S H A U N C. B A D H A M
27 MAY – 25 JUNE 2016
WEDNESDAY, 26 MAY, 6-8 PM
Press preview in presence of the artist: Thursday, 26 May, 5 PM
Annka Kultys Gallery is pleased to present its first solo exhibition with Shaun C. Badham. The London-based artist presents recent survey paintings produced in response to I’M STAYING, the artist’s ongoing participatory project. Since May 2014, I’M STAYING’s large-scale, eponymous, neon sculpture has appeared on a range of buildings in and around the city of Bristol in West England. Each location for the sculpture has been determined in advance by a popular online vote, with the final round of voting, which will determine the ultimate location of the sculpture, being timed to coincide with the opening of the exhibition.
Each member of the public who had voted for one of the sculpture’s winning locations was invited to participate in a survey commissioned by the artist, the final question of which asked ‘What does I’M STAYING mean to you?’ The public’s various responses to the question lie at the heart of the I’M STAYING: Survey paintings.
The exhibition comprises a series of 29 monochromatic red UV neon paintings. Each painting bears its title (gleaned from a particular public response to the survey) on the base of its canvas, complete with the time and date that the survey was completed; for example, Sticking something out, 11/12/2014, 10:11AM; refugees, 11/12/2014 9:53 AM; Resistant to Late State Gentrification, 10/22/2015 8:36 PM. Reminiscent of the seminal Japanese conceptual artist, On Kawara (1933-2014), and his ‘date’ paintings, which featured only the date on which the painting was made, differentiated simply through format and colour, Badham’s I’M STAYING paintings move beyond Kawara’s deliberately one-dimensional preoccupation with date-specificity via the participation of the survey’s respondents. No two survey statements are exactly the same and hence no two paintings in the series share the same base or are realized in the same size, expressing their singularity. While Kawara’s date paintings meditated upon the individual’s place within our era and confronted the daily events of the world, Badham’s paintings question our personal relationship to place and change. Since their meaning resists predetermination, Badham’s work positions itself prospectively, looking ahead to the encounter with the viewer when the visitor questions him or herself as to the meaning of I’M STAYING.
Like Badham’s neon sculpture, his UV paintings possess a duality, a binary existence that oscillates between darkness and light. Darkness allows both the sculpture and the paintings, either via an ultra-violet torch or a simple switch, to activate their inherent luminosity. In day-light, each medium presents a sense of journey or highlights its construction in some form, while simultaneously making patent its imperfections. This alludes to both the aspiration that there is an ideal viewing point or environment in which to encounter these works, but also to the realization that such points are not always realistic or, at best, are a negotiation. The viewer is encouraged to adopt an up-down motion as they encounter the work hanging at different heights within the gallery space – an experience not unlike to that occurring when the originary neon is seen in the Bristol skyline.
The paintings featured in I’M STAYING: Survey paintings are part of the artist’s on-going series, of which there are currently over fifty survey responses. The final set of surveys will be sent out at the beginning of June 2016 and is expected to be the last of the series.
Shaun C. Badham was born in Essex and currently lives and works in London. He earned a BA in Fine Art at the University of the West of England, and is currently studying on the MFA course at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has been the recipient of many awards and grants, including: Arts Council England, Grants for the Arts – MORNING (2016); Liminal Space Residency, Temporary Arts Project, Essex (2014); Curfew Tower Residency, Northern Ireland (2013); Dispatch Residency Spike Island Sculpture Yard, Bristol (2012); and the Giftraum Residency, Das Gift, Berlin (2012).
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Above: Installation view of Shaun C. Balham, ‘I’M STAYING‘ at Annka Kultys Gallery, London, 2016. Photo: Annka Kultys Gallery (Damian Griffiths)
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