During the year or so I have spent at Nottingham Contemporary as part of the Collabor-8 Collective I have had a lot of amazing opportunities and experiences thrown my way, but possibly the most remarkable happened just last week when I got to work with the Berlin-based artist Michael Beutler during the set up of his solo show at the gallery.
Michael Beutler is an internationally renowned artist with a pretty sizeable reputation so when I was offered the chance to work with him I have to admit I was a little nervous, especially when news spread that he started each day with a yoga /tai chi session with his collaborator Kiki (co-ordination is not one of my strong points!) But I needn’t have worried – although he had a vision of what the gallery space should look like when the installation was complete, Michael allowed a lot of freedom and wasn’t against experimentation – his only real rule in fact was nothing is trash, so even if something went wrong, it could be used to make something else.
Michael’s work is influenced by architectural forms and often references specific buildings – his current exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary actually pays homage to the architecture of the gallery itself in many ways. Another major aspect of his work is recycling and collaboration so for each of his exhibitions he will recruit a team of local collaborators who recycle materials that he has used in previous exhibitions and make them into new pieces of art.
It was especially interesting for me to meet a group of total strangers and to work together from day one to generate an exhibition, as teamwork is something that I am very conscious of as a part of a Circuit group. The result was pretty amazing really – there were none of the awkward moments, tension or artistic differences I was anticipating and I think we created something pretty special. The cherry on top was seeing the massive queues to get into the exhibition on its opening night last Friday and knowing that we had achieved success.
-Catherine, 21, Collabor-8 Collective member