Friday 02 February 2007
For its first show of the year, Bloc houses an installation by artist duo WebsterGotts that continues their practice of creating drinking-inspired artwork.
In their work Scott Webster and Alexis Gotts closely examine pub memorabilia and culture, reproducing an assortment of objects, sayings and images. Pub furniture, framed photographs of grand gentlemen from an unknown time, and philosophical quotes have been replicated but do not pretend to be authentic. Some images include the artists themselves: a television in the corner of the gallery, instead of screening sport, shows footage of the artists nonchalantly pouring pints of bitter on their crotches.
The artists explain that the aim of the exhibition is not to turn the gallery into a pub; rather their interest lies in the effects of removing such objects from their original setting, and the re-contextualisation of the social aspects of pub culture:
“As Sheffield’s once thriving industry has dwindled, so has the influx of students increased. In Sheffield’s ‘Cultural Industries Quarter’ (CIQ), artists and film-makers mingle with local workers for lunch time pints and after-hours socials. We’re interested in pub memorabilia as it’s an intriguing phenomenon for many strangers and non-locals. Old photographs of local heroes and long-gone regulars; framed newspaper cuttings and hackneyed drinking jokes can provide tenuous links to the local past.”
Alexis Gotts and Scott Webster are collaborating artists in Sheffield. Their practice covers a broad range of disciplines including performance, lectures, installation, painting, writing and lens-based media. Gotts and Webster’s work focuses on re-contextualising social activities such as creative time-wasting, ridicule, ritual insult and jest, of which humour is always an important factor. Inventing characters and exploring the dynamics of their partnership is often the starting point for work that touches on cultural stereotypes and presents the difficulties they have with defining their position within the art world.