RICH WHITE : RESISTANCE – National Waterfront Museum : 14 May – 19 June 2016
LOCWS International presents RESISTANCE, a bold new commission by artist Rich White at the National Waterfront Museum. The work references the experience of change and regeneration; a process that Swansea has experienced over generations, and is no more evident than in the architectural development of the museum itself.
Rich White graduated in 1998 from the University of Gloucestershire with a First Class BA(Hons) in Fine Art: Sculpture. He has exhibited widely around the UK and completed a number of large-scale and public realm works. He currently lives in Bristol.
Rich makes installation works about location, sense of place and the relationships that develop between people and their environment. Works are informed by research of the locality, dictated by architecture and space, and through the uncovering of stories of identity, memory, place and history.
RESISTANCE – Rich White
One of the first things to notice about Swansea is the scarcity of pre-war architecture due to the Three Nights Blitz of 1941. This devastating event, along with changes in industry and economy have shaped how Swansea looks today. At the National Waterfront Museum we have a wonderful example of the old and the new coming together in the form of the old warehouse on South Dock (built in 1902) and its contemporary counterpart (opened in 2005) gently curving away in an echo of the railway lines that were once used to move cargo to and from the dock.
During his research of the area Rich learned of the strong feelings of nostalgia for the way the docks, and indeed much of Swansea, used to be. Regeneration projects and redevelopments of public space often cause upset and upheaval – change can be difficult. Over time these new changes can grow on us and we can get used to them, we can discover how to use them for our benefit, we can see the value in them. For some the new is never accepted.
Resistance is a work that attempts to address this idea. The sculpture consists of a wall built between the old and new parts of the Museum with the‘front’facing the new part and protecting the old. The wall is built from very human items: chairs, tables, cabinets and other furniture, to suggest a level of immediacy and strength-of- feeling that this was put up rapidly with whatever was to hand. As time has gone on the wall has softened and a passageway has appeared. People can go through if they want.
Rich White 2016
Thanks goes to: Andrew Deathe, NWM; Chris Fender, CCS Baling Plant; British Heart Foundation; YMCA; NAC; ResaRec and The More Green Project.