Bearpit, Bristol 2014
From May to August 2014 a selection of pictures from The Writing on The Wall project were on display at the Bearpit underpass in Bristol with the generous help of the Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft, and as part of the 2014 Bristol Festival of Photography.
Once the exhibition was up I wrote this blog entry abut it.
I took this collection out of a gallery environment and into a public space in order to engage with a wider and more diverse audience. The thousands of shoppers, students and commuters walking through the underpass from Bristol's retail zone towards Stokes Croft descended along the walkway between black and white pictures of abandoned buildings, presented alongside the following text:
There are 4.1 million homeless people and 11 million empty houses in Europe
More pictures and figures were displayed along the length of the walkway.
The facing wall of the walkway bore more black and white pictures and a painting by Aydn which was based on one of my photographs from an Irish ghost estate.
At the bottom of the walkway, the path turned right into a tunnel filled with colour pictures of the interiors of European squats and derelict buildings.
Pedestrians entering the exhibition from the other direction (coming out of the Bearpit through the tunnel) were presented by the largest picture in the show.
Over the course of the three months that this exhibition was displayed in the street, it went through a number of changes. Some pictures were stolen, some were ripped and some were added to. Like the squats that it depicted, the exhibition was not one a fixed thing, but something organic, growing and evolving through a continuous interaction between the artwork and it's audience.
Where an image had been changed in context (such as the examples above, I left them where they were.
When a black and white image was torn, I would replace it with an alternate image.
When the colour images were damaged, I would try to replace them with the same image.
Before and after.
In the first week of the show, six of the eight large colour pictures in the tunnel had been stolen:
I replaced these with text and small images from my blog, and with a letter asking for the pictures to be returned. When the two remaining pictures were also stolen I adapted the last boards as well.
Two of the eight stolen pictures were returned during the run of the show.
The big picture was added to continuously over the course of the show.
The pictures from this exhibition were collected into an archive of artworks that have survived the streets of Bristol over the last few years.