Now in its second year, Exposure is Parasol Unit’s annual prize for talented UK art school graduates. Exposure offers artists the opportunity to show their work in a formal gallery setting alongside a major exhibition – this year Adel Abdessemed’s Silent Warriors. Don’t Panic caught up with winners Kate Liston, Lea Provenzano and Leah Capaldi.
Could you each tell us a bit about the work that you have in the Exposure show?
LC: It’s been a real turning point in my practice. Until February this year I was working in performance that was about the performance artist, sanctity and truth. Then I read Claire Bishop’s Double Agent catalogue which broadened my horizons. I always felt a strain to make political art. When you’ve got that idea in mind it turns out to be propaganda. Freeing myself from that was a huge step. My work in the show – both the installation and the performance – concerns the idea of performance which references itself and its own history. It’s also about endurance and taking the audience to another place which they might not necessarily be comfortable with.
LP: When I first showed the Hour’s Light video it was in a separate room but this time there are all different pieces in the same room. I just wanted to try it. To me there’s no ideal way of showing. It’s always going to be read together anyway. Or not. And that’s fine. If I was thinking about something it was about things touching and this new age thing about a state of change. The prism goes over you, the molecules change and you’re healed. It’s about a desire to believe more than anything else.
KL: So far my practice has relied heavily on having a framework. I’ve made a lot of work for exhibitions. Then everything within that is a negotiation. Usually the videos come out of the setting up of a physical space to play within. When I was in Newcastle I used MDF boards to create an arbitrary sense of space in the stairwell. And then that then informs the other video. All the camera shots that I took were cataloguing the space, following the lines and doing a CCTV type documentation. It just seemed like I might as well be pointing with my finger, so I put that in.
How did this come about? Were you nominated or did you have to apply?
KL: Our degree show was up and then one day the judges went round. They were looking for some kind of relationship between the work and they thought we were all ‘non medium specific’.
Do you agree with that assessment – do you see links between your work?
LC: I think there are links. At the Royal College, painting and sculpture were separated physically for so long and then both departments moved down to the same site. It’s remarkable how those links have permeated subconsciously.
KL: I think the link between our work is that none of us are presenting objects. Lea is presenting indexes to psychic phenomena, relics of something that happened and I’m presenting videos of installations. It’s the same with Leah’s videoed performances. It’s like you’re one step removed.
What has been the best thing about winning the Exposure award?
LC: The experience of working with the gallery, with these people who work to such a high professional standard. It’s an opportunity to have a deeper insight into how the art world works when you’re a more established part of it.
KL: It’s a different audience too. At the Royal College, there are about 18 of you within your discipline so the discussions tend to go round in circles. You know what people are going to say about your work. You’re going from that to a situation where the audience are people that you’ve never met.
So what’s next for each of you?
KL: I won the Red Mansion Prize which was open to anyone in the fine art department at the Royal College so next summer I’m going to Beijing for four weeks to stay in a live-work space and then there’s an exhibition that happens in spring 2012.
LC: I’ve got a proposal with a major institution. It’s a project where I’d like to use their CCTV to film a performance that I’ll be doing throughout their space. We’re still in the negotiation stage but it’s looking alright.
LP: I’m doing a show in February with some young curators in Hackney Wick. There’s going to be a publication and some talks. I’m also doing a project with my husband: we’re going to create every possible digital image. It’s like the human genome project, it’s huge!
Exposure 10 runs until October 17 at Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art.