Yesterday, Preston played host to a genuine A-lister from the art world, a rare treat indeed for our northern cultural backwater! Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed was in Preston to address students ahead of an exhibition opening at Uclan’s Hanover project space. Martin is best known for his controversial installation ‘Work No 227, The lights going on and off’ which scooped the Turner Prize in 2001. Since then, the Wakefield born artist has exhibited widely at home and abroad showing a diverse collection of art forms including painting, sculpture, performance and site specific installations.
The lecture theatre in Uclan’s Foster building was filled to capacity as Martin took to the floor sporting a rather fetching multi-coloured tank top, a fashion statement that only an artist could get away with! Martin talked at length about his work; imparting his pearls of artistic wisdom to the attentive audience of would be Turner Prize winners. His hour long talk was interspersed with comedic moments and quirky musical numbers demonstrating a considerable talent on guitar and harmonica. Martin’s Glaswegian accent coupled with his wild hair and somewhat eccentric appearance, put me in mind of another well known son of Glasgow who, like Martin, has gone on to find worldwide recognition! Martin rounded up his entertaining and informative performance by fielding questions from members the audience who were brave enough to take up the roving microphone.
All in all, Martin’s highly individual insight into the mysteries of the art world was exceptionally well received by the Uclan audience, and for me, it was best summed up by Preston artist Rebecca Chesney who tweeted “Martin Creed talk yesterday at Uclan was brilliant / bonkers”! I couldn’t agree more, Preston was indeed privileged to be visited by such an eminent and inspirational artist.
Following Martin’s talk, the action moved to Uclan’s Hanover Building on Bhailok Street for the preview of the ‘2013 Project’. Funded by the Contemporary Arts Development Group and curated by artist, photographer and lecturer Craig Atkinson, the exhibition documents contemporary drawing and photography practice. Contributions for the exhibition have come from over twenty countries giving a truly global overview of current trends in photography and drawing circles. Judging by the works on show, both photography and drawing around the world are in rude health!
The exhibition is accompanied by four new titles from Café Royal Books: Publications, Words, Photographs and Drawings. ‘Publications’ explores the phenomenon of publishing limited edition magazines or ‘zines’ as their known, and ‘Words’ is a collection of essays by leading practitioners and researchers Sarah Bodman, Jorg Colberg and Lawrence Zeegen. The ‘Photographs’ and ‘Drawings’ zines include a selection of works featured in the exhibition. The‘2013 Project’ is open to the public on weekdays between 10am and 5pm until the 3rd of May. If drawing or photography is your thing, it’s well worth a visit!