Exhibition | Shaun C. Badham: 'I'm staying' | at | London | Art Week

Shaun C. Badham: 'I'm staying'

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Friday, 27 May 2016 to Saturday, 25 June 2016
Thursday, 26 May 2016 -
6:00pm to 8:00pm

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.


Above: Installation view, Shaun C. Badham I’m Staying at Annka Kultys Gallery, London, 2016. © Shaun C. Badham. Photo: Damian Griffiths


Artist ( Description ): 

Shaun C. Badham’s work focuses upon multi-faceted, long-term participatory art projects that span a wide range of media.  His projects manifest themselves as public sculpture, photography, video, sound, performance art, talks, publications, screenings and surveys.  Typically his work is born of personal anecdotes or feelings generated from his relation to a place and through his work, he addresses notions of place and change, permanence and transition.

The public sphere significantly influences Badham’s projects and he commonly invites others to discuss and/or complete his projects.  He acts as a catalyst to the resolution of his works, not from a dictatorial perspective, but rather from that of a facilitator: he shares the authorship and meaning of his works with the public, creating a communal experience and generating new ideas and pieces from the exchange.

The culmination of the Bristol Biennial’s first open commission, Badham’s I’M STAYING project questions the relationship between public art, location and viewer.  Its centrepiece is a roving installation – a five metre long red neon sign proclaiming the phrase “I’M STAYING” in Election Day font that has been displayed on several buildings throughout the Bristol cityscape.  Over the two years of the project, the locations in which the neon has been displayed were determined by online popular votes; this alteration of context produces a plurality of meanings and interpretations of the simple phrase ‘I’m Staying.’

The I’M STAYING: Survey Paintings are a new iteration in Badham’s continuing reciprocity with the participants of I’M STAYING.  Each voter in the earlier polls as to the neon’s location received an email survey, the final question of which asked ‘What does I’M STAYING mean to you?’  Their replies serve as the basis for his recent survey paintings.  The title of each painting is directly taken from one of the survey responses and is inscribed on the bottom face of the canvas.  Like his neon sculpture, the paintings possess a duality insofar as while they exist both in light and darkness, they do so in very different ways.  In brightly lit spaces, they are easily encountered and have a presence of their own, but, and with parallels to the broader project, it is only when the viewer interacts with the works in darkness by shining a UV torch on them that the paintings become fully activated and their luminosity and energy comes to the fore.

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).

May 2016 sees Badham’s I’M STAYING project manifest itself in London for the first time at Annka Kultys Gallery with I’M STAYING: Survey Paintings, an exhibition of the artist’s recent works produced in response to his major ongoing participatory Bristol-based project which began in 2014.  Upcoming and ongoing projects by Badham include: I’M STAYING, The Island, Nelson St, Bristol BS1 2LE, 26 February – 27 May 2016, 5.30pm to 6am; MORNING on site launch Victoria Park, Laindon Essex, Summer 2016; I’M STAYING Launch June 2016; and I’M STAYING Closing Ceremony/Launch of Bristol Biennial 2016, September 2016.

Badham has exhibited his I’M STAYING and MORNING projects extensively across the UK, particularly in the southwest, including shows at: The Island; Knowle West Media Centre; Redgrave Theatre, Clifton College; Hamilton House Bristol; Inland Arts Festival, Redruth, Cornwall; Bristol Folkhouse; Curfew Tower, Cushendale, Northern Ireland; Arnolfini, Centre of Contemporary Art, Bristol; Temporary Arts Project, Southend, Essex; Spike Island Studios; and Motorcade Flashparade.

+44 20 3302 6070
Venue ( Address ): 

472 Hackney Road | Unit 3, 1st Floor | London E2 9EQ


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