Penzance and Newlyn get new gallery spaces and major exhibition
Newlyn Art Gallery and its brand new sister gallery in Penzance,
The Exchange, have been launched after a £4 million
extension and development scheme.
Newlyn Art Gallery, whose history goes back over 100 years,
has had its Victorian facilities improved with a bright new
pavilion giving panoramic views of the sea and Newlyn Green.
The two-storey structure provides a new education space, café
and bookshop, plus a versatile new Lower Gallery for exhibitions
and events. The Upper Gallery has also been refurbished.
In Penzance, the town's former telephone exchange has
been transformed into the largest single gallery space in
the region, with an undulating glass façade. The dramatic
glass panels are illuminated by a changing light display,
designed by Penwith-based artist Peter Freeman.
Called The Exchange, the new gallery is a large T-shape,
twice the size of Newlyn's, with features that preserve
the original industrial feel of the building in its former
"We are witnessing the most dramatic period of
change in Newlyn Art Gallery's 112 year history,"
said James Green, director of The Exchange and Newlyn Art
Gallery. "All of this has been a very long time
in the planning and to see these international artists starting
to inhabit the galleries and bring their visions to life is
really exciting for all involved.
"We now have the opportunity to present work on
a scale never before presented in the region. The gallery
space at The Exchange, the largest single exhibition gallery
space for over 180 miles, is vast and industrial in feel,
contrasting markedly with the refined classical top-lit gallery
"Together these galleries provide artists with
an extraordinary repertoire of spaces to work with and will
bring the best in regional, national and international contemporary
art to audiences in the South West."
The new and extended gallery spaces have opened with a multi-site
exhibition, 'social systems', that also involves
Tate St Ives and reaches into the public realm. The exhibition,
presented by arts organisation ProjectBase, is the first in
a new, ambitious programme that will see Newlyn Art Gallery
and The Exchange pull in international artists and work in
partnerships with major institutions like Tate.
For the exhibition, Cornwall-based organisation ProjectBase
has called on artists from different countries who develop
products, systems and tools to create works which must involve
the public to be activated and have meaning. This so-called
'social sculpture' entails visitor participation
in different and diverse ways with each artist's work.
The exhibition runs until 2 September 2007.
Newlyn Art Gallery is showing the results of Turner Prize
nominee Christine Borland's residencies at Peninsula
Medical School, Truro. The video works and sculptures she
has developed look at the subject of 'practice',
communication systems, and medicine.
At The Exchange, an Argentinian artistic publishing project
has collaborated with a Cornish writers' collective
to translate Latin American texts into Cornish dialect. The
works are available to buy.
Javier Barilaro and Washington Cucurto founded Eloisa Cartonera
in 2003 in Buenos Aires. The not-for-profit project works
with local paper collectors, artists and writers to publish
and distribute never before published material by Latin-American
For Eloisa Cartonera's residency at The Exchange, they
have teamed up with locals Scavel an Gow.
German artist Regina Möller has also created a special
version of her magazine, 'regina', for social
systems. 'regina in Cornwall' mimics a commercial
fashion magazine but subverts the format with content that
challenges the mainstream magazines' representation
of the role of women in contemporary society.
Topics covered in the edition include the meaning of traditional
fisherman's clothing patterns and women surfers.
The magazine and a sculptural wetsuit made by Möller
are being shown at Tate St Ives, and the magazine is being
distributed at various newsagents alongside the likes of Elle
and Marie Claire.
Also presented at Tate is a project by Danish artist collective
Superflex. The project, Free Beer, plays with the idea of
counter-economics, applying the open source software model
to a traditional real-world product.
The idea behind open source software is that the programme
(source) code behind an application or other computer utility
is free for everyone to see and adjust as they like, creating
a modified product from it if they so wish. A piece of software
based on open source may even be sold for profit.
Superflex have produced a bottled beer, and are giving away
the recipe in an analogous way.
The gallery projects have been supported with £1.65
million Arts Council funding and £1.5 million from Objective
One. Significant funding has also come from Cornwall County
Council, Penwith District Council and investments by the Rural
Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Partnership (RCP) through the
SW Regional Development Agency Rural Renaissance Initiative.
"We're delighted that with our investment,
we now have wonderful new gallery spaces of which West Cornwall
and the wider region can be justifiably proud," said
Nick Capaldi, Arts Council England, South West Executive Director.
"These new cultural assets will make a significant
contribution to economic regeneration in West Cornwall, ensuring
also that Cornwall's reputation for enterprising visual
arts activity remains firmly on the international map."
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in the Newlyn Art Gallery Development
project through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
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