Do you remember where we meet us for the first time? How was that time?
PAPER and a-space met for the first time at Colgne Liste art fair. The Art Fair was very quiet in terms of visitors, but it was good for networking with other galleries. We also met Kir Royal as this fair and have collaborated with them on a few projects. With a-space, we developed a good friendship and hung out during the fair. We met again at Art Copenhagen, and since then we have developed a number of collaborative projects, CAMPBasel being the latest.
After we met again and start talking about some ideas. Tell us what and how was the process of the collaboration with a-space?
We arranged to jointly curate the exhibition Into the Deep Woods, which was to be presented with a-space in Basel and Lucerne, and at PAPER’s Manchester gallery. The exhibition included artists represented by both galleries all working on a similar theme: Drawing inspiration from the interpretation of the forest as the unconscious, the artists responded to this notion, creating within their works a narrative construct to explore the theory of the forest as a psychological space. The show featured the artwork of both gallery directors, Roy Hofer and myself. As artist run spaces, this is a clear part of our identity and uniqueness and it was important to make that clear in this context.
Is it the first time to be in Basel? What do you expect from your stay?
I have visited Basel before for Art Basel. It was a huge sprawling monster of a fair. I am also keen to visit Volta, to catch up with Charlie Smith London, and to see Liste. We considered participating in either of these fairs and it will be interesting to see them. However, I am keen to participate in CAMPBasel. It will be interesting to view the contrast between the this exhibitions and these other events in the city
Tell us a little bit about your gallery and about your work?
PAPER is an artist-led, commercial gallery based in Manchester and represents a range of emerging and mid-career artists whose practice is based around the medium of paper, ranging from drawing, painting, printmaking, artist's books, video, and performance. The gallery opened in August 2012 and has a regular programme of exhibitions, presenting the work of gallery artists as well as providing a platform for outside curatorial projects. In 2013 PAPER instigated an Artist-in-Residence programme, Exploring PAPER, and in 2015 a mentoring scheme for artists based in the North-West of England, funded by Arts Council England.
Directed by artist David Hancock, working alongside artists Sarah Boulter, Andrea Cotton, Simon Woolham, Mike Chavez-Dawson and writer, Sara Jaspan; PAPER has participated in five editions of The Manchester Contemporary (UK), as well as, Art Rotterdam 2016, Art on Paper (Brussels), Art Projects at London Art Fair 2015, 2016 and 2017 (UK), Art Copenhagen 2015 and 2016, Sluice Art Fair 2013 and 2015 (London), Supermarket (Stockholm), Project Space Collective at the Affordable Art Fair 2014 (Battersea), Exchange Rates (New York), and Kolner Liste 2015 (Cologne).
What can the people expect from the works you show in Basel?
For CAMPBasel, I will be curating the exhibition, Line & Fold. Though still in progress in terms of ideas, The exhibition looks at artists making work that expands beyond the page of the paper. The show features Lisa Denyer, Louisa Chambers, Ruby Tingle, Paraic Leahy and myself. I’m hoping to add a couple more artists to the list. I’m looking to create a way of hanging that draws lines between the works, forming a constellation of images and work.
How is the art scene in Manchester?
Manchester is a great city to live and work as an artist. It has a strong and committed DIY ethic, and the art scene is very benevolent and supportive of other artists. It is very much artist-led, and the larger institutions in the city are slowly taking note of what goes on at an emergent level and offering their support.
Manchester has the biennial, International Festival, which is huge event that commissions huge new art projects from the likes of Marina Abramovich and Matthew Barney. The city has a number of institutions: The Whitworth, HOME, Manchester Art Gallery, CFCCA, Castlefield, as well as project spaces such as Caustic Coastal, PS Mirabel, Sloe, as well as a number of pop-up spaces. We have The Manchester Contemporary, a fantastic art fair and two Universities (Salford & Manchester Metropolitan) providing fresh artistic talent. What the city does lack is a viable commercial scene. There are three galleries in the city presenting critically engaged work: PAPER, International 3, and Bureau.
What do you think is PAPER gallery going to? Any dreams?
As an artist run space, I have to manage PAPER within my own limitations (practicing artist and lecturer). The gallery can only grow so far within this structure, and to expand beyond would compromise what we do. In an ideal world, we would sell enough work to become self-sustainable and not be so dependent on funding. We are also hoping to attain this through sponsorship packages and patrons.
What are your next plans as an artist and gallerist?
I am making new work for this exhibition, as well as one in Los Angeles at Durden & Ray in November (another artist run project). My current body of work is still in development, and though progressing slower than I would expect, is going well. In terms of my role as gallerist, PAPER will be participating in Art Suomi in Helsinki, CAMPBasel, Art on Paper at BOZAR in Brussels, The Manchester Contemporary and hopefully, London Art Fair. We are waiting to hear the result from a funding application, which will enable us to fund our mentoring scheme and residency. We have an exciting programme of shows planned, including Par Stromberg and Sarah Eyre, as well as a number of collaborations in the pipeline.