Throughout the month of February, the Jersey Arts Centre held their unique exhibition, The Dance, to celebrate 36 years of the Arts Centre and the Berni Gallery. With only 36 hours, over four days, local artists were given the challenge to create their pieces, producing their work straight onto the gallery walls.
Lizi Hill, Helen Munro, James Carter and Kirsty Garcia had just 36 hours, in situ, to create and complete their work. After the 36 hours was up, the gallery was open to the public, until the walls were subsequently painted over at the end of the month, covering up the artwork forever.
The exhibition itself was the brainchild of Jersey Arts Centre’s Director, Daniel Austin. We caught up with Daniel to find out more about his brilliant idea.
Where did the idea come from for The Dance?
The idea of painting directly onto the Berni Walls started in 2006, when we needed to repaint the gallery as it was looking a little worn! It just seemed quite natural, that before we did this, we should offer up the space for Jersey artists to experiment.
Why the name ‘The Dance’?
There is always a title for these time-constrained exhibitions and February saw a number of local dance companies performing at Jersey Arts Centre. However, we did discuss with the selected artists that their work didn’t have to be literal and that they might like to think more broadly about the notion of movement, travel and flight.
What brief was given to the artists before they began?
That none of the work could be produced before the week of the installation; that there was only 36 hours to complete the work; to respond to the title; and that they might wish to challenge their usual process and approach the work in a completely different way.
What was the significance behind the artists using the gallery walls as their canvas?
It offers a freedom that might be restricted in some way when working on a smaller, different sort of canvas and, of course, the opportunity of work fusing between artists.
If you could have chosen any artist, dead or alive, to take part in the event – who would it be?
I am a big fan of the Spanish surrealist, Miró. I would have offered up the whole gallery for a solo exhibition! Colours, shapes and ideas appear extraordinary and hugely celebratory with Miró!