The pop-up gallery project, Oct 26th-Nov 3rd, is an exhibition of art, language and performance that been curated by York College Arts Foundation Students. The exhibition will be taking place in a beautiful bookshop setting and beyond into a trail of secret spaces in York.
All work from the six exhibiting artists has been inspired by the work of Bruce Nauman, which is currently on display at St. Mary’s contemporary art gallery, Castlegate.
We spoke with Charlotte Salt, who will be exhibiting her artwork as part of the pop-up gallery project.
Tell us about yourself…
Up until his death, my father was an artist and my mother still is. In fact, she was recently represented as AxisWeb artist of the month (July 2013). If you are interested you can click here to read more.
Coming form this kind of background means that, in a sense, I have always been involved in the ‘art-world’. As children, my siblings and I were actively encouraged to ‘make’ and express our ideas in a variety of mediums. So it comes as no surprise that I would follow my parents’ lead and attend art school at some stage in my life. 2010 was just the right time for me to pick up where I left off.
Having lived at various locations in this country (and abroad – Tasmania at age 5!) I am currently settled/based in the York area, where I studied Contemporary Fine Art at York St John University and will be graduating this year (2013) with a first class honors degree. Prior to attending York St John University, I taught and worked in various other jobs to support my practice, before embarking on the next future challenges.
Tell us about your art…
I describe myself as an artist and researcher, with a strong developing interest in curating and collaborative ways of working. My multidisciplinary practice currently focuses on the field of installation, occasionally delving into the performative. A recent example of my performance work would be the ‘Market of Hidden Labour’, a collaboration that took place in May this year, with artist Bonnie Powell.
We used a method within performative art, especially collaborative acts such as Gilbert and George and Abramavich and Ulay, whereby the artist(s), void of personal identity, become so absorbed in one another and the tasks undertaken that they create a barrier of inaccessibility that, in turn, mimics the isolation of aspects of the banal. We explored themes of everyday bureaucracy and its associations with critical social theory.
Through the lack of identity and the removal of all boundaries between the actual and the theoretical, the self and the other, the perfomative and the real, the work we produced became as absurd and as distant as the reality of the content. Click here for more information.
I am a very ‘hands-on’ person when it comes to my artwork and am never happier than when in the studio creating. I mix everyday materials and objects I find with those I make in the studio to build up sculptural assemblages. Scouring scrap metal yards, junk and antique shops, even selecting offcuts of wood, I carefully choose my objects and materials, often keeping the design, but not the function.
An example of this is the work ‘Unpacking My Library – Peter Pan’:
The objects I am able to source ultimately have a huge impact on the meaning and readings that can be interpreted from the resolved work. In this respect my art operates as a mechanism that makes it possible to alter the spectator’s way of looking, bringing them closer in contemplation to what is presented before them. Piecing together clues from the objects, my arrangements are like a puzzle; the viewer’s subjective unravelling of the narrative enabling them to formulate their own understanding of the work.
I often consider in my work ways which a story can be told and re-told, memories inherited, experiences exchanged and new discourses developed, to explore connections that can be made between objects, site and the ways in which the viewer’s participation is often inherent to their understanding of the work.
I also want to further explore notions of unavoidable associations that can be formed in relation to the objects and materials, which I use in my artworks, objects of function for example, and to question how we can reinvent these items as art objects. Such found objects and materials have the ability to carry with them narrative and some form of representation of the everyday encounter. Is it something that draws on collective memory to form an understanding (allegory) and yet also relies on memory (associative) due to the transient, impermanent nature of the production process and thus the work produced.
How did you come to be a part of the project?
I initially heard about the project through an email, which was sent out to graduates by the University. I was determined from the start that I wanted to be involved as it sounded like a great opportunity to keep producing work and further develop my art practice. I thrive on being involved in collaborative work, and the way new ideas can be generated, so much more seems achievable that way. I am also keen to produce new site-responsive artworks and continue my education with a dedication to promoting emerging, contemporary art. I am particularly excited about producing artwork in response to the exhibited artwork by Bruce Nauman at St Mary’s Church. Being involved in a project such as this enables me to work alongside creative professionals, gaining knowledge and experience vital to furthering my career as an artist, in addition to learning the logistics of running pop-up events.
What do you find inspirational about Bruce Nauman’s work and how have you been influenced by it?
Through studies on my degree, I have gained a broader knowledge of contemporary art. When researching installation art, I became aware and interested in his work. I was fascinated by how Nauman’s installations could prompt the viewer to explore an awareness of their own presence in relation to the objects that were presented to them, suggesting relationships between the work and the viewer. This further led on to the artwork I produced in 2011 entitled ‘Headroom’, which was heavily influenced by researching Nauman’s work, in particular Green Light Corridor where Nauman created situations which are physically or intellectually disorienting, forcing viewers to confront their own experiential thresholds.
Sculpture to me is like a language, which I feel most at home communicating in. It enables me to express my ideas in a holistic way. I want the viewer to experience the work from various perspectives and to connect in different ways with the diverse range of elements, dependant on many factors, for instance: their mood; culture; and personal life experiences. Being in the space, walking around the structure, in close proximity as though in a room, or some uncanny stage set of my mind and reality, the viewer may stay a while to contemplate what they are witness to. The smaller details, which I have developed in my work, for example the hair and porcelain balanced in the circular orifices (door knob holes) of my most recent work, You Decide To Stay A While, draw the viewer closer to inspect the work (please see attached images and or link to website: http://saltcharlotte.com/sculpture-2/you-decide-to-stay-a-while/).
I am interested in the creative processes that occur when an artwork is being made and then viewed. On the one hand, the decisions I make on every aspect of the artwork are thought out and deeply considered, found and invented, particularly with the materials and forms that hint towards functional environments in which we live and work, whilst also appreciating the space left for the viewer to indulge in their own thoughts and experiences. In this sense the creativity is a two-way process: the artist in the production of the artwork, in turn enabling the viewer to be creative in interpreting the artwork.
What are your future plans/aspirations?
I intend to continue to work as an artist and develop my individual practice in addition to working collaboratively as a co-founder member of SALT+POWELL (along with Bonnie Powell).
Salt+Powell is an artist-led collective, established in 2013, based in York. One of our ambitions is to support a unit of emerging artists and provide them with exhibitions shortly after graduating. In the long term, we aim to develop a network with the focus on connecting emerging, York-based artists with a wider demographic, opening up the possibilities for dialogue between other artist-led spaces. We aim to establish a platform for the production of exhibitions, the exchanging of ideas, networking and future collaborations.
This project came into being when, in our final year of studies, Bonnie Powell and I applied for the Spotlight proof of concept funding grant from Creative Business at York St John University. We were frustrated with York’s lack of opportunities for Fine Art students on leaving the Universities, and wanted to provide something we all really wanted, exhibition/project/event space and the all important, affordable studios! As a result of our application, we were awarded funds to help support the idea. We have recently seccured a new venue in York and are planning a programme of events, so watch this space, more information coming soon….
To find out more visit: www.saltandpowell.co.uk