Although this gated outdoor site - adjacent to the forecourt of St Leonards Warrior Square station - has been used for artists' projects since August 2009, it is now part of Hastings Borough Council's 'Art in New Spaces' programme. This aims to reanimate redundant sites, to contribute to the arts and cultural activities in St Leonards and create opportunities for artists from the area and beyond to make new work which engages with the local community and passers-by. The SPACE provides a platform for experimentation, risk-taking and alternate strategies for art in the public space.
The first project in this programme was shed a light installation housed in a garden shed by Caroline Le Breton. shed was visible from 16.00-24.00, 16 December 2011 - 9 January 2012.
The intervention THE HISTORY STILL TO BE MADE SHOWS ITSELF was an ambitious sculptural installation by London based artists Dylan Shipton and Ben Fitton. It was visible 24/7 and sited in The SPACE from 9 March - 4 May. This temporary structure consisted of a large scale structural framework juxtaposed with a partially submerged sign with text suggesting some kind of salvation. It begins "Hasten the hour of DELIVERY from the HELL of EXISTING CONDITIONS by ....." but the action to be taken remains obscured. It is unclear whether the sign (and its implied action) was in the process of being revealed, held in position or lowered out of sight.
Terence John Kershaw will make a bold sculptural statement with Vanguarden. The artist will create a physical and historical reference to St Leonards' Archway which was built in 1828 to mark the seafront entrance of James Burton's St Leonards-on-Sea. In 1859 the arch was demolished by the local council. Using an arch-like steel structure, animated by rota-spike vanes Kershaw conveys a contemporary response to the built environment. Vanguarden is supported by Insight Security, Lewes. Vanguarden opened on Friday 18 May with a launch event from 18.00-20.00. Vanguarden closed on 1 July.
François Huon's NO ENTRY - ONE WAY was installed in The SPACE from 7 July until 12 August 2012. Huon lives and works in Rebecq, Belgium and since 2000 has been Professor of Experimental Practice at Braine l'Alleud School of Art. NO ENTRY - ONE WAY was an explosion of fragmented colour in The SPACE referencing the information and restrictions of road signs. Huon also installed over thirty red and blue stickers on the windows of businesses and empty shops in St Leonards which created a physical link to The SPACE. NO ENTRY - ONE WAY received the support of Wallonie-Bruxelles-International.
You Never Bought Me Flowers
So I Gave You A Garden
Hastings artist Erin Veness has created a fantasy landscape of delicately coloured paper flowers & trees which comment on the fragility and decay of the natural world. This new intervention opened on Friday 17 August and closed on Monday 10 September.
Friday 14 September with a launch from 18.30-20.00. Following this, at 20.00, was Wherever I look with you, a 30 minute performance and projections which featured Soline Pillet & Marina Tsartsara.
On 5 & 6 October 2012 Underground (Sharon Haward & Sarah Locke) presented two evenings of 'end of the world' experimental films from invited artists. On Saturday 6 October Out/Side/Film (Ian Nesbitt & Matthew Pountney) screened 'Taking The Michael: A Ley Man's Progress'. Underground will also present screenings and performance on 7 & 8 December 2012.
A memorial to an unseen presence a new installation by Hastings based artist Jaye Ho opened on Friday 12 October and remained in The SPACE until 25 November 2012. This intervention is a pillbox bunker which is to 'protect' St Leonards Warrior Square Station, a train station invaluable to many commuters as a link to Brighton and London. The bunker is constructed from locally sourcesd bed sheets combined with cement and sand to create a solid but make-shift structure. Jaye Ho will also work with young people at St Leonards Academy & Christ Church Primary School, St Leonards constructing their own protective shelters to guard against zombie attacks. Apart from being a sculptural object, on Saturday 3 November at 19.00, the pillbox bunker also acted as a projection booth for Mordant Music's re-scored version of 'The Sea in Their Blood' (1983) an early Peter Greenaway/Michael Nyman documentary about Britain's coastlines.
On 7 & 8 December 2012 underground (Sharon Haward & Sarah Locke) presented two evenings of experimental video, projection & performance featuring works by Sandra Crisp, Matthew Pountney/Johnny Crump, Sebastien Seynaeve with past & present students from Sussex Coast College Hastings. A performance by Sarah Locke - Mother of Grace Moscow/Discow/The Bar at the End of the World attracted an audience which braved the weather to see this event.
Colin Booth, a St Leonards' based sculptor installed his first outdoor project in The SPACE over the festive period, 14 December 2012 - 8 January 2013. Jesus Wept is a neon text installation positioned on a 21' high scaffold which is visible daily from 11.00-23.00. The work references the shortest sentence in the King James Bible & relates to the raising of Lazarus by Jesus. Apart from the spiritual meaning, the sentence refers to mortality & the fragility of life. The presence of the installation over the Christmas season calls attention to the universal expression of humanity & empathy contained within the single sentence - Jesus wept.
In January 2013, the Kings Road site which The SPACE had occupied since August 2009 was handed back to Homes & Communities Agency. In March 2013, The SPACE relocated to a new site on St Johns Road in St Leonards TN37 6HP, still close to Warrior Square station between Alpha Café & the children's playground. The use of this site for artists' projects has been provided courtesy of Network Rail's Community Scheme which encourages the temporary use of their disused sites.
After an intense period of site clearance provided by Hastings Borough Council & Amicus Horizon, the first artist's project opened on Friday 10 May.
RESIST is an enormous garishly excessive five tiered 'cake' by St Leonards artist Beccy McCray. Developed from McCray's community workshops, RESIST takes the familiar image of a cake & explores the feelings of over-indulgence when too much cake is consumed. The intervention is both threatening and precarious, yet accessible & playful. RESIST also can be seen as a commentary on accelerated consumer capitalism & artificiality. Through its position in The SPACE, RESIST references political & personal resistance to temptation, greed & gluttony.
RESIST continues through Saturday 8 June & is visible 24/7. The artist will give a free talk in The SPACE on the 8th June, time tbc.
From July 2012 through June 2013, the artists' projects and events are supported by The National Lottery through Arts Council England and East Sussex County Council.