using a range of media: photography, video, sculpture, mixed media and painting. The aim of this exhibition is to build on the cultural and artists’ links developed in the initial exhibition held in Bordeaux and to create a 'bridge' between artists working in these cities and link with other international artist communities. "

It was a nice mix of works, some standing out for me more than others, in particular Paula Woof's 'Fallen'...

...Francis Viguera ...

...and Peter Grego's 'Transitions.'

However, the most amusing part of this exhibtion for me was Pamina Stewarts piece entitled 'The Family,' this was amusing because I went to see the show the day before Fmily Fun Day. It was a nice coincidence.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

FAMILY FUN DAY, fear trains, balloons and wolves

Here are some pictures from Family Fun Day that a.a.s. and TROVE presented for The Universal Family of Cosmic Xenogenesis on Sunday 13th September 2009. It was a great day, the sun shone, people came and played tombola, decorated cakes, had their faces painted like clowns, blew up balloons with happy thoughts, and drew out their fears. A game of Mr Wolf led to special people being able to ride the Fear Train...and those lucky few could become a member of the family.

Monday, 14 September 2009


ArtsFest 2009 - VIVID part two

Naomi Gall's and mine's second visit to VIVID was to see Jenine's specific selection of YouTube clips. However whilst there John Hammersley was there also to see what had happened to his work during the course of the day. John's piece is all about conversations, in an email to me later that evening he said "it was a it was lovely to meet you today and thank you for your generous and playful response to 100 possible understandings of this. I think interplay is a lovely word for what I hope the work achieves."

Here is more info about John's project:

Participatory Dialogues

In Association with VIVID, you are invited to participate in:

This is an invitation to dialogue.

You are invited to participate in a conversation. John will be participating in conversation between 10.00am and 4.00 pm on the 13th of September, 2009. Look for John at ArtsFest, Birmingham.

100 possible understandings of this.

This was started with three artists and VIVID and may continue with you.

You are invited to respond to one of the ‘100 possible understandings of this'. Make, write a critique or comment and send your response along with your name to VIVID. Your response will be exhibited and recognised as a collaboration with ‘100 possible understandings of this' on VIVID's website. This is happening at VIVID from the 18thof August until the 18thof September 2009.

100 possible understandings of this.

  1. This might or might not have a name.
  2. This might or might not be its name.
  3. This might or might not be art.
  4. Its name might or might not reflect the singular and or the plural.
  5. This might or might not involve working along side.
  6. The working alongside might or might not be in the facility of space.
  7. The working alongside might or might not involve the facility of time.
  8. The facility of space and time might or might not be the immediacy of this.
  9. This might or might not trigger further engagement.
  10. This engagement might or might not be within or without of this city.
  11. This might or might not involve being pulled up by new experiences.
  12. This might or might not involve the opening of a door or doors.

Earlier on Naomi and I had writted our retorts/thoughts/feedback/responses to the work. We thought nothing of it, however, upon our return to the space John was writing responses to our was the beginning of our conversation.

My note read:

John responded:

"You may or may not be someone"

And I liked it...

Click here for a list of the full 100 possible understandings of this

ArtsFest 2009 - VIVID Part One

Firstly I have to admit that I did not see a lot at ArtsFest this year due to several factors, the largest being Family Fun Day on the Sunday, more information on that coming soon.

However, on Saturday I did get a chance to see a few things. Firstly I had a wonder to VIVID to see Jenine's YouTube playlists in collaboration with Supercream. One word for the latest VIVID offering from their three residents, Jenine, Trevor Pitt and John Hammersley - brilliant! The moody filmic spot light upon John's wall work,the dark cavern of Trevor's work within the Pod, a desk lamp illuminating a box upon a table and a projector casting light onto the oppsoite wall meant it was a dark calm from the lovely September heat and bright light from the ArtsFest weekend. The work too was spot on. However this was my first of two visits to VIVID that day, the first primarily to see Jenine and the outcomes of her time there, whilst there Naomi Gall and I also took part in John's work...that story is part two.

However, part one with Jenine was lovely, as ever she was the perfect host and showed us around the work and explained what she had done whilst at VIVID. The YouTube playlist consisted of


Andrea Anghileri

Andeena Mey

Sandro Pizzichelli

Jenine McGaughran

Charlie Levine

Jason Underhill

Oscar Murillo

Rikki Turner

Marcus McDonald

Renata Bandiera
and it was being projected laregly upon the wall. It made the YouTube videos appear filmic and poinient, the only way a projector knows how to in a white walled space - a clever use of the modern media and a way to narrate a persons practice, an online sketch book if you will.

Then the work by Karien Van Assendelft upon the desk was beautiful and something that I was jealous I hadn't curated myself. The moody 1920s private eye desk lamp shining brightly upon a desk card holder, which inside had lost parts of conversations type writered upon them like: 'I'm just gonna go there and do my thing' and '*GOD'. Whilst flicking through these, my fingers enjoying the sensation and my eyes the light and font, I realised how much I relished this time with the work in the quiet of the gallery space. I was transformed from VIVID and felt like I was elsewhere. I also noted to myself how important I find the participatorary aspect of the project, how enticing that is for me and how I too try to address that within my curtaed shows, usually in the form of a multiple/take away object.

Overall Jenine's contribution to this show was lovely. She is a local born talent that has moved away to London to study, hopefully her time back in the second city can persuade her back, we need more pro-active, critically engaged people like her in the West Midlands!

Friday, 11 September 2009

The Universal Family of Cosmic Xenogenesis

Have you ever felt that there's something missing in your life?

Sunday 13th September 2009 12-4pm

The Rea Garden, Digbeth

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Jenine McGaughran at VIVID - update


Join VIVID on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 September for Reciprocity, a programme of works exploring systems of categorization and knowledge exchange.

Following a series of informal discussions with artists and curators in VIVID's space, Jenine has invited Supercream - a London based curatorial collective - to present a playlist of videos from the archive.

The eclectic screening programme will raise questions as to the generation, visualisation and classification of ideas, exposing the borrowings, interests and influences shaping the production of their work.

Joining Supercream in this journey of appropriation in which outside narratives will evolve into a personal product, is a selection of artists, curators, designers and researchers.

Collaborators include:


Andrea Anghileri

Andeena Mey

Sandro Pizzichelli

Jenine McGaughran

Charlie Levine

Jason Underhill

Oscar Murillo

Rikki Turner

Marcus McDonald

Renata Bandiera

The video works are accompanied by a commission by Karien Van Assendelft. The new work was made in response to John Hammersley's 100 Possible Understandings of this and will be presented in the form of a personal archive compiled from overheard conversations


TROVE & a.a.s presents:


Sunday 13th September 2009 1-4pm

The Rea Gardens

Floodgate Street


B5 5SL

Have you ever felt that there's something missing in your life?

The Universal Family of Cosmic Xenogenesis invite you to Family Fun Day, where you can enjoy an exciting array of stalls and activities to learn more about their revolutionary way of life. You'll be able to clean out your mind and fish for new thoughts; decorate cakes, T-shirts, balloons and your face with positive symbols; get in touch with your power animal in the Robot Petting Zoo; and of course sample the copious free Kool-Aid.

There will also be games like Psychology Mr. Wolf and The Fear Train where you can open up your consciousness, compete for special access to the behind-the-scenes activities of the group, and join them for a shining future in The Other Place.

This event is presented in association with a.a.s. art group and reflects their ongoing interest in transformation and influence. Because the language and techniques of persuasion are all around us it can be difficult to notice them, but if you keep both eyes open and your wits about you, you'll be able to choose whether you want to go along with The Family's ideas or find your own path to freedom.

Open to all ages, but some elements are PG rated.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Jenine McGaughran at VIVID

If you're free this coming Friday 11th and Saturday 12th September drop in to VIVID to see Jenine and the results of her residency there, more details coming soon...


West Midlands artists and curators are invited to drop in and join Jenine McGaughran for an informal discussion about their work and practice on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 August, 12-4 PM.

In an attempt to gain greater understanding of artistic production in the region, Jenine would like to make studio visits and invite existing practitioners to attend informal discussion groups, moving beyond the accepted hierarchies of gallery based programmes towards a model that is more inclusive and reaches a wider audience.

Please contact VIVID for further details on T: 0121 766 7876 | E:

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Tea Stained and Isabel Ray at ArtsFest

Next weekend check out Tea and Isabel on a stall in Birmingham as part of ArtsFest 09.

Tea Stained (Elizabeth Short) will be selling some very desirable jewelry...

...while Isabel Ray (Caitlin Griffiths) will be selling some beautiful textile pictures.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

MA Show at Margaret Street

Last night was the MA preview at Margaret St, School of Art, Birmingham, UK. I got there early so I could check out all the work of which there was a mixed bag.

A friend of mine, Tim Robottom, graduated and his work was his usual nice mix of found/collected objects with a hint of humor stacked with critical context and I really liked it. I also really enjoyed David Hurley's work of suited men with film camera and typewriter heads, watching an animated film or babies with tv heads, it was era and familiar.

Others that stood out for me were Michael Perrins and Val Howson - Michael's photographic technique reminded me of Jo Gane, a local very talented photographer, while Val's archive ticked a lot of my boxes, really enjoyed it.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Playing Card for HANDLE WITH CARE

As designed by David Miller, one third of TROVE


In the words of Naomi Gall, one third of TROVE:

A solo exhibition by Will Clifford
Sunday 2nd August 2009 4-8pm

It was the French philosopher
Jacques Derrida who coined the phrase deconstruction as referring to an approach (whether in philosophy, literature, or other fields) which rigorously pursues the meaning of a text to the point of undoing the oppositions on which it is apparently founded, and to the point of showing that those foundations are irreducibly complex, unstable or impossible.

It is here, caught as it were, between construction and deconstruction that Conveyor’s debut exhibition, Handle With Care, finds its home.

Over the course of four hours London- based artist Will Clifford will construct and de-construct a house of cards within a furniture lorry. The lorry, a reference to the history of the space as an old furniture making factory, also supports the ethos of Conveyor as a vessel through which art can be transported and reinvented. Adopting an almost per formative scope, the house of cards will be continuously constructed and deconstructed only to be constructed again. As time progresses and people enter and leave the lorry, they are invited to remove a piece from the house where Co-Founder and curator Charlie Levine, writer Naomi Gall and artist David Miller will brand the piece with a playing card and a ‘handle with care’ sticker.

It is the audience’s decision whether to become involved, disrupt the house of cards, or whether to leave and let the house remain constructed, complete. Whether to pursue to the point of undoing the oppositions on which it is founded or leave, content in simply being a voyeur. As time passes and more pieces are taken away, the house will become smaller and more difficult to reconstruct. Similar to a real house of cards there is a fragility to the work that is not immediately evident, as Clifford deconstructs and reconstructs on foundations that are irreducibly complex, unstable and quite possibly, impossible.

So as you leave today with your original, one of a kind, Will Clifford artwork remember the process you went through to get it and as the cards fall don’t forget to handle with care.


TROVE (known only as Conveyor for one exhibition) worked with London based artist Will Clifford on an exhibition entitled HANDLE WITH CARE. It took place in the back of a lorry outside Smart & Co, an old furniture factory in Moseley, Birmingham. Will presented the audience with piles of wooden shelves that were taken from Smart & Co, each with 8 cut outs which meant that they could be slotted in to one another in a flat pack furniture/house of cards style. As the four hour exhibition went on the piece of work was built, then re-built, then made into a bridge, then flattened, then built up once more. As it morphed through the lorry and the factory front everyone could got involved and helped build something, a practical structure, like the bridge that someone (with a little support) walked over and a chair to an archway within the lorry, something people were afraid to/didn’t want to move/deconstruct.

I had perhaps some of the nicest feedback I have had so far as a curator when Helen Grundy emailed me the next day to say:

‘Just want to thank you for yesterday, it was so much fun playing inside a lorry. I have been looking at the pics and everybody looks so filled with childlike glee.Well done”

Hotel Minerva

Last night I went to London to see Birmingham painter Graham Chorlton's opening at Master Piper. I have to say I love Grahams painting and am currently saving the cash to invest in one.

The show was curated by Matt Price and was accompanied by a great bit of text by him. Here is a little more about the show:

'Hotel Minerva' (2007), the work that lends the exhibition its name, is of a hotel in Switzerland in which Chorlton has never stayed. His only encounter with it is through an old postcard he once found – a postcard that reveals little information about the hotel, only that it is in Lugano, or once was. While not a particularly distinctive building, it has a grandeur and charm of its own, and may once have been the most modern and stylish place to stay in the area. The nostalgia of a vintage postcard, celebrating the local hot spots of yesteryear, is carried forward in Chorlton’s painting as a memory that was never experienced. For many British people at the time the hotel was built and the postcard printed, continental Europe was a far-away dream, a holiday destination only for the rich and glamorous – a European imaginary before the days of budget airlines. Hotel Minerva captures this sense of longing through the filter of Swiss modernist architecture.

It's on until 3rd October 2009 and if you have the chance I say go check it out and support a local artist in the big smoke!


TROVE (formerly known as Conveyor) in Runway, Aus

Brand New

First blog by me Charlie Levine, aka curatorcharlie.

This time next week I will be breathing deeply as it will be two days until Family Fun Day presented by TROVE and aas. I will not only be curating said event but I shall also be blowing up balloons dressed in parrot covered smock dress with freckles...intrigued? Come to Rea Garden in Digbeth, Birmingham on Sunday 13th September between 12 and 4pm and eat cake, drink Kool Aid and perhaps even join The Family - they will take you to a better mental place...

Until then I shall try and keep this place updated with all my goings ons and those in and around the West Midlands.

Tonight is the MA Fine Art show at Margaret Street School of Art - should be worth a look!