“the art isn’t bigger than the people”

It was the opening night at the BACKLIT gallery on Friday, presenting their exhibition “Hyper Real.” I was lucky enough to be involved volunteering there for the event. I had an absolutely wonderful time. There was such a fantastic atmosphere in the space, I was able to meet lots of the artists, talk to them about their work, meet their family and friends and all this with a glass of wine in hand!

It seemed as I mingled and handed out surveys to people it wasn’t just me who felt that the exhibition was a huge success. People remarked that “it’s different than anywhere else I’ve been.” To see the open studio spaces simultaneously to work on the show meant that you could see the artist’s influences and inspirations. Usually in exhibitions these spaces are kept hidden, but the spaces became part of the exhibition for me. I loved the collection of objects, from lava lamps to tea sets; it was fascinating to see the inspirations behind their work. I think it would have been nice to see more of the artist’s from the studio spaces exhibiting their work in the show.

The exhibition was the first event to be hosted at the new venue for BACKLIT, at Alfred house, onAshley Street. I never visited their old space, but many people I talked to commented on the new space being a fantastic improvement. The team have worked hard to get were they are and should be very proud. The space hosted the event excellently, walking into the main room seeing fantastic work by Garry Martin, Richard Fairgrieve, John Harris and the Virtual Gallery, then walking through the studio spaces to get to the installation piece by Thomas Woodcock and Diana Miguel.

Throughout the evening I couldn’t stop looking over at of Garry Martin’s piece “It’s a Bloomin Marble!” The way the imitation of the solid balloon was standing just did not seem possible. I’m still asking the question: how was it stood up like that? This notion of what is real and what’s not was something referred to in the exhibition’s title “Hyper Real.” The curators of the exhibition wanted the viewers to explore spaces that are real, virtual, and purely representational; I think they definitely succeeded with this. The performance by the 1623 Theatre Company only furthered these notions, engaging all those in the space moving around the entire gallery and demanding attention into their virtual world.

The exhibition is running for a further week if you haven’t seen it yet!