Friday, 11 February 2011

Frillip Moolog gets sporty with Away Pitch, a Staffordshire Cultural Olympiad Project

Tall Legs . One of my earliest Frillip Moolog 'beings'. Her vain side is the one that I notice first.

I may have strength and stamina but sports has never been my strong point.

True I did run in County Cross Country races when I was at school but show me a bat and ball and I am completely hopeless.

How nice then that I have been able to take part in Away Pitch, East Staffordshire Borough Council's Inspire Mark Cultural Olympiad Project.

Back in the spring of 2010 I got a call from artist and project manager, Vitor Azevedo, at Burton upon Trent’s Brewhouse.

He was searching for artists who would love a sporty adventure.

Adventure? Yes I’m in!

The plan was that 20 Staffordshire based artists would loan a piece of their artwork to a sportsperson (again based in Staffordshire). The sportsperson would have the artwork in their house or office for a month. They would live with it.

At the end of the month Playwright and Poet Kevin Fegan visited the sportsperson for a chat. This chat was really his way of finding out the sportsperson’s feelings about the artwork, about art in general and how art fitted (or not) into their lives.

Depending on the personalities involved, this chat took all sorts of twists and turns. Kevin’s job was to write a poem inspired by the conversation.

Vitor also visited the artists and photographed them with the the artwork that they had shared their home with for the period of the project. Again, the setting and composition that Vitor chose for the photograph was influenced by their home, their personality and the artwork itself.

Away Pitch had it’s launch at Burton Brewhouse in July 2010. For this opening show not only were the photographs and poems exhibited but the artworks themselves were also part of the show. The private view was one of the busiest that I have been to.

Also at this private view we watched a specially choreographed piece of dance which included dancers and sports people. There was live music and several of the poems were read by Kevin Fegan himself.

The private view really was a Cultural Olympiad success as it brought sports people, artists and their family and friends together. As we artists had all agreed to loan our artwork without knowing where it would go it was exciting to meet the sportsperson.

And although the allocation of artworks to sports people was completely random it did seem uncannily appropriate that my piece Tall Legs should have shared a space with Vicky Brearley, who is a very tall lady herself!

Me with Tall Legs and Vicky Brearley, Head of Sport, Physical Health and Community Development. East Staffordshire Borough Council

Each work had it’s own little green notebook that travelled with it. This was where the sports people, their family and friends were able to write comments, responses and anecdotes of their own. Here's what Vicky wrote about Tall Legs. I think that they hit it off!

So here we get to see Tall Legs hidden sporty side as she is on the running track with Vicky. I love that Vitor and Vicky took a fun approach to composing the photograph.

Frillip Moolog is a ‘place’ where there’s a lot of humour.

Kevin's poem about Vicky and Tall Legs.

This is probably my favourite of Vitor's Away Pitch photographs. I love the lighting and atmosphere in the room.

Again it seems like serendipity that Paul Calderwood's piece which features a circle motif should be (randomly) pared up with mountain biking champion Kieran McAvoy.

For the next 12 months the exhibition of the photographs and poems is traveling around Staffordshire. I am sure that the Arts Council will be pleased that so many people have been involved and that it truly has been a project where sports people and artists have rubbed shoulders.

This is one of the poems that Kevin read at the launch event in Burton upon Trent and also at Chasewater Innovation Centre

Celebrity Football

I’d never trust a poet to take a penalty

or ask an artist to defend a goal,

I’d never want a musician to take a corner

or an actor to play a holding role;

but I would like to see a dancer

with the elegance of Thierry Henry,

the muscular grace of Zinedine Zidane

and the dazzling feet of Lionel Messi

rise to the ball from a Ronaldo free-kick

in sequins and tights and little pop socks,

one eye on the ball, the other on the camera,

with a shimmy through the six yard box

to leap over the stranded keeper

as he chips a delicate ball and scores,

then slides to his devoted public

and takes a bow to thunderous applause.

Vitor Azevedo, Kevin Fegan, Kirsty E Smith and Vicky Brearley (and Tall Legs in the photo!)
Photo taken while the exhibition was at Chasewater Innovation Centre.

Away Pitch shows at it’s fourth Staffordshire venue

The New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire ST5 0JG

21 February to 19 March 2011

Watch this video about the project. Includes a short interview with Kev Fegan

1 comment :

mand said...

Fantastic, what fun :) and you are doing so well nowadays!

And now I'll have to show you a bat and ball ...