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Label: catherine yass

Monday 30th June 2014Artist Spotlight: Catherine Yass

Catherine Yass has made some headlines recently thanks to a proposed (and quashed) performance art piece involving an apartment tower, a piano, and gravity, but she's been an accomplished artist for quite some time before these latest stories began to hit newsstands and the internet. Having received an MA from Goldsmiths College after initially studying at the Slade School of Art in London, she has had a fairly distinguished career, with an impressive list of gallery shows located all over the globe. In 2002, she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize, a prestigious award named after J. M. W. Turner, which has become one of the most noted art awards in Britain, and is organized and awarded by the Tate Britain.
 

She is most noted for her work in film and photography, although apparently she seems to have presciently determined our advice from our previous post about the value of experimenting with other media, as was shown in the latest piece she wanted to perform, as we mentioned in the beginning of this post. The original plan was to take a grand piano to the top of the 27 story Balfron Tower and drop it off the roof, with the stated intent of being 'part of a community workshop looking at how sound travels' - an interesting take on the often problematic issues of noise pollution in urban areas, but perhaps a bit overdramatic. The Balfron, which is currently empty due to intricacies of reconstruction and urban improvements, is a Sixties era building that stands like a mute testament to poorly planned urban housing. Needless to say, the residents of the Tower and of the area at large were not particularly thrilled with the project, and went so far as to start a petition in order to have the piece removed from the workshop.

The piece was "intended as a swan song to the lost socialist ideals of modernist housing that Ernö Goldfinger, amongst others, brought to Tower Hamlets," according to the Alison Jacques Gallery, which represents Yass. They went on, "The residents of Balfron Tower have recently been decanted to make way for privatisation. I have total sympathy with their distress, and accordingly told them we would not go ahead without their consent.
"I had hoped that Piano Falling and the related community events and workshops we organised would address these issues and offer some real regeneration to an area which has been ignored until it is seen as valuable real estate."

While it could have been interesting, if you decide to explore new media in your own work, we don't recommend annoying an entire neighbourhood!

Posted on June 30th 2014 on 06:56pm
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