In an ongoing series at g39, the artists in tibrO yalP were invited to respond to Play Orbit, an experimental exhibition first shown at the 1969 National Eisteddfod of Wales in Fflint and then at the ICA. Play Orbit was curated by Jasia Reichardt (then Assistant Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London) in collaboration with Peter Jones of the Welsh Arts Council.
That exhibition consisted of ‘toys, games, and playables [produced] by people not professionally involved with the design of playthings, but who work in the field of the visual arts’.
While our show continues to centre around play, it is play of all kinds; play as a political tool, in opposition to 'work', play where it is not viewed instrumentally as an early-years vehicle to learning that we’re encouraged to eventually set aside.
Since Play Orbit, the development of gaming technology has changed the tools that might be considered ‘playthings’ but the concept remains the same. Spaces like the one we inhabit, ex-light industrial tin-sheds, are increasingly used as buildings for ‘play’ in the form of skateparks, softplay, climbing centres and toddler groups. Play is often virtual and physical - games through technology while playing in the 'real' world. The artists are also curious about the relationship of play with competition and competitive-ness. The programme at g39 is supported by Lottery, by a game.
Ella Jones' work is a soft textile sculpture that you can sit inside, race through or lie down in. A tent and a den, a sanctuary - that space under a desk or inside a cardboard box, but made of squishy arches, puffy walls like a sleeping bag.
Jason&Becky offer interaction and play as tools to explore spaces that are less easy to define - between artefacts and the spaces we inhabit. Fusing tech and objects that interact they blur the lines between cause and effect.
Natasha MacVoy will use materials from the gallery and objects brought from her studio, to create an environment that encourages all visitors to consider recreation, enjoyment and imaginative pretence above the serious possibilities for learning and transformation that play offers. The project started by taking a roll down a grassy bank.
Shaun James is using print and interactive systems of image making to move between abstract form and outcomes, he is interested in the relations between people and the act of making, how we go about bringing things into being.
During the exhibition, Eric Martin Kamosi will be based in the cinema to explore the relationships between music, visual media, digital mediation and movement. He is currently designing software-based sound toys for musicians and non-musicians to use together in collaborative performances.
tibrO yalP is the first in a series of commissions we want to work in collaboration with existing groups, initiatives, schools and sculptors to expand and change the attendance and use of the gallery.