For its first of two shows under the current 'aid for exhibition spaces' grant, g39 organised a high-profile public art exhibition using very prominent billboard sites adjacent to each other at the city centre end of Bute St in Cardiff. Each hoarding is 10’x20’ (3.07m x 6.14m).
‘Slash and Burn’ brought together the two artists Jennie Savage
and Ralph Juergen Colmar
who both took as their inspiration the immediate area around the billboard sites.
The phrase ‘Slash & Burn’ comes from an agricultural process whereby vegetation is cut down and torched to clear an area for new growth. This is reflected in the regeneration that is so prevalent particularly in the Bay area of Cardiff. The hoardings are in front of a large area currently undergoing redevelopment, which will eventually become a public piazza with gardens and water features. This is intended to act as a gateway at the top of Bute St. that stretches to Cardiff Bay. An area rich with social and trading histories, the Bay is playing host to a massive urban development project intended to bring new business and leisure opportunities to a fatigued suburb of the City.
Curating the show, we felt that many artists were constrained by the recognised format of billboards, namely product advertising, and were missing the real potential of the medium. We sought to develop a theme that would be site-specific, using the billboards in an innovative way. A few submissions gelled together, all fortunately working around themes relevant to Cardiff. Taking as our influence the building site around the hoardings, the theme was refined to comment on the progression of urban regeneration taking place in our cities.