PLEASE BELIEVE THESE DAYS WILL PASS – TORONTO PART 3

2 pass web

As part of my 2012 residency at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto I was invited to a produce a new exhibition for the AGO’s Toronto Now space. The exhibition entitled “Please believe these days will pass”, was comprised of a text/mirror work on the facade of the museum and a six channel video work inside.

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please install

(A 7 minute section of a 45 minute work)

The 6 channels are based on footage of the following elements shot on my Iphone during my stay.

1. Starbucks.

2. Water (Lake Ontario/Rain/Niagara).

3. Urban green space.

4.  Henry Moore Two Large Forms (1966-69). Located outside the AGO.

5. The CN Tower.

6. Images of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

The rhythm for the piece was based on a jammed youtube clip caused by a poor internet connection on the first night of my residency. The audio follows the same rhythm. I never attempted to interpret if there was any coherent morse code pattern to the meter.

Please believe these days will pass, Mark Titchner, 2012)

November 3 2012 – April 21 2013

Art Gallery of Ontario

British artist Mark Titchner’s language-based wall paintings and banners demonstrate how text and bold statements can be used to inspire people, communicate to the masses and bring together communities. His work often confronts the viewer with a proposition for a type of modern-day revolution.

As the AGO’s international artist-in-residence this fall, Mark Titchner has been involved with a number of initiatives in the Gallery and throughout the city. In connecting with people and communities around Toronto, he is providing a link to the Toronto Now exhibition series. Titchner has produced a number of art projects during his residency, including a poster project that was developed and executed in conjunction with youth from Oasis Skateboard Factory and the AGO Youth Council. He is also producing a large wall mural for the Drake Hotel.

PLEASE BELIEVE THESE DAYS WILL PASS presents a new language-based vinyl work. Installed on the windows facing Dundas Street, the mirrored vinyl surface reflects the streetscape, including passersby in the process. The slogan can be interpreted as a warning or as reassurance, prompting the viewer to take pause. Inside the gallery, Titchner introduces a new film work based on his observations of and interactions within Toronto. The installation mimics Morse code, producing a staccato snapshot of the city.

Mark Titchner describes his work as “a dialogue about how you receive thoughts and ideas.” Drawing on place, dislocation and self-help mantras, the artist presents conflicting ideologies and outmoded ideas without mockery or cynicism, allowing viewers to form their own conclusions.

– Text  by Nancy Campbell, Associate Curator, AGO Special Projects

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D.O.S. – TORONTO PART 2

DOSdos installThrough September and October 2012 I was invited to be Artist in Residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto.  The residency was broken into a number of projects, two within the Museum and two in the public realm.

A-92507This exhibition entitled ‘D.O.S.’, was based on an installation of wall drawings in the AGO’s Community Gallery.  The works were all based on the city slogan ‘Diversity our Strength’ with a colour pallette based on General Ideas ‘Word Virus’.  The works were made with the assistance of the AGO’s Youth Council (and Bob and Andrea.) Originally the works were conceived to have an audio component but this was not completed during my stay.

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Some production images. (Memories of some late nights and getting to know the cleaning staff)dos install1dos install 2

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Part of my interest in undertaking the residency at AGO was to produce a series of public realm in a City where the Mayor was on a self confessed war against Graffiti and Street Art.

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You can even get an official anti-graffiti app. This is the City’s Graffiti Plan.  The plan distinguishes between Graffiti Art and Graffiti Vandalism.

Graffiti Art is defined as markings made or affixed to properties that are approved by the property owner or occupant, where the markings aesthetically enhance the surface they cover and the general surroundings, having regard to the community character and standards

Graffiti Vandalism is defined as any deliberate markings made or affixed on property that is not currently exempted or regularized by the Graffiti Panel, Executive Director or Council and: was made or affixed without permission of the owner; is considered to be a tag; for which there are reasonable grounds to believe that it may incite hatred or violence against any person or identifiable group; or contains profane vulgar or offensive language.

Th policy also encourages sanctioned works as a means to fight Graffiti:

Murals and Graffiti art are an effective means of deterring graffiti from appearing on structures.

Out of this policy the city has created StreetARTToronto:

StreetARToronto is a new partnership program with an overall mission to counteract graffiti vandalism by developing, supporting, promoting and increasing awareness of street art and its indispensable role to add beauty and character to neighbourhoods across the city.

Toronto also has a grants that program provides up to $5,000 to business and community organisations for outside mural projects in commercial or employment areas.  Murals should give ‘potential benefits of the project, including the extent to which the mural project would contribute to community and business pride, promote a unique community theme, leverage partnerships, and attract pedestrians and customers to the commercial area.  Identify the anticipated benefits in terms of economic development, community development, and youth involvement’, as well as having appropriate permissions and a defined timescale.

This was the headline of a piece written a few days after my arrival (article below).

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On a humid morning this week, the acclaimed British visual artist Mark Titchner was strolling down Queen West toward his new studio at the Art Gallery of Ontario, battling a case of jet lag while taking in the area’s “organic” graffiti mural scene. “There’s actually a lot of stuff up on the walls here,” he observed, “actually more than in London.”

 The 39-year-old artist, a one-time nominee for the prestigious Turner Prize, knows whereof he speaks. Mr. Titchner is famous for murals and billboards featuring edgy, ambiguous slogans – “Be Angry But Don’t Stop Breathing” – rendered in bold, luminescent lettering. His work is displayed internationally in major museums, but also on building walls, bus shelters and in subway stations, because he’s interested in depicting “the sense of silence” he perceives, paradoxically, in noisy public spaces.Torontonians this fall will get a firsthand glimpse of Mr. Titchner’s distinctive sensibility. Through a partnership between the AGO, where he’s artist-in-residence, and a new city program, Street Art Toronto, he’ll be creating three or four major murals, including one on a large east-facing wall at the Drake Hotel, where he’s staying until early November. He also intends to develop other works in collaboration with local youth groups for the AGO’s Toronto Now space.Street Art Toronto, interestingly enough, emerged from Mayor Rob Ford’s campaign pledge to eradicate graffiti, and has provided $325,000 for 23 works in 16 wards, including Mr. Titchner’s residency. Elyse Parker, the transportation services official overseeing the program, explains that it aims to move beyond the more traditional graffiti transformation projects that sought to engage at-risk youth. The city’s goal, she adds, is to raise the artistic bar without going to a highly formalized jury-selection process.

Over the past decade, the clandestine and often ephemeral street-art scene has exploded into the mainstream thanks to the popularity of stars such as Britain’s Banksy, as well as critically successful mural programs in Philadelphia, Miami and Brooklyn – cities where street-art tours have become common among art aficionados.

While street art traces its roots to New York’s graffiti and hip-hop scene from the 1960s and 1970s, the creators today are often young fine-arts grads who lack studio space and want to establish a profile in highly visible spaces, says Steven Harrington, co-founder of BrooklynStreetArt.com, who writes a weekly column on the subject for the Huffington Post. “We’re in a great period of flux.”

Drake curator Mia Nielsen and city officials hope Mr. Titchner, who works in several media, will help ignite Toronto’s indigenous street-art movement, elevating the profile of emerging local artists, such as Dan Bergeron (a.k.a. “Faux Reel”) while signalling residents and property owners that blank exterior walls are good for more than just ads, tags or whitewash.

In fact, his arrival this week coincided with the official unveiling of the first major commission by Street Art Toronto – a spectacular 80-foot mosaic mural at the ferry docks.

From experience in other cities and with state agencies such as Transport for London, Mr. Titchner is keenly aware of the inherent tension – using public spaces or funds, on the one hand, while creating genuinely provocative work on the other.

He offered a clue about the Drake project, which he’ll install in late October. “It’s not really supposed to be about me. … I suppose it has a lot to do with the idea of authority and power, and which voices are heard.”

The Drake project that is mentioned was on the same street as the City’s Graffiti Alley one of the most celebrated Graffiti sites in the city and most contentious.

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Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s war on Graffiti has been well publicised this is from todays Toronto Star:

Toronto expands anti-graffiti campaign by hiring private company to remove it

Mayor Rob Ford is heating up the battle against graffiti by hiring a removal company to clean city buildings and structures.

“As you know, I’m obsessed with graffiti and getting it out of the city and keeping it out of the city,” Ford told reporters at a removal demonstration in an Etobicoke park Wednesday.

Toronto has retained Goodbye Graffiti for up to five years, at a cost of about $400,000.

At West Deane Park on Martin Grove Rd., Ford was told the company applies a cleaning product to soften the paint and make it easier to erase with a power washer that uses lots of hot water.

The mayor took his turn using the washer on a graffiti-covered washroom wall. He refused to don a company ball cap that didn’t fit, or other protection, and went at the graffiti in his business suit.

“His technique is a bit off, but I’m sure with a little more training, he’d be just fine,” said Goodbye Graffiti general manager Brent Bowman.

Ford said he was pleased with the results.

“Obviously, what they’ve got going here works,” he said. “The proof’s in the pudding.”

In the 2010 election campaign, Ford declared fighting graffiti a personal priority.

“Starting Aug. 1, Goodbye Graffiti will be responsible for removing graffiti vandalism on any and all city property. Everywhere that there is graffiti, I will guarantee we’ll be removing it.”

Ford urged people to take a photo and call police “if you witness graffiti vandalism in progress.

“Obviously, don’t put yourself in harm’s way, but if you get a picture of the people that are doing the graffiti, that would help the police tremendously on pressing charges.”

Ford also asked people to contact the mayor’s office or the 311 city help line to report graffiti on either public or private property.

WHY NOT NOW? – TORONTO PART 1 (OR HOW NOT TO PAINT WALL WHITE PART 3)

1 why not web

As part of my Artist Residency at the Art Gallery of Toronto in 2012 I was commissioned to produce a new work for the Drake Hotel on Queen St.  The Drake kindly put me up, part sponsoring my stay, which was spent in the building that the painting is attached too.  (Big thanks to all at the Drake!)
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Due to the irregularity of the walls and the precarious nature of the roof it was decided that the work would painted off site and installed in panels. The work was painted using oil based enamels onto some heavy duty Canadian ply to help it weather the extremities of the Canadian climate.

The work was painted with Bob and Andrea at McWood Studios.  The time I spent there was some of the best I had in Toronto and I can’t thank Bob and Andrea enough for their hospitality, enthusiasm and skill which rekindled some vague, enthusiasm for painting in me! So here’s the work in production and during installation…

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THE WORLD ISN’T WORKING – PAVEMENT GALLERY, MANCHESTER

The world isn’t working, Mark Titchner.

31.01 -15.03.2013

Pavement Gallery

Manchester Metropolitan University
Righton Building,
Cavendish Street,
Manchester, M15 6BQ

The street level location of Pavement Gallery complements this billboard type work, evoking ideas of press and poster banners. The World Isn’t Working has been described as being a “direct reference to the brutal Saatchi & Saatchi advertising strategy”, which was used as part of the Conservative Party campaign in 1979 that led to their election win with the slogan ‘Labour Isn’t Working’. This work demonstrates Titchner’s use of words to satirically echo those of political advertising and mass media campaigns.

(The world isn’t working, Mark Titchner, 2013)pave streetPERFORMANCE PAVEMENT

The text for this piece was a condensed version of the text found in the video work ‘The last ten years’, 2010, which showed a continuous stream of daily headlines from The New York Times, from the 1st of January 2000 to the 31st of December 2009.  The sounds that were processed in the piece were mainly field recordings from city streets, in various states from rush hour to full blown riot.  The version above was edited from a recording of the performance I made via my laptop at Manchester Metropolitan University after a talk I gave to coincide with the show at Pavement Gallery.  The performance itself was originally supposed to happen in the galleries window space, to be viewed from outside but was relocated because of bad weather.  The video accompanying the sound is merely there to accompany the sound.

ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE

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Photo © by Richard Powers for Concrete

Some views of ‘Another World Is Possible’, Mark Titchner, 2012. A permanent commission installed on the facade of Citizen M, 20 Lavington Street, off Southwark St, SE1, London.

4 cm webcmcm_270612_31-940x1301 Incidentally this work is only a few minutes walk from another permanently installed banner work “Motto”, 2010. At Cathedral School on Redcross Way.

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Motto 3 mark titchner“Motto” was commissioned by Art House Foundation, kindly supported by Young London.

LONDON UNITED

(The world isn’t Working, Mark Titchner, 2013)

London Utd.
Dominic from Luton, Gavin Turk,
Laura White, Peter Lamb, Mark
Titchner

06. 07 — 04. 08. 2013

Kling & Bang gallery
Hverfisgata 42
101 Reykjavik
Iceland

London Utd.
As British politics started once again to chase its own tail against the background of further vicious cuts to the arts the artist Dominic Allan, aka Dominic from Luton, took matters in to his own hands to fly the flag for Britain. No self-proclaiming jingoism here, just a desire to make things happen: willpower over budget: ambition and talent superseding any economic imperative. On-going conversations with Kling & Bang, an internationally established Icelandic artist-run-space (based in Reykjavik), resulted in London Utd – not so much a celebration of London itself but the relationships that make it tick, via Luton, of course.

All of the works in the exhibition present the dramatic, glorious point where everything sits on the edge of the abyss, looks down and laughs, poking fun at the sheer audacity of chaos. Mark Titchner’s emblematic work, The World Isn’t Working, has been translated into Icelandic and realised in the red, white and blue of our symbiotic identities. Whilst subtly referencing the gentle typography of folk art the statement demands our attention much as the glorious Trade Union banners, now housed in museums, shouted for the international rights of men and women. Another symbol of fading glories, the Transit van, becomes the centre-piece of Gavin Turk’s work Large Transit Disaster Diptych 2013. A direct homage to Warhol’s Car Crash series Turk’s work as ever comes with many layers, referencing that underbelly of British life, the white van man – his downfall underpinned as the Luton-based car factories collapse. Allan’s own work, Dominic from Luton as Paul Young, continues to unpick the demise of the hero – or perhaps provokes its resurrection. His pre–performance photograph as the 80’s icon, dressed in images of himself as himself, now singing for a pint in the local working men’s club, bravely looks you in the eye, demanding attention but asking for your confirmation nonetheless.
It’s a powerful choice to consistently reference and re-use your own work. Confidence exudes through the works as all of the artists in this exhibition as they exert authority over their practice and imagery. Laura White continually pushes and pulls at the conventions inherent in presenting work. Conformity has no place as her new drawings for London Utd flip the sculptural norm and photographs of her sharply coloured sculptures are reprinted in monochrome and painstakingly overdrawn with pencil. Suggestive of the fading black and white photographs of old National Geographic’s her earlier references to anthropological collections come into full focus and begin new conversations not least around our current place in the world.
As honest appraisals of his journey through a work and deliberately sliding in and out of easy definition Peter Lamb’s diptych for London Utd highlights the role of the artist, artwork, studio and audience – all bound together in a complex, unfolding relationship. The familiar touchstone of his studio floor is reworked through photography and scale, overlaid with paint and studio materials, the work finally titled by his children. Chaos has been put in a box, allowed out on occasion to shake its finger at us all, allowing chance instead to reign supreme.
And so London Utd, a group of artists brought together by player manager Allan, heads to Iceland for an away game with a welcoming host, bound together by the sheer confidence of works that all have something to say.

Text by Lucy Day Photos courtesy of Inguar Högni Ragnarsson.

(Drawings by Joe & Riva)

http://this.is/klingogbang/

PROTOGENESIS

It’s been my great pleasure to have recently made a video for the wonderful Grumbling Fur. This is the second video from the excellent ‘Glynnaestra” album out now on Thrill Jockey.  For the full experience be sure to view in HD.

(Protogenesis, Grumbling fur, Video by Mark Titchner, 2013)

The video is part of an ongoing collaboration with Daniel O’Sullivan and Alexander Tucker that began last year with Alex and I working on our ‘Knots’ piece for the Wysing Arts ‘Space Time’ festival. We are currently working on a installation work for Dilston Grove, London for April next year.

(Here’s what MOJO said about the video for Protogenesis…..

UK underground pair transmit pulsing, psychedelic atmospherics. Heads rejoice!

Daniel O’Sullivan and Alexander Tucker – aka underground duo Grumbling Fur – have been working together since 2011, steadily weaving together a vast array of influences (Aphex Twin, Vangelis, This Heat, solo McCartney, ice cream vans, kettles boiling), culminating in the release of their excellent new album of mantric avant-pop, Glynnaestra.

Described in MOJO 238 as “pop music as strange liturgy, where ice-cream van carillons and a replicant’s last words are transformed by Tucker and O’ Sullivan’s mournful vocal accord into pagan Depeche Mode pop”, the record will delight psych, electro and prog-heads alike. Settle into their world via the warm, lysergic storm of Protogenesis.

Official Video

Unofficial video by Michael Lewis

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Grumbling fur – Glynnaestra cover and inner bag. Artwork by Daniel O’Sullivan and Alexander Tucker, type and layout by Mark Titchner

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Poster for Charlemagne Palestine Residency at Cafe OTO.  Drawing by Daniel O’Sullivan, background and layout by Mark Titchner