liu interview ‘legacy 1’

How did the exhibition, ‘Legacy 1’ come about?

Having lived and worked in Hackney Wick we have a good understanding of the regeneration that is happening due to the Olympics. We were very interested in the site, here in Hackney Wick as it was until recently occupied by warehouses. The location seemed to suggest an archaeological discovery from a bygone era. The title ‘Legacy 1’ refers to the to the often discussed ‘Olympic legacy’.

How did you go about finding artists for the show?

We wanted direct responses to the site, so we chose artists whose works reference the industrial, either through their use of materials or their work being sight-specific. It was also important that we had a mixture of recent graduates, represented artists and International practitioners to create a strong dynamic.

You are both artists, how does curating exhibitions impact on your own practice?

It was inspiring to see artists responding to our brief, we are sure that these elements will feed into our own practice, it all feels very natural- one informs the other.

LIU work with out a base-could you talk a little bit about how you see this system functioning?

We want to curate future exhibitions in disused industrial spaces; this will bring about a more interesting dialogue in regards to exhibition making. Working without a fixed space offers a lot of freedom and opportunities to work on interesting projects as and when we choose.

I think one of the most interesting thing that comes out of the art world, is this sense of community and self determinism, how artists share skills and create platforms.

We began LIU (Light Industrial Use) to continue the discussions that we had already begun in Hackney Wick. Having previously co-created a live/work space on Fish Island in 2009 where we both programmed exhibitions and events. We learnt a lot from this experience and it clarified our interests. The existing artistic community is important, but we also want to draw in the wider arts communities of East London and beyond, generating a platform for open and experimental environment for artists to work within.

Do curators have the same responsibilities as artists?

Curators have more responsibilities than artists because they are creating the context that the art works are viewed within.

After the Frieze generation in the late eighties there was an explosion of artist-run spaces and artist-curators. My feeling is that this had a lot to do with the Thatcherism and  her neo-liberalist idea about creating your own opportunities.Do you think the current economic situation, or New Labour has impacted on your values in any way?

Artist led spaces help to re-establish a direct contact with their audiences and local communities, we hope that the recent cuts to arts council funding shall not curb this and that the powers above will realise the beneficial impact the arts have on the wider community.

Where do you want to take LIU next?

We want to continue to work with new artists in a variety of indoor and outdoor space, inviting them to create site-specific works.

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About georgevasey

George Vasey is a curator and writer. You can contact him at georgegrahamvasey@gmail.com

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