Everything Must Go!
It's the end of VTO on Teesdale street, the gallery that Jari Lager has been running for the past six, seven, whatever years, and which has held over 70 shows. I've been to only a few, most notably Graham Hudson's show last year which I loved - but more of him later. Tonight, there's a sort of salon style exhibition of pieces sent in by those who have shown here over the gallery's lifetime. The idea is to have an auction at the end. According to Jari, it will all go on ebay, but who knows? There's a lot of stuff here. Upstairs there's a bar and DJs. I get a beer and bump into Toby Gerridge (who I find out lives here - 'Yeah, came home tonight and there's a party going on in my gaff..') and get him to tell me about bio-jewellery, something he has been working on for ages which is both amazing and slightly unsettling. The premise is that you can have a piece of jewellery made out of your (or your lovers') bone material, grown from a small sample in a laboratory and then fashioned into a ring or similar small piece of adornment. It's a long and complicated process and I listen while he talks me thru it in detail. Unfortunately I didn't take notes and he didn't come to the party with a powerpoint presentation on him, so there's no way I can relate that process to you here and now...let's just say it's a tricky one, and not something you should try at home.
I talk to Nigel Grimmer. I've been reading his blog recently and enjoying it very much. It's very straightforward and quite charming - you too can read it here. While we're chatting he keeps receiving phone calls and having to repeat the same thing: '...then just walk up Canrobert Street...it's just at the end of the street, there's a projection going on, you can't miss it..'. He gives me an invite to his upcoming show at Standpoint. He has some work here tonight. It's framed in perspex and he's getting worried by how much dust it has picked up since being hung. Finally we go stand near it: he takes out a tissue and polishes it. He's much happier. Then his phone rings. 'Hello, yes? Yes, just walk straight up Canrobert Street...'
I catch up with Graham Hudson. He is talking with Dave Hoyland (above). They are both grinning maniacally and getting excited about doing something called 'Sculpture Wars'. Graham is currently on a residency at Chelsea Parade Ground. He is collecting off-cuts of wood for his own work - 'found a lovely piece of beech the other day' - and he's building something. A fortress? A bunker? A whole network of interlinking, underground, booby-trapped tunnels? It's not clear what, but I can't help but think this whole residency could end up quite messy. A few months down the line and they'll be sending in a special task force to take him out. He has that look in his eye. 'The smell of sculpture in the morning. It smells of...VICTORY.'
I go upstairs to the bar. It's filling up. The music's playing, people are talking, the bar staff are looking good. Jari is circulating, talking, serving behind the bar, having his photo taken. It's a good way to say goodbye. I'd spoken to him earlier. 'I just want to take a break for a year, or maybe two years, to have some time off from running the gallery...and yeah, I already have a new space downstairs, yeah, you know, I have the name for it already and loads of ideas...' Everything might be going, but I reckon that everything will be coming back soon...