Anna Best and Barbara Holub - Artist and Curators Residency Programme

Plymouth Arts Centre presents More Opportunities, the first UK solo exhibition of the Vienna based artist, architect and urban designer Barbara Holub alongside Buddleia, new film work by UK artist Anna Best.

As part of the Artist and Curators Residency Programmee in Plymouth Arts Centre’s 60th year, Holub has been spending time in the city researching the current fluxes and state of the regeneration process in Plymouth, with Best spending a year working with artists, performers and filmmakers to realise her short film.

Buddleia charts Best’s attempts to challenge habits of production and formulate new directions for her work in a film that traverses Plymouth's urban and marine landscapes and explores narratives of the imperial nature of the city. The work is imbued with personal, silent moments that reflect Best’s experience of the tensions in the city.

During her year-long residency at Plymouth Arts Centre, Best has developed ideas and proposed projects that reflect the changing environment of Plymouth. She has used different methods to develop her work, driven by an interest in both local and collaborative practice. The process from which her art projects emerge, arrives from conversation and observation, characterised by ‘events’ set fleetingly within a social or physical landscape.

Best’s work observes the surrealism of the everyday while engaging with the specific situation. In the past, the artist has worked with public context-specific events and has created major projects in a wide range of contexts, including Vauxhall Pleasure, produced by Parabola and Tate Live, 2004, Occasional Sights, Photographers Gallery 2001–2003 and a new commission for the Barbican Art Gallery, London, 2007.

More Opportunities relates to a city in search of a new identity and the concerns that arise through regeneration. Barbara Holub has, through her processes as an artist and architect, spent time talking to local people and planning departments, examining areas of significant transformation such as Devonport, Plymouth, studying people both within and outside of the borders and boundaries of Plymouth.

Holub’s work addresses anthropological issues that decisively shape society, examining social and personal identities through visual art and architecture.

More Opportunities revolves around the limits of occupying space. The artist uses the format of a demonstration as an outdated, almost ‘retro-utopian’ model, exemplified by a 16mm film documentary from the dockyard strikes that took place in Plymouth in the mid 1960s, and more recent strikes of the current privatisation of the Naval yard and reclamation of land to Devonport. The feeling and sense of lost opportunity in this area alongside this development of regeneration is symptomatic of many current examples of public-private-partnerships.

Holub transforms this research into narrative and poetic elements in her work, oscillating between reality and fiction.

This melancholy, due to the confusion of identity through transformation in the city and in one’s own individual life, is accompanied by a feeling of hope and desire for “more opportunities”. In her show, Holub addresses this hope and desire beyond the concrete cause of Plymouth.

Alongside her work as an artist Barbara Holub’s prolific career includes a current post as President of the Secession in Vienna since 2006. She also created the architecture and urbanism company Transparadiso with her partner Paul Rajakovics in 1999. Their work always starts out with the subject, the small situation, developing into the larger context, reflecting global issues alongside development and new tools for ‘direct urbanism’. Currently Transparadiso is realising a new city quarter in Salzburg and has just won the otto-wagner-städtebaupreis – the prestigious Otto Wagner Urban Development Prize.

Staged Demonstration, Sat 8 Dec 2007 2 – 4pm
Looe Street, Plymouth

An opportunity to participate in a staged demonstration by Barbara Holub, where you can prepare your own banner and slogans related to More Opportunities and step into a fictitious “movement”. The demonstration will be filmed and included in the exhibition.

The purpose of staging this event is to lay open the meaningless format of demonstrations in the globalised economy today, a situation that has no effect and no public meaning, only individual participation. In this sense, participating as an individual in an art project, you can generate new meanings and a platform for discussing your own future.

The location for the staged demonstration is on Looe Street in front of the Plymouth Arts Centre. This staged demonstration references the strike of the dockyard workers in 1969, which was the first in 300 years of what had formally been a symbiotic coexistence, of the dockyard/naval base and the city. Due to economical decline after the cold war this major employer was privatised and more recently begun the process of devolving property from private to public space.
Anna Best and Barbara Holub - Artist and Curators Residency Programme

Event Title: Anna Best and Barbara Holub - Artist and Curators Residency Programme
Further Details:
- Visit Anna Best's website
- Visit the Plymouth Arts Centre website" target="_blank"> - Visit Anna Best's website
- Visit the Plymouth Arts Centre website
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