Atelier [zero], the only design commission accepted by the Cultural Olympiad, based in Manchester’s Piccadilly Basin, has unveiled the current art works that occupy the wooden chalets that form the centre piece of the art installation. The chalets, inspired by the Olympic Village, are lined up on the tow path in a quirky take on a terraced street facing Vantage Quay apartments and next to Jackson’s Warehouse.
Three of the chalets contain works by interventionalist artist Jason Minsky. Minsky’s work taps into everyday practices or routines to reveal a fresh and alternative way of looking at them. His work acts as a critical commentary on the ordinary and yet bizarre character of everyday life. All three works on show follow the theme of sport.
The first chalet contains ‘Out of the Ground’, a collection of rugby balls to be taken out and played, which was first exhibited at the Art Transpenine Show. This chalet also serves as the Atelier information hub where visitors can find out more about the project and be taken on a tour.
The second chalet is the Ballpool Chalet where adults and children can interact with the plastic coloured balls and enjoy the freedom of play. Also in this chalet is Daniel Fogerty’s new commission on the blackboard called ‘Pre-Fab’.
The third chalet is the Library with no books – a book exchange where visitors are encouraged to bring and borrow books. This space has a seating area with a table where people are invited to stay and study or simply sit and read. The Swan Pedalo book is located here.
Andrea Booker’s ‘Non Placed’ commission in the form of a vinyl installation on the window can be seen here. 'Non Places’ are referred to in Gaston Bachelard’s book 'Poetics of Space’, with references to spaces such as airports car parks and hotel lobbies.
The fourth chalet is the projection chalet showing Stewart Edmondson’s ‘Echo Beach’ from 2009. This is a sculpture on a plinth displaying an image of a sunset and visitors can lie down and dream of the setting sun in some far-away place.
Leo Fitzmaurice’s ‘Falling together’, a collection of British flags, is installed in the chill-out chalet. Leo is winner of the 5th Northern Art Prize and this piece is related to previous works were he has looked for new potential in groups-of-things from flyers and cans to cigarette packets. Most recently, as part of the Northern Art Prize, he displayed a line of historical landscape paintings as a single work with one horizon line running through all the works.
Also sharing this space is Ottmar Hörl’s ‘Schutzengel’ from 2007. This includes a golden angel sat on a ‘cloud like’ bench where people can sit and join it in tranquil thought.
In the sixth and final chalet, Design by Day have created have installed ‘Peter Saville said my Name’ an AO luminous print which playfully reacts to the bright environment of the Chalet, featuring a brightly coloured hammock which people are invited to lie in at their leisure.
In addition to the chalets are five rowing boats, moored up creating a boating lake in the wharf and a selection of ball games are available, all designed to inspire people to creatively use public space. The entire site has been marked out by a selection of Olympic sports’ pitches for different ball games including basketball. These are integrated into the street furniture, using the existing lampposts and available for public use.
Created to celebrate the London Olympic Games’ Cultural Olympiad, this contemporary art installation has been given the official ‘Inspire’ mark by the Arts Council who has funded the project.
Designed and built by 28 students in a unique collaboration between Manchester School of Architecture and the École Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris, the project is curated by independent creative director, Jane Anderson, and directed by Karsten Huneck and Bernd Truempler of Office for Subversive Architecture.
Jane Anderson, curator for Atelier [Zero] said: “The artworks and commissions that occupy the Olympic Village have all been purposely selected to extend the original vision of Atelier 'sport, play and culture’. Each work adding a new dimension to each space, the process has been interesting as Atelier [zero] is not the 'usual’ gallery space but a working contemporary art installation. Over the period of the summer more art works will 'pop’ up, including site specific residencies, architectural commissions and events.”
Helen Aston, Senior Lecturer at Manchester School of Architecture said “situating this innovative installation in the basin automatically challenges the immediate perception of how public realm is occupied and used. MSA and ESA students have created an architectural event of many surprises.”
This temporary architectural installation will be open until 31 August 2012 and open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 – 5pm and Sunday 12 – 4pm.
This project has been brought to Piccadilly Basin by Piccadilly Partnership and city centre management company, CityCo, in conjunction with Town Centre Securities, who own the land, to celebrate the 2012 Canal Festival in Piccadilly Basin.
Alexandra King, Piccadilly Partnership Director said: “This is a visually stunning installation that has already got people talking. We’re really fortunate to have the space here to accommodate it and the students have worked hard to design it so it enhances the already attractive canal-side setting. It’s free to view and a lot of fun and we hope people can find the time to pop down and discover it over the summer.”
Richard Lewis, Property Director for Town Centre Securities (TCS) who own the land said:* “This is a very imaginative, vibrant use for the public realm. It is already attracting *visitors to the area, some of whom are discovering the Basin for the first time. TCS has invested heavily in regenerating the Piccadilly Basin and projects like this help create a sense of place and make the area a destination in its own right.”
Up to three hours free parking is available at the nearby Urban Exchange retail development off Great Ancoats Street for anyone wishing to visit Atelier [Zero].