Helen Collett and Lois Macdonald

by betweenproject

‘YouI fig. (iv)’

Helen Collett and Lois Macdonald

21st September 2012

Working together as curators as well as artists, Collett and Macdonald’s current collaborative research combines a strong focus on the intricacies of their personal interactions along with that of the internal system of galleries; how they communicate with artists and their audience, as well as each other.

The first piece in this developing series, YouI fig. (i), explored the confines of the couple’s working relationship with the overlap of their differing personalities and the importance of their personal communication because of this. In successive versions of the work, they broadened the original context of working relationships from the communication process between two artists, to that between the artist and gallery, and eventually the gallery, artist and viewer.  When communicating their ideas, a selective process was brought into play, presenting some information openly whilst other information was entirely concealed.

For their new performance, ‘YouI fig. (iv)’, the artists will continue to explore the concept of personal and professional communication at all levels in a choreographed performance of mirrored motions.  Looking at the organisational aspect of developing their vocation, they take the elements of artistic presentation and concealment to production level.  Hidden within the gallery walls, the duo work through the processes involved in developing work that are automatically eliminated from gallery presentation, where all information is considered vital.  The resulting actions are re-presented in specific audio and visual forms, with the decision to keep or disregard certain props integrated into the performance.  The viewer can witness the artists from outside their veiled performance space, or through the information presented which is open to interpretation.  Communication becomes the focus and the planning process becomes transparent.

Helen Collett and Lois Macdonald have closely worked together for three years in a variety of different capacities; organisers, curators, artists etc. and have become very familiar with each other’s working practices and the importance of outward-looking collaboration as creative practitioners in the Now. They began working together when they co-curated The Link Gallery (Chatham Building, MMU) in February 2009. This formed the basis of a solid working relationship and they went on to co-found and direct the multi-event/exhibition ‘Free For Arts Festival’ (2009 – 2011). During this time they also embarked on an artist/curator internship at Islington Mill resulting in two durational exhibitions, Mill24 (2010), featuring over seventy artists from around the world. Art and sport collide in their regular Ping Pong Club events that have featured as exhibitions and symposiums in Berlin (October 2010) and as a FutureEverything 2011 Showcase Winner (May 2011). They continue to work together as artists and project managers, developing a curatorial research space to open in mid 2012, Lionel Dobie Project.

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