Emma Geliot's picture

Conceal Reveal, Paul Avis, 2014  CCQ commission for Cardiff Contemporary Conceal Reveal, Paul Avis, 2014 CCQ commission for Cardiff Contemporary

Cardiff Contemporary is back for the second time - bigger, bolder and more ambitious, bringinghundreds of artists from Cardiff, Wales, the UK and across the World under its friendly umbrella. CCQ magazine put together a special limited edition supplement for the festival and here's our intro to help describe this enormous undertaking:

Cardiff Contemporary is a dynamic collaboration between a diverse mixture of organisations, groups and individuals, who came together to create a critical mass of activity that would focus attention on Cardiff s vibrant creative scene. It embraces some truly interesting thinking and activity around the visual and applied arts and design, including work springing from, and being drawn to, the capital city of Wales.

4W commission Psychometrics : Alan Warburton , 2014 O:4W commission

Run along truly democratic lines, Cardiff Contemporary is consensual and collaborative. From the hyper-local Made in Roath to the international-facing Artes Mundi Prize, Outcasting: Fourth Wall Festival and Experimentica; and from the national organisations such as Ffotogallery to the artist-led g39 and Goat Major Projects - it also gathers in a wider range of collaborators including Cardiff School of Art & Design, the University of South Wales, Cardiff University and the Wales Millennium Stadium. With Cardiff Council as the conduit and principle funder, and partnering with the Arts Council of Wales, an organogram of Cardiff Contemporary would look like the tendrils of a giant subterranean fungal growth, quietly reaching out and suckering onto the arts community in a symbiotic act of feeding and absorption - or perhaps it s a beautiful virus, gently infecting all of those exposed to it with benign symptoms.

UDO, Carwyn Evans at g39 UDO, Carwyn Evans at g39

The 2012 pilot showed what might be possible when scrambled together at very short notice and with relatively modest financial resources (but vast human ones), and a veil was lifted on the creative life of Cardiff. In 2014 it s more about blowing the lid off, as projects open up spaces, create new ones, offer possibilities and introduce ways of seeing the city through artists eyes.

Untitled, Image courtesy of Simon Fenoulhet, artist in residence for Cardiff Contemporary Untitled, Image courtesy of Simon Fenoulhet, artist in residence for Cardiff Contemporary

A series of residencies unearth a plethora of life, including imagined mutant forms explored by Ian Watson, and the underground network of Cardiff s service tunnels, canals, caves and nightclubs revealed by Simon Fenoulhet. Daniele Sambo makes us look again at those derelict or uncared-for patches of wasteland and no-man s land that seem to belong to no one. These artists create an embedded response over five weeks, showing each other and us new perspectives and dimensions to the city.

DanieleSambo - Southseeds, 2011 from the Sown series. Artist in Residence for Cardiff Contemporary DanieleSambo - Southseeds, 2011 from the Sown series. Artist in Residence for Cardiff Contemporary

Freya Dooley and Cinzia Mutigli, On Record - Cardiff Contemporary commission Freya Dooley and Cinzia Mutigli, On Record - Cardiff Contemporary commission

The commissions pick up the Reveal/Conceal theme to trawl the odd visions and bizarre sights/sites across Cardiff, from Sam Perry s The Told and Untold Tours to the births, deaths and marriages recorded at Cardiff Registry Office and then tap-danced into the continuum of city life, courtesy of Made in Roath s performative piece There s the personal music mix compilations from Freya Dooley and Cinzia Mutigli - and a reflection on the reality of being an extra on the set of some of the nation s favourite shows from good cop bad cop; a bar that pops up, creates a social space for a few days and then dries up and disappears (Gordon Dalton and S Mark Gubb); and Cardiff Central station hosts the extraordinary fleeting imagery of Erwin Wurm and his One Minute Sculptures, while Dominic from Luton exhorts us to Call Mum; and the chimes from the clock tower ring out oddly, thanks to an intervention by Richard James & R Seiliog. And, never mind the Tardis (which pops up in Cardiff on a regular basis), watch out for Andrew Cooper s steaming meteorite, crashed into a vehicle outside Cardiff s biggest architectural icon, the Wales Millennium Stadium.

UDO - Carwyn Evans, 2014 at g39 UDO - Carwyn Evans, 2014 at g39

Within the framework of Cardiff Contemporary and its programme of commissions, there s a sub set of additional projects and opportunities. tactileBOSCH offers a platform for a whole host of artists in the Paradise Lost exhibition; Outcasting: Fourth Wall (O:4W) and Chapter Arts Centre through the Experimentica festival, have commissioned new works for their respective festivals, including a lot of international pieces; while Goat Major Projects and EMP Projects have initiated a host of artist-led activity and discussion in their respective pavilions. The whole festival ripples out, undulations crossing and re-crossing and rising to storm-force waves for two days, when Cardiff artists fling their doors wide revealing the engine houses of artistic production for the open studios weekend.

Once the viral tentacles of creativity have been allowed to escape, can what has been revealed be re-concealed, packed back up and forgotten? Let s hope that Cardiff Contemporary 2014 will create whole new ways of considering the city and understanding its less-often-seen creative life, while the consensual collaborative spirit continues to grow and thrive above and below the sight line. Emma Geliot

Erwin Wurm One Minute Sculpture (33)1997, c-print Erwin Wurm One Minute Sculpture (33)1997, c-print