Monthly Archives: February 2011

so long A Foundation

Apparently it’s been rumoured for a few months, but their press release of Feb 10 confirms that they have now closed. Seven Streets first announced it yesterday and an interesting discussion is going on in the comments about the extent this closure reflects wider threats to arts organisations across Liverpool as the funding cuts take hold.

I’ll miss A Foundation. It helped begin the push to rebrand the Baltic Triangle area as a creative quarter and it really is a fantastic space. They put on exhibitions unlike any other gallery in Liverpool and while the quality of the art could vary widely, a couple shows have stuck with me in the five years they were open.

The exhibition that opened A Foundation was Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s collaboration, Silent Sound. Initially performed at St George’s Hall in September 2006, then transformed into an installation that immersed you in layers of sound mixing subliminal messages and Victorian spiritualism with sonic architecture. I wish I’d written about it at the time, but I remember it now as mysterious, dark and enchanting. I remember making my way through the Blade Factory to its upper floor, not knowing what I would find or hear, but once I arrived I simply wanted to lie in the middle of the space and let their work wash over me. I’ve just discovered Silent Sound is part of their solo show PUBLICSFEAR at the South London Gallery, which runs until March 18.

A Foundation became a place to visit during Biennials; I can’t recall now which exhibitions took place between 2006 and 2008, or even during 2008’s ‘Made Up.’ I’m a bad art blogger. But last year A Foundation came back with two strong artists performing throughout the Biennial, Sachiko Abe and Antti Laitinen. Sachiko’s Paper Mountain and Laitinen’s boat of bark questioned boundaries of art, performance and dedication.

Occasionally the atmosphere was as cold as the building itself; some of the work in the New Contemporaries shows made me question what was coming out of art colleges these days (I’ve seen better degree shows). I really didn’t appreciate the way guests were physically corralled and forced to leave at the PV of the last Biennial. And it was a schlep from the nearest bus stop. But these are quibbles; A Foundation leaves a gap in Liverpool’s cultural landscape that won’t be easily filled in the short term. I don’t know what will become of the building, which is somehow greater than the sum of its already substantial parts. I hope James Moores takes on a new creative tenant or group. I would love to be able to go in and do something interesting with it: art space, event space, tech space, social media hub, bakery, cafe and rooftop bar. And a permanent home for The Swan Pedalo. Who’s with me?

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