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Is there life on Southgate?  Barely!  A forgotten planet, riddled with charity shops, banks, fast food outlets and an ASDA up the road.  If you are in search of culture of the creative nature, you are better off going to Wood Green.  But what is this I hear?  An art gallery?  In Southgate?    No, it can not be true!  Well, it bloody well is and so The Emporium of Genius braved the smokey and sewage ridden streets of North London to have an artistic chin wag with Fionn Wilson to find out more …

What is Space?

The simple and straightforward answer, generally speaking, is that a space is a set or points satisfying specified geometric postulates. From there on it rapidly starts to get sort of complicated and rather abstract and somewhat boring. In Southgate, however, SPACE is a new art gallery located at 141 High Street, where the old Barclays Bank used to be. This feels like a sign of the times.

You’ve transformed a bank into an art gallery. What the … how?

Explosives and balaclavas. The problem was getting in. Once the door was open, all it took was determination, a passion for art and a whole lot of hard work.

Are you working alone, or do you have a trusty Gilbert to your George, a Frida to your Kahlo or a Rolfaroo to your Harris?

The gallery is run by Gosia and me. We make up what we like to refer to as the Central Committee and we make the decisions. Beneath us we have officers, and the officers have operatives who have field agents who have informers. And then, of course, there are the artists. The artists are the ones doing the important work. We understand art because we are also artists. We’re doing the gallery for one reason, because we love good art. We want people to get a chance to see it and to come share our enthusiasm – and to get inspired.

Do you insist on using just local artists, or are you venturing further afield (for example is Arnos Grove too far as the crow flies)?

We have artists from all over the globe coming to Southgate to present their work.
We will be exhibiting Scandinavian artists, American, Russian, Iranian, and more. Already we have a full 2013 calendar, and all of the artists are presented on our website. We’d be happy if more local artists came forward. We aren’t scary, honest!

 

What is the process one has to go through to get ones piccie stuck up in your Space area?

It’s a very rigid and exhausting procedure involving both loads of paperwork and some late night rituals dancing naked under the moon. Since none of us can be bothered, honestly, we usually just ask people to drop us an email with a website link and a few examples of their work attached. If we like it and feel that it could potentially be gallery material, chances are that we will be able to work something out.

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Photo of the Space Gallery by Gosia Stasiewicz

A turd on the head of a Blue Tit. Is it art and if so, can I submit it for your viewing pleasure? Discuss.

What kind of a turd is it?

I hear you have several stains on your carpet – please explain!

I am a painter, and painting is messy business. There’s a lot of rubbing and smearing and dripping involved. When you sit there with your brush all wet, and you get excited and caught up in it … Accidents happen. It can’t be helped.

How would you describe your work?

It’s difficult for me to talk about my own work, partially because I’m so involved in it and it’s an ongoing project. My work is probably characterised, I think, by my fascination with the interplay between objects and lights, how it all emerges from this weird black mirror that I see, to create spaces and bodies. Faces and surroundings. I am particularly interested in the female nude. It’s a classical motif, of course, but for a very good reason. The female nude is perfect for exploring and expressing this feeling of emergence or coming-into-being whilst at the same time getting the sensuality or eroticism of it. The female body is the most beautiful thing to me.

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“Venus 2” by Fionn Wilson

Who do you admire in the world of all things arty?

There are many artists that I admire, some of them famous and some of them not so famous. I admire people who have the courage and the integrity to be honest with themselves and to be critical about their work. Those who actually try, even if they often fail or don’t quite manage to get it right. I am less impressed with pretenders or people just trying to make a name for themselves. There’s a whole lot of fakery in the art world. I want honesty, and I want SPACE to be a place for real artists – and for people who enjoy real art.

Is Space the Final Frontier?

I certainly hope not. My hope is that SPACE will be not only a gallery for everybody to enjoy, but that it will also enable us to collaborate with all sorts of people and groups, and that further new and exciting things will grow from it in the local community. It would be truly wonderful if that happened.

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“40 x 30 Scribble” by John McKie  

(Exhibition now showing at the Space Gallery.  Go and see it, it’s naughty)

For more information regarding the Space Gallery go to

http://www.spaceatsouthgate.co.uk

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