This exhibition is the first showing in a gallery setting of two major projects by the artists Walker and Bromwich. The two works, The Art Lending Library and The Dragon of Profit and Private Ownership, dating from 2012 and 2017 respectively explore themes of public and private ownership and suggest utopian social models. Both works offer up multiple forms of participation for the audience from membership of the library to performance in a satirical pageant.
Walker and Bromwich are artists based in Glasgow. They have been producing public projects looking at alternative social structures through sculpture, pageantry, and performance for the past two decades. They are perhaps best known for their work Celestial Radio, a fully functioning pirate radio station broadcasting from a mirrored yacht. Their works are visually arresting, optimistic and political and often provide a setting for events allowing discussion around issues raised through the project.
The Art Lending Library, developed by Walker and Bromwich in collaboration with Market Gallery, is a mobile structure that houses over 50 art works by a diverse range of artists working across the broad spectrum of contemporary visual arts practice. The collection contains works by international established to emerging artist from a diversity of backgrounds from Taiwan to Georgia to Leicester. Through this project the works are available for loan to visitors. To take advantage of this they have to join the library and receive their membership card, after which they are able to select work to borrow. They will then be delivered to their home by trained installation staff as part of the project and collected at the end of the loan period.
Alongside the Art lending Library is their most recent project, The Dragon of Profit and Private Ownership (2017). The project emerged from work with ex-mining communities in Ashington in Northumberland. At the heart of the artist’s presentation at The Gallery is a huge inflatable dragon with the words profit and private ownership written on it’s side and inspired by Trade Union banners of the nineteen-twenties. Alongside The Dragon is the film documenting the project and bringing to life the aspirations and achievements of the post war trade Unions within the context of today’s society. The project finale is a satirical pageant that questions dominant mythologies and defies the beast of capitalism.
Walker and Bromwich have shown in Tate Britain, London, The Whitechapel Gallery, London, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, BALTIC, Gateshead; ACCA Melbourne; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Kunstlerhaus, Vienna; Zeppelin Museum, Germany; Edinburgh and The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.
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