Live With It

Artists’ House Installation and Art Take-Away opens at Mura Ma in September
Colin Petch
July 31, 2023

Live With It, an artists’ house installation opens at Mura Ma Art Space, Marple on Saturday 2 September. Thirty artists have been invited to co-create an imagined home environment to explore the idea of the home as an artistic practice.

“Somewhere between an expanded still life and a stage set - an invitation to participate in an imagined occupancy. A mise-en-scene.” Kirsty Bell, author of Artist’s House.

Facilitated by artists Jane Fairhurst and Nan Collantine, who have handed over the installation process to the artists themselves, Live with it will begin with a series of unseen performative elements, starting with the activation of the space with sculptures by Kat Button and Jane Fairhurst.

The gallery will be divided into rooms, intimated through the placing of items of furniture. Each room is then developed, as artists respond through the placing of an artwork and an object within their chosen space in a given time slot of 30 minutes.

The installation will be recorded with before and after photographs taken from specific vantage points around the space as the setting develops.

Viewers will be invited to enter the created space to experience the imagined environment that mimics the ‘artists house’.

Live with it will also include events and activities that will investigate home as a place of creative endeavour, observe and discuss the practice of collecting and arranging, and explore how domestic labour and caring can be reframed as valuable creative capital.

The exhibition will evolve as art and all objects in the exhibition are available to buy and taken away, as you would in a shop. Sold objects and artworks will be replenished on a weekly basis and different artists will be invited to place work within the installation.

Jane Fairhurst and Nan Collantine will be writing a text in response to the exhibition after the initial installation. Research into this project references the work of Francis Bacon, the Art Povera movement, Kirsty Bell, Gaston Bachelard The Poetics of Space, Soetsu Yanagi The Beauty of Everyday Things, artist Sol Calero’s exhibition Casa Encontrada, Shaun McNiff, Trust the Process.

On the theme of the exhibition, Nan Collantine says: “Jane and I wanted to explore ideas around creative and artistic practice in the home and questioning who gets to be the curator. We believe that anyone who creates an environment, however small, be it a shelf, a studio flat, shelter or a house does so with their own artistic, aesthetic, and cultural sensitivities. Reading Shaun McNiff’s book, Trust the Process in the early days of my own practice, helped me tune into this idea that domestic space, arrangements, physical activities around the home, each offers insights into our unique expression as humans.

“Collecting objects is associated with building meaning into our lives and the things around us are vessels for memory. The way we display those objects is vital to our creating a world in which we feel safe and sheltered from the outside world and in that becomes an expression of our inner world.

“Rethinking, re-imagining the gallery space as a place not only to experience artworks but to participate in this mise en scene as actors performing their roles. As a modern gallery we want to show people that art offers a multi-dimensional value to life, whether that is art, or a handmade item or even something given to us with all that embedded meaning and memory. It is about creatively constructing our own reality and bring together objects that help us to create that world, express who we are and to act as memory holders.”

On activating the space, Jane Fairhurst explains: “It seems a simple act to place my work in an empty space but there is something profound and quite daunting in the act of choosing, as the first actor on the stage setting in motion the scene for what is to follow.

In activating the space within a freeform concept lays the foundation for an unknown structure and that is exhilarating. Like a seed whose DNA has been scrambled and knows not what it will become but knows that from its germination something new and wonderful will bloom.

"I’m excited to play my part at the start of the construction of a stage setting to which each artist will bring their own flavour and when the viewers arrive to take their part the mise en scene will be complete.”

The exhibition runs from opens Saturday 2 September-21 October 2023. Preview Friday 1 September 7-9pm