Words and photographs by Patrick Kirk-Smith
MUESLI is The Royal Standard’s new six month curatorial offering, and its working alongside Cactus in a very different way to its predecessor.
6Gins was a series of exhibitions which sat in contrast to CACTUS in every way, from using local artists to bringing us process led work, and doing so in a space that hadn’t seen a lick of paint since its lease was signed. MUESLI works with CACTUS. They’ve not only given the room a good lick of paint, but they’re outsourcing beyond Liverpool, in a way that gives a boost to Liverpool based artists.
They’re curatorial mission statement is to generate space swaps all over the UK. Unfortunately, they’re limited to six, but such is life. Number one is Seize, a Leeds based collective who produce very polished work on a very regular basis. Their website is full of exciting and wonderful things, not least of which their engagement with Leeds’ modern day follies in 2015; their contribution to British Art Show 8.
If you’re wondering what I mean by that, Leeds has a certain set of objects scattered around the city, which are unique to Leeds within Northern England: The advertising pillar. I’m not sure if it was a council attempt to put a stop to fly posting, or if they’re just a left over relic from a simpler time. Whatever the reason, they’ve been left standing and now accommodate a constant barrage of advertising (paid or otherwise). Seize, in October, filled these pillars with contemporary art. It had to be quick, and it had to be relatable and relevant to the passer-by. And it’s that sensitivity of production, which bares all viewers in mind that makes this such a publicly accessible show [its view by appointment as always with The Royal Standard, so I say that with some poetic license].
The work on display has the look and feel of contemporary art – which I know is a very general statement to make, but it’s an easy and unavoidable way to describe this work. It is crisp, it is clean, and it commands the authority of the space, everything contemporary art appears to do these days. They’re a group with their fingers on the pulse.
MUESLI are the stars of this show though. They have collected works that are crisp and clean and work in their own right, and transformed a tight, narrow, claustrophobic room into a unifying space that forces relationships between some incredibly individual works.
Their next curatorial offering is the exchange between themselves and London’s 12ø Collective, between the 19th of February and 6th of March, which will see MUESLI directors Meg Brain, Mia Cathcart and Zoë Coogan handing over their space to a whole new collective, producing a wildly different kind of contemporary art. 12ø might be more what we’re used to from The Royal Standard, but if they’re being pushed into the same room as Seize, then the space MUESLI have developed will no doubt continue playing a huge role in the way their show goes down.
It’s looking like they’ve got a busy few months ahead, so I’m sure there’ll be a lot more articles with MUESLI in their titles before long, but if all of them are about exhibitions that can be described as both cohesive and scattered, then I can’t wait to write them. It’s looking like a good six months at The Royal Standard.