Last night I popped along to the opening of a new art show taking place in one of the empty shops of the High Street Arcade. It’s fantastic to see the empty units being used for something positive, and it always brings a new sense of excitement to the arcades when this kind of thing happens.
Taking place at the site of The Wardrobe, the men’s clothes shop that closed down last year after nearly 20 years of trading in the arcade, the art exhibition is hosted by December Lab the same people who organise Vertical Cinema over at Gwdihw.
I spoke to one of the organisers, Lee, last night about why they chose to exhibit in the arcades. He told me that originally they’d originally tried to exhibit in the Morgan Arcade but were met with costs that weren’t there for the High Street Arcade. Although the space in the Morgan Arcade is bigger, it’s fair to say that The Wardrobe has a great amount of character, especially upstairs.
I met two of the artists who are exhibiting, Jonathan Thomas and Garrett Lynch. Also on display is Henrik Hedinge, Freeman & Fine, Daniel Jeczalik and Liam O’Conner. Unfortunately exhibitor Inga Burrows has pulled out. The show focuses on the idea of ‘Being’ and uses video installation and other artforms.
Speaking to Garrett about his work was fascinating. A lecturer at the University of Glamorgan, he puts on ‘performances’ through Second Life, the virtual reality online world. As you’ll see in his portrait, he wears a sandwich board, with the phrase “I AM GARRETT LYNCH (IRL)” on it. This is the same as his virtual avatar wears, a play on both his nationality (Irish) and the abbreviation for “In Real Life.” It would probably take me far too long to explain in this post exactly what the performances involve, so the best thing you can do is go along to the exhibition to see it for yourself! And you can find more information on Garrett Lynch’s website.
Jonathan, who wasn’t so keen on having his photo taken but let me anyway, is displaying a video projection upstairs and is, according to the information leaflet, ‘An investigation into/with/through frames (aesthetic, spatial, temporal, epistemological, ontological, ideological…), offscreen space and the imaginary object. Again, it’s probably better if you just pop along to see the show.
You can see more pictures from the show in this post, and it runs until the 28th May. For more information, you can visit the Facebook event page – or just call into the shop the next time you’re in the city centre!