5 - 28 May 2017
Andrew Gillespie currently lives and works in Birmingham.
A conversation between Beatie Fox and Andrew Gillespie, Outpost Gallery, 2nd May 2017
Beatie Fox: The first thing that struck me when I came back into the space today was the eeriness. The copier looks staunch. In fact the whole space seems to have a sense of waiting, or of a great remove. Particularly with the gate, and the mid tone of the back wall pushing it back into space, it feels like I’m in a thoroughfare, if that’s the right word. Is there something specifically about the public domain, or public ownership that draws you to the items here? They seem to be very much to do with manual gestures and actions, movements of the hand.
Andrew Gillespie: I’m interested in the relationships between the objects, particularly their spatial and material connections. Each component conjures a very specific landscape or personal experience of a public context. The yard gate sets the tone for this, immediately subverting our understanding of the space and questioning our transition into and out of the space.
And you’re right; there is a definite sense of absence in the show or rather presence being compressed and expanded. The vision of the blue wall through the gate is especially important. It is pasted with the underside of billboard paper, a surface that is usually concealed. When a billboard is not in use however, it is often pasted this way round, signifying a temporary stasis. I liked this gesture, an abstract pause between images.
BF: Would it be fair to say that a sort of archaeology of distribution or reproduction is potentially at play here? The signage absent, objects disembodied or propped up - I’m wondering if I’m looking back in time from some point in the future.
AG: Yes, I am interested in the lifespan of objects and indeed the show as a whole. The billboard paper will comfortably dismember itself from the wall, but the silkscreen prints are eternally fused to the gate. How forms and surfaces adhere to each other and the longevity of that marriage really excites me.
BF: In a room of very fixed edges to the majority of the surfaces, there are a few parts that have much more of a material fluidity to them. Do you see them as having more active potential, a temptation for the viewer to actually move them about, or like it’s potentially theirs to interact with?
AG: Yes, I think there is a tension present in the show. The photocopier is such a tactile object. We lean on it, prop ourselves up against it, look down into it. Here it is mute, but still has a latent quality. Perhaps like the billboard, it is in an in-between state. The spill of images on the floor, and the flourish of an image they carry are also loaded with gesture.
BF: I remember you mentioned you had collected others’ discarded photocopies of image details. How did you come about choosing this particular image? I’m thinking of something you mentioned at Walsall of the ‘slippery’ nature of an image, and I wondered if it had a relation to that.
AG: I enjoy how images can slide across different surfaces and forms. Silkscreen printing is a crucial tool for me, a means of adhering an image to different surfaces. These translations inevitably involve a shift in status and content.
The image of Roy Lichtenstein’s brushstroke painting particularly resonated with me. As an artwork, it is a painted depiction of a silkscreened image, a meticulous reproduction of flippant gesture.
I found this image some time ago whilst working at a school in London. Unwanted or incorrect photocopies and prints would amass in the art room and I began to collect them. Printed out, discarded, found and then repurposed as silkscreen print; it speaks so much to me about value and authenticity.