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A New Wave of Vauxhall Collective Commissions are Announced
The Vauxhall Collective for 2009. Courtesy Vauxhall.

LONDON.- Four of the most hotly anticipated artists, designers, theatre practitioners and photographers in the UK have been commissioned by the car company Vauxhall to create art works around the theme of re-inventing British classics. The result of the commissions is four stunningly imaginative and exciting works that throw open the concept of what is a British classic and highlight Vauxhall’s commitment to supporting style and design in the UK.

Chosen by a Style Council of industry experts and previous Vauxhall Collective members including Gideon Reeling and the photographer Gayle Chong Kwan this year’s members are the latest in an impressive line-up of up and coming artists that the initiative has supported, enabling them to take their work in new directions with complete artist freedom.

For 2009’s commissions, Scottish artist Katie Paterson has taken the British seaside town as her inspiration and will create an entrancing installation named Streetlight Storm, where a series of lights along a pier will flicker in sync with storm patterns around the world. The location of the installation will be announced later in the autumn. Paterson was chosen for her innovative approach to reinventing the British classic. The combination of this exciting work, bound up in the relationship between connectivity and the landscape through technology is eagerly awaited.

Theatre practitioner Duncan Speakman, using his unique form of “subtle mobs”, will take to the streets of three major cities in the UK. Combining cinematic style soundtracks and narrative on downloadable MP3 tracks, Speakman invites you to join him on a street near you and re-examine the everyday classic British city scene. The Style Council chose Speakman for his pioneering approach to interactive theatre experiences and was excited to see how he would frame the UK’s urban landscape, turning the performances into a unique experience for each of the individual audience members.

Photographer Seba Kurtis will examine what it is to be British; combining images of Kurtis’ stereotypical idea of the classic British resident, from the English rose to the country gent, right through to his own modern interpretation of multicultural Britain. His proposition to capture the UK’s residents won the Style Council over and will be at once a compelling and a beautiful representation of Britain today.

Design partnership Studio Glithero will create a selection of ceramic objects entitled A Brief Moment of Happiness using an innovative technique that involves impregnating the surface of the ceramics with light sensitive chemicals to create ethereal and fleeting images of flowers. Taking inspiration from the blue and white china of the 18th century and detailed scientific drawings by British botanists, the Style Council was impressed by Studio Glithero’s ability to take inspiration from antiquated objects and bring them up to date with new technologies.

Last year’s commissions were based on the theme of The Great British Road Trip and saw photographs of the Scottish landscape inspired by Daguerre’s dioramas, a film that visits the self-declared King of the British Eccentrics, an art exhibition inspired by Funhouses, a 1950s tea party followed by a 1980s wedding reception, a glamorous, metallic leather driving set and a collection of design objects based on lost British craft techniques. With such strong commissions from the last year, the work of the Vauxhall Collective 2009 promises not to disappoint.

Each of the creatives will have the use of a Vauxhall car and will travel around the UK seeking out inspiration for their individual commissions. The commissions will be completed between October and December 2009 and will see a range of art works being produced by this exciting and varied group of artists.

The theme of re-inventing British classics was chosen as it chimes well with Vauxhall’s own work re-inventing the car as we know it in the form of the Ampera, its first electric car.

Vauxhall Collective | Gideon Reeling | Gayle Chong Kwan | Katie Paterson | Duncan Speakman |

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