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Art Sheffield 2016 – Beatrice Gibson

Friday 15 April 2016
2 - 8 pm

Festival: 16 April – 8 May 2016

The Art Sheffield festival returns for its sixth edition in April 2016 with Up, Down, Top, Bottom, Strange and Charm, curated by Martin Clark.

Register for the Art Sheffield preview event via Eventbrite here. Drinks reception from 5pm.

Marie Angeletti | Charles Atlas | Michel Auder | Anna Barham | Steven Claydon | Mark Fell | Beatrice Gibson | Pat Hearn and Shelley Lake | Florian Hecker | Hannah Sawtell | Richard Sides | Paul Sietsema | Jean-Michel Wicker | Scratch video works by George Barber, Nick Cope, Jeffrey Hinton, Duvet Brothers, John Scarlett Davis, Gorilla Tapes, John Maybury, Kim Flitcroft and Sandra Goldbacher.

Art Sheffield 2016 takes place in venues and locations across the city, including some of Sheffield’s most iconic buildings and sites of historic and cultural significance, including iconic, brutalist landmark the Moore Street electricity substation and Portland Works, where stainless steel was first maufactured. The festival brings together exhibitions, events, talks and screenings showcasing works and major new commissions by both prominent and emerging British and international artists.

Curated this year by Martin Clark, Director of Bergen Kunsthall in Norway, the Art Sheffield 2016 takes as its starting point the political, social, cultural, and material histories of the city of Sheffield, which are enacted and explored through a carefully selected group of international video, film and sound works, as well as major new commissions by three British artists. The title of the exhibition, Up, Down, Top, Bottom, Strange and Charm is taken from the six flavours (or types) of quark: the elementary particles that make up every atom, and the fundamental building blocks of matter.

The festival is conceived as an ‘exploded’ group show, dispersed across the city’s streets and spaces. All of the works are moving image or sound, and the fabric of the city itself is very explicitly activated and inhabited by the exhibition. Each artist occupies a single, separate location, with the physical journey between each venue and work forming an intrinsic part of the experience of the show. Sheffield’s various histories are alluded to, but only in order to address more universal, fundamental, as well as personal, themes. The city’s material histories – built around steel, manufacturing and industry – are evoked in the exhibition through the rapidly disappearing architecture of Victorian works and industrial buildings, as well as the show’s engagement with the economic, social and cultural climate that these industries produced, particularly during their decline in the 1980s and the Thatcherite politics that accelerated it. Read a full curatorial statement here.

For Art Sheffield 2016: Up, Down, Top, Bottom, Strange and Charm, Bloc Projects are delighted to host Beatrice Gibson’s 2014 film F for Fibonacci, which explores the tentative connection between economics, finance and 20th century avant-garde musical composition, its point of departure being William Gaddis’ epic 1975 capitalist satire JR. The novel follows an 11-year-old boy who, with the help of his school’s resident composer, creates a vast financial empire through penny stocks and postal orders. Gibson uses a moment in the novel in which a televised economics lesson and a music class are accidentally scrambled to create a film that plays with and extends both the subject matter and style of Gaddis’ work.

Gibson’s films, performances and texts and scores draw from fiction, the voice, sound, and the slippery nature of language. Drawing on avant-garde musical composition and experimental literature from the 1950 onwards, her previous works have been directly influenced by composers including John Cage and Cornelius Cardew, and writers B.S Johnson and  Gertrude Stein.

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The Art Sheffield Festival is a biannual citywide visual art event led by a consortium of arts venues including Bloc Projects, Museums Sheffield, S1 Artspace, Sheffield Hallam University and Site Gallery. Between festivals, Art Sheffield promotes Sheffield based contemporary visual art activity through online listings and a regular e-bulletin.

Martin Clark curated his first exhibition at the newly founded S1 Artspace in 1999 after studying Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University. After completing his MA at the Royal College of Art, Clark was Curator at Arnolfini, Bristol before becoming Artistic Director of Tate St Ives. He is now Director of Bergen Kunsthall, Norway.