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Aaron Williamson signs off with the Feral 4 / 19 May 2010

black and white photo of 4 performers posing as the Beatles

The Feral 4. Image © Spike Island

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This is the final posting for this blog. My time at Spike Island on the Adam Reynolds bursary has been immensely rewarding and productive. Far more than I’d anticipated.

The sculpture work particularly took me a long way out of my comfort zone as an artist and challenged me to think about new ways of working. It particularly got me thinking about how to frame work in a way that’s innovative rather than presumptive. I’ve had to consider how art situates itself and takes place in the world rather than being simply some kind of necessary activity.

The way that I approached this problem, through numerous discussions with Marie-Anne McQuay, Spike’s curator, was to create both a conceptual frame – an invented archaeological discovery of a fictional tribe of medieval cripple-beggars – as well as a literal/ physical frame – ie: though adopting the modes and styles of institutional (museum) displays and narratives. Images of the resulting sculptures can be viewed on the Spike Island website

The opening night at Spike was a wildly exciting evening. The sprint to get everything ready was successful in terms of minutes rather than hours but it was so great to get the 15mm Films crew together again at Spike Island. Katherine Araniello, Chloe Edwards, Laurence Harvey, Juliet Robson, Simon Raven all made it along to view the showreel in the huge gallery.

After the opening of the studios to visitors I was tasked with kicking off the party revelries by singing a rendition of ‘My Way’ whilst covered in false noses and thrashing a blanketed ‘dead body’ with a spade (as you do).¬†Thankfully a lot of the mums and dads with kids had gone by then and the ‘watershed’ continued with another performance from the Feral Four – this time consisting in Katherine Araniello, Simon Raven, Alex Oddy and myself.

The whole Open Studios evening was an immense success with over a 1000 visitors exploring Spike Island’s 80,000 square-feet, with the partying continuing until 2am.

The Retrospective showreel ‘The Bell-Clapper and Bestiary’ – almost 90 minutes of footage – continues at Spike Island until 6 June 2010 and contains my solo work together with collaborations with Katherine Araniello and 15mm Films.

The sculptural work will be the subject of a publication ‘The Forgotten History of the Affligare by Dr A.P. Williamson’ to be published by Spike Imprint around July 2010.

Marie-Anne McQuay, Spike Island’s curator is looking to continue with the Affligare Project, along with Shape, and partnerships are being sought with institutions for the fictional collection/archaeological discovery to be placed in (or to infiltrate) a museum setting.

For the Adam Reynolds Bursary 2010, I would like to thank Shape London and Spike Island. Everyone would like to thank the Garfield Weston Foundation for their support.