This year we’ll be spotlighting our studio members and first up we have Andy Broadey from our 1st Floor.
Andy is an installation artist who is primarily interested in the meanings that inhere within architectural structures and the effect of these structures upon the people who enter and engage with them. His work uses art galleries as supports for photographic imagery to create installations that disrupt and comment upon the galleries’ status as privileged sites of aesthetic appreciation.
He has recently completed his PhD at the University of Leeds which examined the relations between Institutional Critique and white cube gallery conventions at the start of the twenty-first century.
Q1. Your recent work has looked at ideologies, from the editorial choices and assumptions of Bulgarian travel guides in Sight Seeing, to the changing political beliefs behind Still and your PhD which explores the conventions of contemporary gallery spaces. What drew you to explore this in your work?
There is a strong focus on conceptual and critical art practice at University of Leeds where I studied, and I think over time a certain force of osmosis solidified ideology critique as key concern for my work. Ideology is the given, the way things go, the assumptions we project onto ourselves and others. Such habits of thought and action endure when passivity dominates. I also don’t believe that we can simply step outside of ideology. It has to be turned, its articulations reconfigured, and its contradictions exposed. In this sense the production of critical distance has become a key objective for my art practice.
Q2. In Still, you responded to the Buzludja monument as part of Water Tower Art Fest, Bulgaria, in a project which explored how this structure has become emblematic of it’s social context and history. I wondered if you could tell us about how this duality of past and present informed the process that led to this piece of work?
Working with WaterTower Art Fest in Bulgaria has allowed me to explore the distribution of political ideologies in East and West Europe. Both are mired in neo-liberalism, yet thought on viable political alternatives is still overshadowed by the spectre of state capitalism. Repeatedly photographing the corridors of the now ruined Meeting House of the Bulgarian Communist Party allowed me to focus upon how this sense of aftermath shapes the here and now of politics in Bulgaria and beyond.
I am very drawn to Walter Benjamin’s narration of the Paul Klee painting Angelus Novus (1920) where we see an angel blown forwards by the winds of history with her back turned to the future. She witnesses the wreckage of the past piling at her feet, yet it is only from these past repetitions that a better future might be forged. Similarly, with Still the two cameras I used perpetually switched positions facing back onto the position from which the previous shot in the series was taken. What has happened conditions the possibility of what can happen.
The A6 project takes place within artist run spaces in Manchester. Such spaces are invariably produced through the appropriation of former industrial sites for the purposes of artistic display. Debris is removed, walls are painted white, and new lighting is introduced. No longer a vacant lot within urban space, the site becomes an arena of display held apart from its surroundings by its capacity to communicate emptiness. Exhibited within such spaces mundane objects, images and activities can be nominated as art.
I am interested in the opportunities that such appropriations of life as art present, and the architectural conditions of separation that facilitate these acts. I will produce a series of works for the A6 project that nominate the gallery space as an arena of political interaction between artist and audience starting at PS Mirabel with the introduction of a series of chalkboards communicating notes on the gallery space and instructions for the audience.