‘Interact’ at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

On Tuesday the 19th of March, the Sainsbury Centre at UEA hosted Young Associates ‘Interact’ event. This was a temporary exhibition which gave artists a chance to show off their work, and pieces were chosen on the basis of interacting with audience and space. Though there were many fabulous artworks, I will be highlighting 6 artists whose works appeared particularly engaging:

  1. Jacqui Jones ‘Plastic Waste: The BIGGER Picture’

Jones created an environmental piece focussing on the usage of plastic and alternative ways to better plastic usage. The project involved participants moving around bottles and cups, and their silhouettes were projected on a wall by light and magnification, which greatly increased the size of the plastic. In this way, the public could actually see the difference their actions would make, and the project was a fun way to think more considerately about the way we treat the environment. This piece is just one aspect of a bigger project that helps promote the idea of being environmentally friendly. Jones summed her work up as a ‘fun, interactive piece with a deeper message’ and claimed that these elements are what usually attract people to her work.

  1. Ed Murray and Loula Yorke ‘Anthropocene Chimera Series’

Murray had designed a mixture of small and bigger creatures that displayed elements of post-apocalyptic times, technological impacts and artificial intelligence. The most interesting thing about this work was that the bigger creatures were left unfinished so that the audience could add to the piece. Murray claimed the piece was ‘led by materials’ and the intention behind it was that when the public added materials to the creatures, they got the chance to experience being in the space and within the atmosphere.

Yorke was responsible for adding a sound element to the project, and produced music that made the creatures sing and communicate with each other. The two artists were playing around with the idea of existence, and decided their creatures should have sound, something which proved very effective in engaging with the audience.

  1. Ann Marie James ‘MUSÉE IMAGINAIRE’

James’s work centred around three pages from André Malraux’s Le Musée Imaginaire, which she reworked into an art piece using first edition pages from the book. This was part of a larger project through which James hopes to build her own imaginary museum. Her art was placed around similar pieces in the Sainsbury gallery, and James commented on how amazing it was to be next to such great works of art. Her work was scattered in three different places within the art centre, which allowed the audience to interact with each piece as they went through the exhibition. James hoped people would ‘notice the original’ and understand what she has done to it to make it into her own piece.

  1. Louise Richardson ‘Milieu’

Richardson’s work was a mirror with an image of a little girl printed onto it. It contained overlapping features, which encouraged participants to look at the person underneath. The mirror also gave a ghostly feel, and allowed the audience to interact with the piece and see themselves within its story. This piece was based on the ‘Little ballerina’ by Degas, who used a little girl, an ‘opera rat,’ as his model. Richardson explained to me the context of ‘opera rats’: they were children taken from streets or sold to the Paris Opera. Richardson claimed the theme of ‘lost children’ was an important element in the piece. The artist typically works with lots of everyday objects and wanted the message of the story telling within her piece to be ‘present but not too prescriptive.’

  1. Andrew Campbell ‘Reliquary’

Campbell’s artwork revolved around inviting people to take a piece out of his clay design, removing bits of his landscape and make it into something new. He explained that the word ‘reliquary’ relates to a spirit of vessel and a vessel that holds thought or emotion. This idea was important to the work in addition to the elements of landscape and memory. Campbell hoped his piece would ‘encourage people to take on the challenge on doing something new and touching and interacting.’

  1. Ruby Millard ‘Draw with’

To engage with Millard, participants sat down and drew with her. Afterwards their piece got added to other’s work on a display board. Millard said the intention was to give people the chance to ‘relax with the art for 5 mins’ and to remind people of the pleasure of drawing and making art. Millard aimed to get people who don’t usually draw to do so, and emphasised to me the importance of freedom that can allow people to create what they want through non-pressure mark making. She explained how she enjoyed collaboration, as ‘it is always interesting to work with others’ and is ‘nice to see what different people think.’

Overall the exhibition gave the audience a chance to engage with art in new ways, and the interactive elements across all of the pieces created an unforgettable evening.

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Leia Butler

Leia Butler