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Visit artSOUTH:collaborations international art trail on England’s South Coast

  • Date: 11 September 2013
  • Area: National, South West
Memory Vessel, Bouke de Vries, part of the artSOUTH:commissions, 2013

Memory Vessel, Bouke de Vries, part of the artSOUTH:commissions, 2013. Credit: Courtesy of the artist

New works by renowned contemporary visuals artists are the focal point for a 12-week programme of free exhibitions and performances this autumn, funded by Arts Council England's Grants for the arts.

artSOUTH:collaborations invites artists - and audiences - to respond to and explore the unique geography and rich heritage of the South Coast, curated by Judy Adam.

The programme runs from 7 September to 1 December 2013. At the heart of the programme are 10 new commissions, accompanied by artist talks, free family days and writing workshops, art workshops, and walking and guided coach tours in each of the locations.

A partnership of 15 organisations organised the project. Partners include Arts Council England National portfolio organisations Aspex Gallery, University of Southampton and John Hansard Gallery, as well the National Trust, Universities, local authorities and galleries.

Art in unlikely places

The new commissions vary - there's everything from outdoor public installations, sculpture, and books to live dance and theatrical performance, film and participatory project - many placed in unlikely places. 

In the New Forest, you can experience Susanne M Winterling's luminous seaside sculpture, while in Mottisfont, Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva's National Trust park installation fashioned from fallen trees have a tribal and ceremonial presence.

Visitors can watch Graham Gussin's fascinating dance film, created with the Army's night vision technology, in the Winchester Discovery Centre.

At The New Battery, a National Trust site on the Isle of Wight, the public can go into a reconstruction of a room in an old rocket testing facility. 

And throughout the South Coast, audiences can catch free live performances of Mel Brimfield's theatrical homage to fictional, avant-garde cruise-ship entertainment troupe The Navy Cut Players.

The commissioned artists are Claire Barclay (UK), Jordan Baseman (USA, UK based), Mel Brimfield (UK), Graham Gussin (UK), Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva (Macedonia, UK based), Tom Hall (UK), Jeremy Millar (UK), Annika Ström (Sweden, UK based), Bouke de Vries (The Netherlands, UK based), and Susanne M Winterling (Germany).

Partner organisations are also hosting associated exhibitions.

Contemporary art for all ages

Arts Council England Bridge organisation Artswork is supporting the project by bringing together artSOUTH partners and organisations with schools and young people. In addition, Gill Nicol of Lightsgoingon is leading the engagement activities programme and The Audience Agency is leading on the project's monitoring and evaluation.

Stephen Foster, Director of the John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton, said: 'artSOUTH:collaborations is a new project that will offer great opportunities for a fascinating day out or weekend away across central south England. It will also be a unique way to introduce families and new audiences to explore and discover contemporary art.  These interesting collaborations will show different places in new ways, revealing how artists work and the process of making their art, as well as encourage visitors and tourism from beyond our region, to support the local economy.'

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England says, 'ArtSouth:collaborations represents the type of ambitious and joined up way of working we are always looking to invest in. The result is a fantastic free visual arts programme, with new works from international and emerging artists that capture the unique sense of place that makes this part of the country so special. We hope that local people and those from further afield will come down to the South Coast and explore these terrific commissions, which are supported through Arts Council's National Lottery Grants for the arts scheme.' 

To find out more about the artSOUTH programme, see www.artsouth.org.uk