Art can be humble while having an impact; as much craftsmanship as high concept, while capturing attention and changing minds. The more accessible the initial artistic creation process becomes, the more likely it is to reach a wider audience.
Looking beyond the widely known terms of Street Art & Public Art, and beyond the familiar ideas of Graffiti, Murals and Stencil Art, we wondered how many people would know they were walking past a “Paste of Wheat”, a âCollerâ, a ârental collageâ.
The answer to that question was ‘not enough’ – an entire often overlooked art world operating in a space that is uniquely liminal (which in this case we like to think of as somewhere between the legal and the criminal).
With that in mind, Nuart has secured 1,500 feet of space in downtown Aberdeen to create what we hope will become the largest collage wall in the world, bringing together three distinct art collections:
Nuart Founder and Creative Director Martyn Reed delved into his little black book of contacts and curated a selection of artists we’re more used to seeing in international art museums. We had been told to expect a few surprises, but we weren’t expecting Turner Prize winners and contemporary art stars.
London-based Flyingleaps, the subversive counter-cultural arts initiative founded in response to the Brexit referendum result, will celebrate its fifth anniversary, with street posters covering its groundbreaking archive, created by a global coalition of artists contemporary urban policies.
Nuart Aberdeen project manager Jon Reid avidly collects these works sent to local art studios (and Nuart’s original base), the Anatomy Rooms. The project has captured the imaginations of many, with works of art from all over the world submitted by preschools, studios of well-known international artists and everywhere in between.
Nuart curator and founder Martyn Reed says of the project:
âAfter months of foreclosure and with all major art institutions shutting down, as well as shelved street art festivals, I started to think about how we might make a comeback to the city.
âWe know there is a huge demand for art on the streets, for murals, festivals and celebrations of creativity. We also know that they require a significant amount of resources to produce.
âHaving all you need is an old magazine, scissors, paper, pencils, paint and a table to join ‘Stuck Up’ seemed like a good way to activate communities.
It struck me that all this DIY creativity can be harnessed and given a home, a place in real time, in real space once the pandemic has subsided; a vast open-air museum of those words and images that he launched.
The idea has all the democratic principles that attracted me to this culture in the first place. It’s a crazy idea, and I was like “where the hell do we get a big enough space or wall”. That’s where my former training partner at Aberdeen Inspired usually comes in: âRoss, I have this crazy ideaâ¦â And here we are today. ”
FLYING LEAPS on the contribution to Stuck Up:
A collage extravaganza. Nuart founder and curator Martyn Reed commissions a team of top-notch brush and bucket enthusiasts to help decorate half a mile of the street.
Searching the Flyingleaps archives will take us back to the days of the ref. in 2016. We kicked off the project with a crisp and premonitory image of kennardphillipps and have since displayed over 50 posters of art and visual activists across the UK.
Collage fans can expect to see a wide variety of works in Aberdeen: the pithy texts by Jeremy Deller; kitsch, neon hues and the attitude of Magda Archer; deviant wellness advice courtesy of Bortusk Leer; the refined social conscience and biting spirit of Dr. D; the poetic and political photography of Simon Roberts; the Laudet bugle tapestry; the sharp, scathing hacks of Hayden Key; Derek Mawudoku’s engraved critiques of the human condition; the visual meditations of Dolores de Sade on nature and the Anthropocene; Mark Titchner’s plaintive psychedeliaâ¦ and many other gems.
The staging of STUCK UP by Nuart Aberdeen and its partners provides a platform for both local and global, established and emerging voices drawn to the frankness and immediacy of the collages.
What is a collage?
A Paste-Up is simply a work of art on paper, glued to a wall with wheat paste, a form of self-made glue that – in America at least – has become the name of the current practice.
Collages are most often seen as full-fledged works of art, usually created in the studio before being transplanted into the street. The practice transforms into a more familiar aerial display when art and design become the vehicle for political sentiment and social calls to action, or as commercial advertising promoting concerts and cultural events.
âRental collagesâ are a relatively new iteration of this idea, in which small collages are created and then glued, or âlocalized,â in public spaces.
Jon Reid, Nuart Aberdeen Project Manager says:
âOver the past eight weeks, a flood of envelopes and postal tubes has arrived at our studio base in the anatomy rooms.
âI avidly checked the postage stamps to see where these works of art came from and was amazed at how far the open appeal had reached: we received works of art from Finland, from Norway, Germany, Spain, France, the United States and even Mexico!
âArtwork has also been donated directly to the studio by children as young as four and Aberdonians as young as 84.
âEvery day has been like Christmas, opening packages and reading many thank you notes from senders, which we have kept along with the hundreds of social media posts about the project.
âAlthough Covid has posed many challenges, the ‘Stuck Up’ project will help us make real connections with hundreds of artists and shows – Aberdeen can go much further than we perhaps realize.
We are grateful to The Anatomy Rooms and the City Moves team, for their support as we prepare to get âStuck Upâ. ”
Selected artists contributing to Stuck Up:
Aida Wilde (United Kingdom)
Aida Wilde is a London-based Iranian-born printmaker, visual artist and educator, whose various installations and screen-printed artwork question questions of gentrification, education and equality. Wilde’s silkscreen prints can be found in city streets and in galleries around the world including the Victoria & Albert Museum, Women’s Art Library, Silversmiths, Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, Somerset House and the Saatchi Gallery.
Addam Yekutieli aka Know Hope (IS)
Over the past two decades, Addam Yekutieli, aka Know Hope, has developed visual iconography and language to reflect real-life situations and document the notion of collective human struggle. Yekutieli’s site-specific installations, murals and assemblages use ready-made materials, multimedia works, photographs and texts to explore issues such as cross-cultural encounters, boundaries and trauma.
Bahia Shehab (EG)
Professor Bahia Shehab is an artist, author and professor of design at the American University in Cairo. Her work has received a number of international awards, including the BBC’s 100 Women List, a TED Senior Fellowship, a Prince Claus Prize, and the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. Bahia was active on the streets during the Arab Spring uprising and maintains a presence alongside her international artistic career.
Jeremy Deller (UK)
Jeremy Deller is one of the UK’s foremost contemporary artists, winning the Turner Prize in 2004 and the Albert Medal from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (RSA) in 2010. Deller is best known for his Battle of Orgreave (2001) – a reconstruction of the events that took place during the British miners’ strike in 1984 – and for 2016 We are here because we are here.
Jeremy Geddes (New Zealand)
Jeremy Geddes is a New Zealand-born photorealistic painter who, after studying painting in the early 90s, first worked in video games as an art director. Geddes won the Spectrum Gold Award for his comic book cover, Sentenced. In 2003 he returned to painting full time and since then his work has been published and exhibited around the world, particularly appreciated for his existential work. Cosmonaut series.
Robert Montgomery (United Kingdom)
Born in 1972 in Chapelhall, Scotland and currently living and working in London, Robert Montgomery brings a poetic voice to the tradition of contemporary textual art. Renowned for its
large public lighting installations, poems on fire and distinctive black and white works of art, his work engages with the urban world through his translucent poetry, a direct approach to universal themes such as power and love.
Sam Durant (United States)
Sam Durant is a critically acclaimed multimedia artist whose works address social, political and cultural issues, using a research-based methodology with an emphasis on social engagement. Durant’s work has been included in numerous international exhibitions, including Documenta 13, the Yokohama Triennale, the Venice, Sydney, Busan, Liverpool, Panama and Whitney Biennials.
Martyn Reed (Nuart)
Martyn Reed is a British artist, researcher, curator and producer based in Stavanger, Norway. He is the founder and artistic director of the Numusic and Nuart Festivals and their offshoots Nuart Gallery and Nuart Plus, as well as editor of the peer review. Nuart Journal. Much of Reed’s work and the projects and platforms he designs are international collaborative events that revolve around the promotion of art as part of everyday life using strategies, values ââand counter-thinking. cultural.
Check out below for more photos of the project.
Photo credits: Clarke Joss Photography