ABOUT WEBSITE: The Green Lights is an annual exhibition hosted by the graduating fine art students of Minerva Art Academy. It serves not only as an assessment during which the students aim to get their ‘green light’ to graduate, but as an opportunity to independently create a public exhibition. Faced with the challenge of bringing together 55 unique practices, we’ve based this year’s Green Lights around the Art Spectrum, a compass navigating different positions, approaches and cultures within the fine arts. Where do we stand? What does it stand for? These are the questions we raise rather than answer as we try to materialise the complex and diverse ecosystem of the art culture.
ABOUT THE ART COMPASS: The Art Compass is based on the well know political compass, as it provides four extreme artistic positions as the boarders of the fluid space in between. On the horizontal axis the attitude of the artist toward their practice is defined as between craft and concept. These two well known and often scrutinised labels have in this case a more suggestive nature, indicating whether the concept, idea, message is prioritised over the technique, medium, skill or vice versa. The vertical axis defines the position of the artist towards the art world. From the white cube, gallery culture and the art market making up the inside, to alternative non-art spaces and practices challenging the boarders of art from the outside, the artists occupy positions based on how much they conform to or rebel towards the established art institution.
The interaction of the axis creates four areas - inside concept, outside concept, outside craft and inside craft - each representing an artistic subculture in which specific values, opinions, movements and artworks exist.
Although seemingly opposite, the two directions of each axis are more often than not intertwined, and so the artist might assume different positions along the axis at different times, in relation to different works, or they might assume a wide area of the spectrum within which their practice exists.
Audience experience is integral in my practice, as I firmly believe in creating art which can engage with and be accessible to a multitude of different audiences. As an installation artist, I sculpt my environment with paper and light, inviting the audience to become a part of my work by stepping into the shadows my installations create. The shadow element of the installation integrates the audience into the work; they are never only spectators. The shadows of the audience become a part of the work. As visitors navigate through the space, the shadows play across their skin and temporally becomes a part of them.
The content of my work focuses on the use of pre-existing stories and narratives which I juxtapose in different contexts to create new implied meanings. We are all brought up on stories; storytelling is essential to defining what it is to be human. Often these narratives are a part of our lives, conscious and sub-conscious.
LAYLA ARTHUR - THE STORYTELLER, THE LISTENER & THEIR STORY – AND DON’T SAY IN THE YEARS TO COME THAT YOU WOULD HAVE LIVED YOUR LIFE DIFFERENTLY IF ONLY YOU HAD HEARD THIS STORY. YOU’VE HEARD IT NOW.
My project is a light and paper installation which establishes a dialogue between storytelling and the audience, in order to consider how stories have sculpted our humanity.
The artwork is composed of paper sculptures depicting folktales, fairy tales, myths and legends from all around the world. Storytelling is an integral part of our identity and our history as people, as stories are told by the everyday people about their everyday lives. The reality in some of these tales are questionable but the human ideals, values, actions and reactions represent our basic humanity and choices we often choose to make. Hearing tales told from all around the world, it becomes clear that all stories are intrinsically linked. Connections between types of tales, values expressed with in the tales and often the same tale in a slightly different context can be easily found. My sculptures embrace these connections between tales, creating a conversation where multiple stories from multiple countries are interwoven to create a meta narrative. Each sculpture contains many tales in dialogue with one another according to connections that I as the storyteller have made between them. I choose to focus on the similarities between cultures, instead of their differences, to encourage the audience to realize we as humans all share a commonality. This piece becomes my story of all stories, which I then invite the audience to experience and discover within themselves the stories which make up their existence. These connections between stories told in completely different contexts, halfway across the other side of the world lead us to feel familiarity with tales we have never heard before. We can relate to situations and outcomes told in a tale which originates somewhere we have never been, simply because all of these tales encompass the commonality of what it is to be human. I want to challenge the audience to find connections between stories they know from their own contexts and new stories, which feel familiar based on the tales already within their own inner library.
I believe that we all live our lives according to the stories we know and have stored in our inner libraries. When we make certain choices, we base the expected outcome on a story we once heard and we often use stories as a justification for taking a particular action. With this artwork, I want to expand the audience’s inner library of tales, challenging them to find familiarity in stories from outside their inner library and therefore to expand this library. Our inner libraries should not only be made up of stories from our own cultural backgrounds as this leads to polarization and misunderstandings, when according to these tales we claim as our history and our cultural identity; we really are not so different from one another.