We live in a time when branding has
become an art form, political debates
are played out as soap-operas and
fashion makes a commodity out of
street culture. Shelf Life presents
thirteen artists and collectives from
UK, Europe, South Africa, North and
South America who simultaneously
embrace and challenge consumerism in
their practice. Several of the artists
included in the exhibition are
previously unseen in this country,
though well known or emerging in
other parts of the world.
Artists included are: Bitterkomix (SA), Maria Hedlund (SW), Paul Khera (UK), Robert Linder (USA),
Euan Macdonald (C), Kerry James Marshall (USA), Robin Rhode (SA), Freddie
Robins (UK), Dario Robleto (USA), Will Rogan (USA), Santiago Sierra (M), Gabriela
Shelf Life presents a selection of artists’ who provide a space for reflection on personal expression, cultural difference and incidental occurrences – the ‘human’ aspects of our constructed world. Some of the artists use appropriation to the point where language is both created and unravelled. Others make visible the incidental or transient situations which create the personality of a city.
The artists included are united in re-evaluating art historical values; situating the art in the gallery as well as in the street, using readymades and crafted objects, challenging distinctions between high and low art. Together their practice forms an invisible network of resistance to the homogenisation of culture, and crosses social and political boundaries as a result.
Curated by smith + fowle, Shelf Life is a collaboration between Gasworks Gallery, London and Spike Island, Bristol. Both organisations occupy a unique position in the UK in that they break down traditional divides between artistic production and presentation by including artists’ studios and international residency programmes within the gallery environment. Architect Andreas Lange has been commissioned to design the installation of the exhibition at both venues. In his redevelopment he challenges the way art is looked at and will make uniform the galleries whose architecture is fundamentally different. Shelf Life will be presented in the galleries, the studios and the surrounding urban area.
Shelf Life will include three international residencies, Dario Robleto will be resident at Spike Island and Will Rogan and Robin Rhode at Gasworks. The Shelf Life publication will include texts by smith + fowle and a commissioned essay by Neil Leach. Shelf Life will be at Spike Island from 26 January – 10 March 2002.
Line of 250cm Tattooed on Six Paid People, 1999
Black and white photograph
Courtesy Galerie Peter